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Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Night Fights

Sugar Ray Robinson
 One special family ritual around our house growing up with my stepfather was Friday Night Fights on television.  In the mid 1950’s televisions were still not in every home or anywhere near, and unless I am not aware most if not all sets were black and white.  Gillette Cavalcade of Sports was the one major attraction for the man of the house, and it seems that all our relatives would come over to our house to visit on Friday because we had a television set.  In all fairness to men, my uncle Rudy (best BBQ expert I’ve ever known) would make the steaks “asada.” The ladies including daughters from 16 years old and up took care of the rest of the dinner in the kitchen.
The total meal included homemade flour tortillas (piled up as much as a foot high as they came off the stove), Guacamole consisting of plenty of avocados, diced sweet onions, and diced fresh jalapeno peppers, and tomatoes (some squeezed lime), buttery and fluffy mashed potatoes, homemade refried pinto beans, homemade rice, and green salad, and of course my uncle Rudy’s expertly “grilled carne asada.”  I remember that he used to pour some of his beer over the steaks as he grilled them for additional flavor (or so he said).  I don’t remember anyone ever getting drunk at the gathering but there was plenty of beer to go around for the adult men (Lone star or Falstaff) Kool-Aid and coffee for everyone else.  For dessert there was usually fruit (in season) my favorite was a slice of ice cold watermelon.  At that time in my life if we were poor, I didn’t know it because I was one happy camper.  Another sign that we weren’t poor is the fact that we were surrounded and in harmony with all our family members.  The event I am describing took place in Texas.
The aroma throughout the house was delicious.  Even if you weren’t hungry when the cooking started, halfway through the meal preparation you couldn’t wait to be called to the table.  I remember being amazed at how fast the flour tortilla stack disappeared.  After the meal the main event would begin.  Just the theme song would send chills of excitement in expectation of a great fight.
Gillette Cavalcade of Sports Theme Song
It would be many years down the road before I would fully understand how important in the development of the boxing sport this era was.  Some of the boxers I remember included: Sugar Ray Robinson, Carmen Basilio, Chuck Davey, Chico Vejar, Kid Gavilan, Gene Fullmer, Johnny Saxton, Tony DeMarco, Charlie Powell, and many more up and coming boxers.  The excitement in the room was contagious.  The men would be yelling at their favorite boxers to encourage them.  After the event was over, win or lose, we would still fill like a letdown because we would have to wait until the next Friday night for another family get together.
Some of us in the younger family member groups would eventually be sent outside to play tag or hide and seek.  Those get together times were so essential to maintaining great family relations, communications and goodwill.  Now a days we have a family board game night whenever the family comes together, and you can hear the competition spirit going on in our dining room after a wonderful meal, (our home is the gathering plays for pay per view programs) but I miss the old family members that are no longer around.  I guess they have been replaced by me and others like my wife, etc.  Life is like that; we get promoted by attrition.  Sooner or later we rise to the respected position of love and respect.  The best is yet to come….

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