Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
I would like to take a moment to thank all of you out there who took the time to email me your comments on my recent column regarding the passing of my mother at the grand old age of 97. All of your kind words were greatly appreciated, especially those who remarked that they will miss the references to my mom that accompanied many of my columns to date.
Although she never actually read any news, Mom loved to read the newspapers for the expressed purpose of keeping up with all the birth, wedding and obituary announcements each edition contained. “Hatch, Match and Dispatch” were her terms for her three favorite interests! Even though the Rockaway Times does not cover Mom’s much loved “hatch, match and dispatch” interests, she always looked forward to each week’s edition, which she read front to back. I always assumed she simply feigned interest in the paper because of me and I once asked her what she found so fascinating in the rest of the paper, besides my column.
She looked at me laughing and said, “Your scribbling’s fascinating? My God but you are full of yourself. I pray to God that you are not wandering around Broad Channel thinking you’re the next Jimmy Breslin. I like the paper because of the one word that is printed at the top of the front page that says ‘FREE’ and your friend’s boiling water column. Come to think of it, you might want to mention to that nice young fellow Kevin who hired you that his paper might not travel so quickly to the bird cage if he started carrying the Irish Comics. We’ve still got a few relations down in that Rockaway area I would like to keep my eye on!”
Truth be told I fully believe the reason Mom liked the Rockaway Times was because of none other than our master wordsmith, editor and sometime photographer, Kevin Boyle and his rather eclectic column, Boyleing Points. In June of 2014, Kevin told me about his pending involvement with the publication of our area’s newest newspaper, The Rockaway Times, and asked if I would be interested in contributing a “Broad Channel” column. Perhaps it was serendipitous that I received Kevin’s email while I was attending our Grand Matriarch’s (aka: She Who Must be Obeyed) 96th birthday party in Woodside. At the time Mom had noticed that her favorite column in our other Rockaway weekly had gone missing and asked me about the status of the “…that young man Kevin who thinks Irish wakes are comical and writes the nutty columns about boiling water…” Her words, not mine. Knowing that she has never met Kevin or saw his picture I asked her why she would describe him as a young man. She looked at me as if had two heads while responding – “You’re all here for my 96th birthday…if you can’t figure that out for yourself then I truly have raised an idiot!”
Rightfully chastised, I told Mom about Kevin’s offer about this column and she immediately asked me what I would be paid for my efforts. I explained that Kevin had offered “a pat on the back and maybe a T-shirt.” She thought about that for about two seconds and then offered me the following sage advice. “Go for it…tell him to forget the pat on the back, it will only go to your head, but make sure you get the T-shirt. If you make an ass out of yourself they can fire your behind right away before you become a total embarrassment to the nice man and you will at least get a T-shirt out of the deal.”
Needless to say, a copy of the Rockaway Times and a T-shirt accompanied Mom on her trip to meet up with Dad at Gate of Heaven cemetery in Valhalla, New York.
Broad Channel, why would anyone want to live anywhere else?