Memories: listening to Red Foxx standup on 8-track while playing pool in Gramma’s basement

In a recent chat with my friend Brent — somehow got onto the topic of comedians, and how there are no good ones anymore — he mentioned Red Foxx…

Can’t hear that name without being reminded of hanging out with my cousins in my grandma’s basement, shooting pool and listening to a Red Foxx standup routine on an 8-track player that she had down there. My grandma & grandpa went to the auction in Minot every single weekend, and always came home with boxes and boxes of random junk. A lot of times grandma would just buy boxes for $1 without even knowing what was in them. Anyway, she had all sorts of 8-track tapes down there — Meatloaf, Kool N The Gang, and the Red Foxx are the ones I remember most.

“What’s the difference between a pickpocket and a peeping tom? A pickpocket snatches watches.”

“Sometimes, you get up in the morning… (long pause) …and that’s too much for ya.”

And thinking about grandma’s basement… They had a barroom with those swinging saloon doors — we loved those. An actual bar with bar stools, those neon beer & liquor signs, rows of bottles on glass shelves… Can’t forget this one large neon beer sign that looked like an ocean with little fish that moved from right to left, for some reason found it fascinating. We’d always hang out in there, and my cousins would always say they were going to drink some of the brandy but I don’t think they ever did. Thing I remember most about the bar, though, was the snake: they had a dead rattlesnake all curled up and preserved in a jar below the bar in one of the cupboards (I believe my uncle caught and killed it). Every time we were there we had to take it out and look at it.

I also remember that they hat a satellite dish — one of those 20-foot-tall installations in the back yard — and since we only had 4 channels, this was the coolest thing ever. But truthfully the only thing we ever seemed to find worth watching was “The Dark Crystal,” which seemed to be on every single time we were there — I’m pretty sure I saw that at least 7 times at their house…

Thinking about this now it makes me sad that they’re both dead, the house sitting empty and falling apart.

I’m also sad that my wife Kari never got to meet Grandma, and neither did Abbey (step-daughter, now 13) or Oskar (now 14 months). She was a wacky and eccentric lady.

(But, then, I should really just shut my bloody trap. Shouldn’t I.)

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