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"The Gas Station"

One of my fatherís deals involved him owning a gas station. 
It had the largest underground capacity for gasoline in New York State, 
and a pipeline from the station 
to a private railroad siding. 

I was just a kid when my dad owned that station 
at Elmwood and Hertel, in Buffalo, 
but I remember that his attendants dressed like motorcycle cops... 
boots, britches, and all. 

One young guy that worked there was cleaning the grease pit 
with gasoline and a squeegee, against policy. 
He struck a light bulb with the squeegee 
and blew the roof off the garage section. 
My father ran into the fire and saved him, 
but the young fellow, Nicky, was never handsome again. 

Also employed there were twin brothers, Joe and Matty Kapsiak. 
Joe was the personality kid of the two, 
and Matty was quiet and serious. 
Joe was killed in combat. 
After that it seemed strange 
every time I looked at Matty. 

After many warnings, 
my father fired one employee for being drunk on the job, 
The guy had mob connections 
and thugs started coming to our house 
threatening us if he wasn't rehired. 

My dad went downtown and had it out with the head Mafioso. 
The drunk didn't get his job back. 

One more memory. 
He always had motorcycles and things for sale on the corner. 
One of the things was a Link Trainer... 
an airplane without wings 
held up by big horseshoe-shaped steel girders. 
The controls worked just like a real plane, 
and you could turn it, flip it over, 
or just about anything you could do with a plane, 
except fly. 
Of course it was for training pilots. 

Copyright © November 11, 2003 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission.

 

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