Monday, August 29, 2016

Mmmm, unprocessed rib eye steak

Years ago, so long ago I sometimes have to wonder whether it really happened or if it was product of my imagination, my father purchased a dairy farm in Upstate New York.

Not upstate like Rockland County, a bedroom community just outside of New York City, reachable with a good titanium driver and few well placed fairway shots.

But upstate, upstate. In the northern reaches of the Empire State, where the locals had never eaten a bagel or met a Puerto Rican.

In many respects, my father was like a well-educated Ralph Kramden, always believing the next get rich scheme was just around the corner. Or in this case, 379 miles due north of Jerome Avenue in the Bronx.

Al, and another of unlikely partners, I believe his name was Irving, Murray or Schmuelly, purchased a small farm with a herd of 30 or so cows. The idea was to run the farm at a loss -- which turned out not to be too difficult. And thus he and his partners would have a legitimate tax loss, thereby pocketing oodles of money that would have been earmarked for the IRS.

Back in the day, my father ran with a streetwise crowd which included many guidos, I hope that term is not off limits. Apologies in advance to my Italian-American friends. When I was a kid, once a month, on Tuesdays nights, some of these crooked-nosed, truck-diverting fellows came to our apartment in Jackson Heights to smoke cigarettes, drink beer and play poker.

So, it is not out of the question to believe the dairy farm, could also have been a front. That is, an enterprise for Jimmy Two Times or Freddie The Runt to launder bundles of cash. I was in California and the milking, such as it was, was taking place 3000 miles away. So I just don't know.

I do know that had my brother and I been anywhere in the vicinity of the farm, my father would have put us to work. It didn't matter that we were grown men, he would have rousted us from our beds before the sun got up and in his unique forceful manner had us doing chores...

"I brought you into this world, I can take you out. Now get those cows washed before I give you something to cry about."

All of which would have come as a surprise to me because frankly I had no idea cows needed to be washed. All the hamburger and milk is on the inside, so who cares if they get some schmutz on their leather coats.

There can be no doubt, my brother and I would have brought the automatic cow washing machine to his attention. We would have whined and begged until he could take no more and signal his forfeit with a purchase.

You probably didn't know there even was an automatic cow washing machine. I know I didn't.

But my art director partner came across it recently while were were doing an assignment for a state Dairy Association. Naturally, we pitched the cow washing machine as an idea for a campaign. And naturally, the idea died. It went straight to the advertising slaughterhouse, a highly efficient abattoir run by small minded planners, account people and committee think.

The spots practically wrote themselves. And probably would have won a ton of awards.

But then, what do I know?

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