Jack Fallon died twenty years ago last week. He was an eccentric and endearing character. When the rest of his World War II generation were busy conforming to grey flannel suits, he marched to whatever voices resonated in his head. The guy who wore a lampshade at parties so hilariously you forgave him breaking your lamp.
My father sat cross-legged on the floor, drew us children in a circle, turned off all the lights, pulled a nylon stocking over his head to smother his features, held a flashlight between his thighs and shined the light up his nostrils. Then he told ghost stories. When we were all too scared to possibly sleep, he pulled the nylon loose, raised the lights, and sang his favorite song. The War in Snyder’s Grocery Store. A silly jingle or an anthem against war. I could never decide. Like my father, the song is inscrutable and wonderful.