The former home of Tremont Paint's Broadway location is practically no more to me than a post office box where I collect correspondence from the stubborn few who refuse to accept the fact that I have moved to Stamford, Connecticut!
Yet visiting the building at 5610 Broadway, which maintains as strong an association with my youth as the house I grew up in, leaves me wistful.
The trip takes me south, down Connecticut's Merritt Parkway, to 287 West through my hometown White Plains. Followed by a shortcut down the Sprain and a series of switchbacks on local roads, which can included Jackson or Central Avenues depending on traffic.
In the years before Waze there was Billy.
I first experienced the White Plains-Bronx portion of this trip riding shotgun in my father's van circa 1970. The 25-minute ride to his, his father’s and his grandfather’s paint store long enough to ensure that by the time we got there I would smell of his smoking addiction.
And paint thinner.
To New York City's Major Deegan Expressway. THE Deegan, and its exit at West 231st Street.
The exit where conversation of Yankees, golf, family and love would end and my father would take the last few moments of our commute to share what was expected of me when we walked in the door. The tasks which I would need to accomplish to get the truck loaded and on its way to the first deliveries it would make that day. And how much time I had to accomplish them.
Which never seemed like enough.
It would not be until I was a father myself that I understood that that was part of his plan.
After several days and one emotional car ride spent thinking about my father, I found myself in front of a plate of chicharonnes.
THE deep fried chunks of bacon favored by paint dealers and the Bronx's heavily Dominican population are worth their own blog. Though my fianceeic Gaetana says I’ve had my last bite of the coronary spackle.