Some are chips off the old block; some are just cracked
All the guys in my boyhood friend Adelbert's family looked as though they had discovered the secret of cloning long before scientists were able to accomplish that kind of duplication with a sheep.
One day when Adelbert was about 6, his great-grandfather Ethelbert came up with a prank that seriously threatened the mental well-being of their poor elderly neighbor, Mrs. Galumpski.
Adelbert's 2-year-old brother Cuthbert toddled past Mrs. Galumpski, who was sitting on her porch, and went around the corner. A minute later, 4-year-old Charibert walked by. This continued every few minutes until great-grandfather Ethelbert toddled by.
Poor Mrs. Galumpski was convinced that she had watched a 2-year-old rapidly age into a senior citizen in less than a half-hour. She needed four glasses of wine to get to sleep that night. (Normally, she only needed three.)
Today would have been my dad's 93rd birthday, which is what got me to thinking about family resemblance in the first place. My middle brother Phil inherited his appearance from the Maciejewski side of Dad's family. I don't know if he inherited the ability to spell Maciejewski.
My younger brother Dave and my sister Mary Jo most closely resemble my dad. In fact, when I see Dave in a certain light, I am expecting him to send me to my room.
I really don't resemble either parent all that closely. I have my dad's height and "big bones" and my mother's light complexion. The ugliness is my own.
But if you don't limit resemblance to physical appearance, my siblings and I have all got quite a bit in common with Dad. (We could say the same about Mother, but since this is not her birthday, we'll save that for another time.)
We all inherited our love of reading from Dad. When Dad was walking, he almost always had a rosary in his hand. When he was sitting, he customarily had a book unless his hands were occupied with a knife, fork and spoon.
My siblings and I all have Dad's habit of taking a book with us just about anywhere we go. If our blood was analyzed, the lab would probably find teeny, tiny bookworms swimming around in it
We have Dad's appreciation of good food, but none of us carries this to the extremes that he did. When it comes to eating fried scrapple for breakfast or a slab of gelatinous pickled souse for lunch, we part company from Dad's taste buds.
None of us inherited Dad's hate of waste when it comes to food. He would eat whatever was left in the leftover bowls in the back of the fridge. By contrast, we kids were more likely to enter the contents of those bowls in the school science fair.
When it comes for Dad's love of a good bargain, I will only speak for myself. I don't want to libel my brothers or sister by stating that they are anywhere near as thrifty (as in cheap) as I am.
I'll admit that I'm not as adventurous as Dad was when it came to grocery bargains. He was a big fan of cans without labels. This did add a certain element of surprise to our evening meal since we didn't know if the side dish would be whole-kernel corn or hot-n-spicy succotash.
This family resemblance has resulted in me being constantly in search of bargains. Maybe someday I'll be rewarded as Dad was when he attained the crowning achievement of his bargain-bagging career.
He was in a department store that was going out of business when he heard the announcement that you could fill up a shopping cart worth of merchandise for $20.
Dad headed immediately to the record department. This was so long ago that 8-track tapes were the latest in sound experience. He grabbed those tapes and stacks of records.
It didn't matter that we wound up with many copies of the record "Tiny Tim: For All My Little Friends" or dozens of 8-tracks such as "Spike Jones and His City Slickers Play Beethoven's Greatest Hits."
It was Dad's bargain bonanza.
I was fortunate to inherit at least a bit of Dad's faith. I'm not anywhere near as devoted as he was, but I console myself with the fact that he is still praying for me.
But I think my siblings and I all resemble Dad when it comes to his sense of humor. (Mother also had a terrific sense of humor - and she needed it to cope with my brothers and me when we were growing up.)
Dad enjoyed reading joke books and even copied down some of his favorites, but his humor was more along the lines of kidding than telling jokes.
I won't say our family dinner table was the equivalent of those comedy roasts that you used to see on Dean Martin's old show, but you had to think fast and funny if you wanted to keep up.
This was no easy achievement since we were also snagging pieces of baked chicken and grabbing spoonfuls of mashed potatoes at the same time.
My resemblance to Dad resulted in me writing this column. The ultimate compliment I get is when someone tells me I have a sense of humor like my Dad's.
I'm so pleased that I always give that person a Tiny Tim record and a Spike Jones 8-track. After all, we still have plenty of them.
(Walt Kozlowski, a freelance writer from Mount Carmel, composes "Walt's Way" for each Sunday edition.