Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Photo credit
One more "Foggy Morning" Story


A Bit Of Background:

Many moons ago I played violin in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. After one season of particularly drunken experiences, I decided I might just chuck it all and resign (before I got fired, of course--you know how we are?). However, I did not have the intestinal fortitude to carry out the action: standing in front of the Maestro, saying, "I quit!"

So the next best thing was to pave the way, so to speak. So, early one foggy morning, I woke up on the river (and that experience is heavenly, by the way!), gathered all my symphony orchestra 'uniforms', and put everything together in a pile on the front deck of my scow, THOR. THOR was 32' long, 10' beam, 12-ton, double-hulled plywood boat. It was powered by a Willys 60 hp engine, with a 2-1 reduction gear. It was as powerful as a 'dwarf'-tug. Had all the comforts of home, I mean things like a toilet, shower, kitchen--yeah, like I needed a kitchen!

It was 6:30 AM, and I was drunk out of my mind, but I do remember (and was informed of) a few things. By the way, my wife of the moment witnessed the whole thing. NOTE: My recollection is that I met her (for the first time) the night before in a riverfront bar, and we got married there an hour later. The bartender officiated. It was a lovely wedding -BIG GRIN!!! The honeymoon--and the marriage--lasted until noon the following day. Our whole relationship, from first moment to the last final heaving breath had a life of fewer than 12 hours. Thank God! And then she wanted "Alimony!" -grinning-a-roni.

A ceremony was in the making, since I intended to drown my past into depths of the Ohio River. At 7 AM on the dot, I laid my full-dress suit (white shirt, white bowed tie, stiff vest, silk black socks, patent leather black shoes (they sunk right away). Following that menagerie was the next act, my formal 'afternoon' suit, regular black shoes, four-in-hand grey tie, white shirt, keys to my locker at Music Hall, my Union card, and several things I cannot remember.

Of course, this action-packed earliness of the day left me without 'suitable concert attire'. To this day I thank God that I didn't have my violin on the stack of throw-away stuff that morning. One thing was left on my list of ugliness that day--breaking the contract with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. I did this with a letter to the manager, and the Maestro--I could not, was not man enough to face them. Conductor sent me a real neat reply, which I have kept, urging me to reconsider, saying how much he'd miss me, etc. I believe his main concern was finding a suitable replacement.

Four years after this incident, the orchestra enjoyed a TEN-WEEK tour to many countries in Europe, Asia...literally around the world. A few years later the musicians were making about $80,000 a year! That was my first lesson (NOT learned!) regarding our common phrase,
beautiful, and so true: "Stick around until the miracle happens!".

My memory bank displays to me, even unto this very day, the following scenes.:

1. An eerie picture of my clothing floating lazily downstream in th fog, on top of the slimy, oily, filthy Ohio River waters....(I used to make coffee out of river water, scoop it up, boil it, drink, ahhhh! Never figured out what were those little flecks of whiteness in the water!)

2. The look on the face of my 12-hour bride, as she settled for a quart of Bacardi Rum (Dark) in lieu of alimony...

3. The feeling of complete FREEDOM, having shed my lady, my symphony job, and any reminders. Also I had enough money for a few weeks of booze, and I could always wheel-and-deal for some Valium, Librium, or any of the 'ums families of pills.

4. Two quarts of Smirnoff hidden under the generator housing on the roof on my shanty: emergency stash ONLY!

5. A climb up the hill to see what celebrities (the mayor of Front St and Bridge Ave, e.g.) were vomiting at the Do Drop Inn during early afternoon, and if any geezer was buying a 'round' for the house.

6. That sudden gleeful realization that my violin was still on board.

7. One full vodka bottle was still factory-sealed--my BREAKFAST for the following day. What COULD else--in the whole world--matter? You said W.H.A.T.???

Then God took over, brought me to my knees, and subsequently to Alcoholics Anonymous. AA took all that wonderful stuff away from me, and gave me what? Well.....GOD! SOBRIETY! COMPASSION! HAPPINESS! PEACE! SERENITY! LOVE! HEALTH! YOU! And God gave back to me......................ME! Thank You!

Love you bloggers, and now I'll arrange for some time to read and comment your stuff, on which I thrive....
OH! so much!

It's been a busy, tiring, FUN, and "Filled-With-Blessings" week--I MEAN that! Now I'll get back to normal, but thank You, God--for the abnormal!


Prayer Girl said...

Love your blog, Mr. Steveroni!

Colleen said...

Thanks for your honesty and sharing your life. God is good. Blessings.

Akannie said...

Hello, "Up the lazy river-o-roni"...

LMAO....OMG. We are such drama queens aren't we???

It's a miracle that we live to see sobriety...and each other. And wanted to let you know, I received the communication today.

I can't wait !!!!!

Expecting 3-5 inches of snow tonight...brrrr....

Atiyanna said...

**hugs** Thank you always for stopping by and saying hello...and of course for sharing.
Lots of Love,
Your favourite Witch!

vicariousrising said...

You were quite the scamp back in the day. Glad you aren't still up to those tricksso that you are here in the blog world to tell the marvelous tales.

Linda S. Socha said...

My goodness...What a tale...Well told I confess. I was able to visualize it! Hello on Tuesday Steve. You are blessed and alive and I appreciate that

Banana Girl said...

Roni-man, you need to consider sending some of your stories to the Grapevine! I love this one, and I love em all, so keep em coming. Thank you so for sharing. It really lifts me up for a great day. I will recall at some point today, I am certain, the marriage of 12 hours. WOW-you are indeed a miracle man. J.

Shadow said...

what a story. hard to imagine knowing you as i do you now... time changes everything, hmmmm??? everything willing that is!

mile191 said...

Wow, that was a read. I needed today. I am down, feeling a bit in the dumps, and faking life everywhere. I think I am going back to bed for a bit. But thanks for the read, maybe will prevent me from my own future regret.

Dano MacNamarrah said...

That was hysterical...because of the great ending! I know we're not s'posed to tell war stories, but sometimes they are a great reminder of the miracle.

One person told me that they'd been busted for a DUI on a Zamboni. I almost fell over!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

You always bring a smile to my face!

J-Online said...

Thanks for sharing....

Syd said...

I'm glad that you found AA and surrendered. Vodka for breakfast gives me the shivers. You're in a much better place now than in that fog.

The scow is neat though.

steveroni said...

As you might guess, Syd, living on my own boat was like being dictator of a very small country...and being drunk at the same time--well, it was like 'heaven on earth'. but it could not last. There were the cold winters, ice in the river.

But I must admit, if there were ANY happy times in my earlier life, those several years were IT.

Thanks for your appreciated comment.
Steve E.

Faith said...

Hey there, can I have your email address? I need to invite you to view my blog because I changed the privacy settings. Thanks. Love, Faith

steveroni said...

Faith, I'm trying to figure out how I can give you my Email address, when I cannot even access your blog -grin???

So, unless you come back here for:
fiddlemn@comcast.com...I don't know what else we can do.

Steve E.

Cat said...

Memories sometimes are good to help remind us of where we have been and where we are going in life.