Monday, November 30, 2009

The Great Alouette-Potash Riot of 1952

Discussion Board Post:
there is a team called the Alouettes? seriously? a FOOTball team? do they get beaten up on streetcorners?
Discussion Board Reply:
My grandfather fought and died in a street demonstration in 1952 so that goddamned team could be called the Alouettes, and now you assholes are laughing at that name?!?! This is an outrage!

It's too painful to fictionalize. This is the first and only time I've felt moved to share this horrid piece of family lore. Before my grandfather was burned alive, he managed to crush the skulls of eight men who wanted the Alouettes to be named Potash.

All I have to remember my grandfather by is a lower row mollar found the ashes of the confrontation days after the boil over. I've had it mounted in my wedding ring. When I hear someone dissing the Alouettes, the hand on which that ring rests turns into a fist, and I rock the house with a cry, "Vive l'Alouettes!"

I don't know, man, you're probably right about using "les" in front of Alouettes, but it's just too traumatic for me. We have a grainy photograph of my grandfather's burial -- his pork pie hat filled with ashes, gravel, and his partially immolated handkerchief. In honor of his death, his entire neighborhood with held their garbage from trash collection for over a month. A drink at the corner bar was named in honor of my grandfather's demise -- hot cider with whipped cream on top, called The Extinguisher.

Every August 15th my family meets at that corner bar, we get shitfaced on Extinguishers, wear pork pie hats and burn our handkerchiefs in the street.

How have you wrenched this out of me?!?! Seven analysts, a bathtub of psycho-active medication and several hospitalizations have not been able to dislodge this from me.

You might be thinking that my grandfather was of French descent. You would be wrong assuming so. He was full blooded Irish from the fields of County Kildare. He simply supported the naming of the football team "Les Alouettes" because he loved how the French handled themselves during the French Revolution. His name was Fergal McClusky, though everyone called him "Ferg." He wasn't a large man, but he was a powerful man. He once won a competition at a county fair by lifting a rock that weighed 11 stone (1 "stone" is 14 pounds; this rock weighed 154 pounds) above his head with one hand.

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