The last "Hackie" column, "The Touring Life," spotlighted a house painter living with his "old lady" at the Dutch Mill Motel. Regular readers of my stories may have detected the special respect I harbor for men and women who work in the "trades," those various skilled jobs on a construction site.
In 1979, I "made aliyah" - as the Israelis say - and located to Vermont. The following year, 1980, saw the construction of the Church Street Marketplace. The major construction aspect of this project was the bricking of Church Street. It took a few months, and I often had the pleasure of watching the bricklayers do their thing. Getting those thousands of bricks level and into the correct pattern took a team of experienced craftsmen.
One of bricklayers was an Italian expatriate with the face and body of Michaelangelo's David. The man was godlike - tall and dark, and darn it if he didn't have blue flashing eyes. Before long, the women of Burlington discovered him.
If you're reading this and under the age of, say, 40, it might be helpful to point out that this was still a time when women were less obvious about public displays of their sexual desire. But, this guy - this Italian bricklayer - soon began to excite waves of female lust (not to mention the homo-erotic version as well) from Charlotte to Milton.
The phenomena hit high gear during the heat spell of July, because that's when the Italian's tank-top (which was plenty sexy in its own right) came off by high noon. Women began scheduling their outdoor lunch breaks in droves to catch the show. And the guy did his job, laying brick after brick, seemingly oblivious to the hormonal havoc he was engendering.
And, in case you're wondering - yes, I was wicked jealous.