Uncle Abe
Where Ya At ? (Genesis Ch. 111- V9)

Uncle Abe was my father’s brother-in-law. He married my Aunt Sarah, hence, he was a fake uncle, not related by blood. He was the kind of guy, who if you ever met, you would never forget. He was a big bear of a man, huge hands, loud, a chaser, a big drinker, and a gambler with an explosive temper. Not what one would expect of a Jewish husband and father.

My dad’s brother, Uncle Sam, and Abe loved the fights and were always at ringside when Jewish fighters were on the card. There were many Jewish fighters in those days. This particular night a fighter with a Star of David on his trunks was beating the hell out of an Irishman when a guy sitting right behind Abe yells, “Kill the Jew!” Abe turned around and decked him. The guy's buddies got into the act but were unsuccessful in their efforts to restrain Abe from beating on them. Three cops arrived and after a scuffle, handcuffed Abe and hauled him away.

Abe owned an Army Navy surplus store on Market Street. It was basically a junk shop. One day I dropped in to say hello and I saw a man shoplifting. I told Abe. He said that he didn’t care since, “I paid nothing for this crap, anyhow.”

The whole surplus operation could only be described as “total mayhem.” In the midst of all this mess, there was an open door on the main floor leading into Abe’s office. A “customer” wandered in and was going through a mountain of papers on Abe’s desk when an employee politely asked the man to leave. And this is how it went:

The “customer” gets very upset and calls this employee a “nigger” and tells him to shove off, or words to that effect. The employee goes to Abe and tells him what the man said. Abe doesn't like what he hears. With all of Abe’s faults, he doesn’t like the N word, especially used on his employee. Abe, in a huff, hustles to his office and tells the guy to leave the store before he throws him out.

The fellow ignores this advice, and with blood in his eyes, launches an attack on Abe. Big mistake. One punch and the guy lands on the floor. He gets up and comes at Abe again, another serious judgment error. This time Abe throws him through a glass showcase. Finally, the guy gets the idea and flees.

A few weeks later Abe was sued for assault and battery. It seems that this guy was an epileptic and the judge sided with him. Abe had to shell out $7,000!!! The judge felt that the last “throw was excessive force!”

Just before WW 2 the Government asked that all trade with Japan stop, especially trade dealing in scrap metals, which was exactly Abe’s business. A short time later, pictured on the front page of the Call-Bulletin (the afternoon paper) was Abe’s truck with his son, Harvey, sitting on top of a huge heap of scrap metal heading for Japan.

Abe was interviewed and asked about the embargo. “I ain’t mad at nobody!” was his retort. “I ain’t mad at nobody!” Sixty years later that great line lives on. What a legacy!!!.

Every year, my Aunt Sarah would throw a Hanukah party. As we entered their home, Abe would be right there at the door, welcoming guests as one might in a reception line. Even as a little kid we would shake hands with him and look up into those watery blue eyes, and to every one of us, child or adult, he would look down and say “Where ya at?”

When God asks Adam in Gen. Ch 2 V. 9., “Where art Thou?” The obvious question is why is God asking this since He is the One who put Adam right there in Eden? The answer is, as the rabbis tell us, we all must constantly ask ourselves, “where ya at?”

Do you think Abe??????? No way---------but maybe.