Being in the pool this Summer has been a painful reminder of missing Peter. While I spent the day at Peter Steele's neice Nancy's house, with Pete's other neice Marie, Marie's daughter Tristan, her fiance Ty, our mother, Pat (Pete's sister) and Pete's grand-neice Siobhan. While playing a game of Punch Ball/Dodge Ball in the pool, I couldn't stop thinking of the days gone by. While Tristan was jumping on me, trying to get the ball out of my arms, and Ty pulled my feet out from under me, I remember Summers when we'd play, "Take the Monster Down."
And who do you think was the MONSTER?
It would be all of us in Nettie's cold pool in the backyard on East 18th Street. All the neices - Nancy, Michelle, Tara, Marie and I - and Pete with a cheap blow-up ball. First, if we couldn't throw him in the pool, he'd cannonball jump into it. Then it was a game of who could get the ball away from him, while he tried to drown us, or run in circles with five little girls trailing behind him grabbing at his feet or accidently scratching him with our fingernails. He'd use his big hands to hold us back by our heads, as he screamed and we chased him.
And he trained us well. From the time I was 5 yo, till just a few years ago, Pete played this game with us. Of course, as we got older, he had a harder time with us.
I remember one time, we were all at Nancy's pool. All the neices and Pete playing dodge ball, which quickly grew into "Take the Monster down." Pete was standing in the middle of the pool - the deepest part - on his flat feet holding the ball high over his head with one hand. So, figure the ball was about 7 feet high. Marie and Tara had managed to climb on top of him, with Tara trying to climb up to his shoulders. He kept one hand holding onto the the blow up ball, and the other he used to push Marie off of him. Nancy and I swam under the water to bite his ankles. Michelle I believe was able to get the ball from him by cannonballing almost ontop of him, he lost his balance and dropped the ball. Then we fought each other until one of us got it. Peter easily grabbed it away with one long arm and ran out of the pool with it. I remember being yelled at by my mother for screaming so loud, but by then we were all in a fit of laughter, while we chased him around the pool till he jumped back in.
The best part of all this is we were all adults ... acting like silly kids ... enjoying the day with our Uncle Monster.