In the 1960's my brother ... a very small toddler at the time ... fell and cut himself open pretty badly. My father scooped up the hysterical child and dumped him into the convertible ... peeled out of the driveway like a maniac to rush to the hospital.
Upon blowing the red light to turn onto rt. 22 ... he cut off a motorcycle gang.
They surrounded the car and forced it to a stop.
As they approached the car looking menacing, my father shouted "I'm taking my kid to the hospital and if you don't move your fucking bikes I'm gonna run over every mother fucking one of you!!!"
They sped off without any further delay.
But the real test of courage came concerning laundry.
My parents owned a Howard Johnson’s motel franchised location. Naturally, all of the bed linens were cleaned via an outside laundry contractor. I don’t know if you’re aware of which organization controlled the laundry contracts in the greater New York City area in the 60s, but I assure you it wasn’t the Boy Scouts. Think of a particular legendary familial group that is often stereotyped in popular movies and TV programs, including an award winning HBO program.
Anyway, the laundry contract was expensive and the linens weren’t coming back especially clean, so my father cancelled the contract and made other arrangements.
At the time, we lived in an old farm house on about five acres, set back from a quiet road, adjoining hundreds of acres of preserved forest land. Pretty isolated.
One of us spotted a dark sedan pulling into the driveway and had an uneasy feeling about it. My father, realizing at once who the visitors were, grabbed a pistol and out it into his belt line, nice and visible. He went out onto the deck above our garage that looked out over the driveway (elevated position).
Two goons in suits stepped out of the sedan looked up and addressed my father.
Goon: “Sir, we’re here because you’ve cancelled your laundry contract. No one cancels their laundry contract.”
My ol’ man: “It’s done. Cancelled. Too expensive and bad service.”
Goon: “Mister, I don’t think you understand … you see, we … “
My ol’ man: “No, I don’t think YOU understand. I know who you are, but this is who *I* am. Any mother fucker who comes after me or my family is not going to return. Now, you can send enough guys here to eventually kill me, but in the meantime, I’ve got a LOT of woods, and can bury a LOT of bodies. You’d win. Eventually. But ask yourselves how many bodies is one laundry contract worth?”
Her perfectly assessed the situation. He knew that they understood he wasn’t worth the damage he could do, or the heat it would bring.