The Summer of Moe

I stopped in Tony’s Pizza, Pittston, Friday night on my way home from meeting an old friend. The plan was to order a large plain pie, of which when back home I would eat at least half, and a small with anchovies, my wife’s favorite. Since I did not call in the order, I figured I’d sip a beer while waiting.
“Hey,” the gal at the register said, “there’s music downstairs if you want to wait there. The pizza will take about 20 minutes.”
What a good idea. Downstairs is Tony’s Wine Cellar, and, with or without music, surely some folks I’d know.
Well, I had that right.
I walked right into the 70th birthday party of Joe “Moe” Mullarkey, an old, dear friend.
This took me by surprise since the very night before (Thursday) I had received a phone call inviting (more like commanding) me to get my rear end to my buddy Al Kridlo’s house for … Moe Mullarkey’s 70th birthday party.
There I found out Moe Mullarkey’s first 70th birthday party had been held Tuesday at Cebula’s Bar in Dupont.
“I see a trend here,” I said to Patti (Cadden) Yanchis Friday night at Tony’s.
“Me too,” Patti answered. “I think we’re in for the Summer of Moe.”
That would be just fine with me. And I’m sure most everyone else who knows Moe. Which, pretty much, is everyone else in Greater Pittston.
Moe Mullarkey is somewhat of a legend in his home town, a guy so jolly he makes Santa Claus look glum.
Most of my Moe memories cannot be shared in print, but I can tell you this: Moe Mullarkey taught me how to wave.
I used to wave at a friend with a simple raising of my hand or maybe that tired head flick. You know, like someone just gave you a little thump under the chin. How lame.
Then I drove by Moe’s house one afternoon and saw him standing in his front yard. As soon as he spotted me, he started waving his hand over his head like a guy with a wife in labor trying to flag down a cab in New York City. He practically waved his hand right off. In the read view mirror I saw that he kept it up until I was out of sight.
That was a good 40 years ago and I’ve been waving Moe’s way ever since.
For that alone I love the big guy.
Here’s to his next 70th birthday party. I’m guessing it’s tonight.

Ed Ackerman