Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Genesis of the Blog’s Title

My father was the largest distributor of cucumbers in the United States, possibly the world. That made him The Cucumber King. Truly! When I was young, I thought it was funny, too. If I mentioned it at all, a rarity, I joked about it. When I got older, I realized that to be a king of anything was to be a King. And that it made me the Son of the Cucumber King.

In response to the legendary Agnes DeMille’s insistence that I must write my stories, I told her that someday I would write a book called… my hands sweeping away from each other indicating a headline… “The Son of the Cucumber King”… and, hands narrowing to indicate a subtitle… “Is a Real Pickle.” Delighting in the title, she made me promise I’d write the book--but being a woman who never lacked an adamant opinion, she exhorted me to get rid of the subtitle.

My father, who sported a star sapphire ring and a sterling silver cigarette holder, was obviously somewhat of a showman. By placing his middle initial in front of his name, he was D. Louis Fox. That name was his bond. He could walk into a bank anywhere in Florida, his base of operations, and borrow a million dollars (in the 40s) solely on his signature. But my father would never do anything like that. To the contrary, he always overpaid his income taxes “a little”--for fear of cheating the government. This is real. So is it that he bought land in Florida for farmers who had no money, and operating solely on verbal agreements, went partners with them on the crops.

A product of his generation, which went head-on with the Depression, he was a driven man, relaxed only when he was with his family, which was too infrequent. Forced to slow down—to a stop—by an early “warning” heart attack at forty-six that had him bed-ridden and suffering his own depression, he insisted on going back to work. The doctor said it would kill him if he did; he said it would kill him if he didn’t. He was dead at forty-seven. I was fatherless just days before my eighth birthday.

17 comments:

  1. Great stuff. I can't wait to read more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful to read, Ray! Love the story even if I have heard it before. Write more! Listen to Agnes! And if you haven't posted your Blog on Facebook, you might think about doing that.

    Love,
    Adrienne

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am laughing, crying, laughing, amazed, not surprised, surprised, in complete anticipation of what's next, overjoyed, entertained, on a visual journey and in utter appreciation of the work you are now sharing with so many, especially with me! Thank you dear Ray! Kate

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Ray, I enjoyed reading your blog. Uncle Lou was a lovely man. I was very fond of him as a child. He was what i would call a sweet person.
    He honored his nieces and nephews ..by naming his cukes after them. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the grocery store i and saw ELAINE cucumbers on the label,
    I look forward to more family stories Ray.
    Cousin Elaine

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ray,

    That made me cry - thanks for sharing it with all of us. I of course knew that someone as fascinating, charming, genius, giving, funny, and everything else fabulous, had to have been from a wonderful family.

    Missing you and sending love,
    Bettina

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have always hated the word "blog" but such a pleasure to receive this so late at night and so early in my personal dance with words. Thanks for the promise of yet more joy to come.
    Bring it.

    Coffin

    ReplyDelete
  7. My goodness! I didn’t think I’d read this as I’m rasing with the clock myself today and I don't usually read blog suggestions that come in on my email. Since it was coming from you, Ray, I thought I'd give it a shot. It totallly held me. I was seeing the movie. in my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Damn Ray, this is wonderful storytelling. I knew the minute I saw the Fox Label that I was in for a treat. Never thought of you as a blogger--I've revised that idea. Most bloggs are so hard to read that I break my glasses trying to figure out why someone even tried. You're a blogger of different stripe. I predict you will soon have hundreds perhaps thousands of readers and I can't wait to read your account of your late friend Bashir. Thanks for inlcuding me.
    Jerry

    ReplyDelete
  9. Publishers awake! This is just the beginning of Ray Errol Fox's wonderful stories and storytelling. I've heard, read and witnessed more and they would make a great book too.
    To the stories ahead!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What an interesting life you seem to have led, Ray! And this, I would assume, is only the beginning, so keep us posted. Bet you'll that find blogging is shockingly addictive.

    ReplyDelete
  11. great read, ray!!! you were always a wonderful storyteller... keep on posting!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Loved the story Ray, you now have to write that book, seriously NOW.
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  13. I knew there was a reason I loved cucmbers and Ray Errol Fox stories. Keep it up. We need more.
    S

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well Ray, it was a pleasure to meet you a few weeks back, at the show that Mark and my mother Marta, et al put on. I couldn't think of better company to have had for dinner. It was even more a joy to come here and read your first blog post, it seems I have some catching up to do, but I look forward to the task. Entertaining and inspiring indeed.

    Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am so glad you have pointed me in the direction of your blog. It is indeed a hidden gem!

    Your backstory is so touching, and I am proud to say I will stay tuned to the blog of the son of the cucumber king!

    Long may all we pickles live!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I was very moved by this entry. I will read more of this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow. Who knew? An interesting and touching story, Ray...From today forward I will treat cucumbers with greater interest and respect!

    ReplyDelete