up, I know Miss Monroe is singing about her sugar daddy, she’ll gladly flirt but won’t lift her skirt for any laddy. The Daddy in question here is my Pops who you may remember my mentioning in previous posts, Popsi’s name was Iggy, Ignacy to be exact. He passed away from the big C on June 8th 2001, as you can imagine it utterly destroyed me, he was my hero, my light, my anchor , my all. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remember him, I had dog tags made for me that I wear daily as a reminder of him worn close to my heart, I’m a sentimental fool but you see like any little girl I think my Popsi was the best dad that walked the earth. Of course there were times when he drove me absolutely bonkers like the day I came home from college looking for my cool ass beaten up leather motorcycle jacket only to discover he had cleaned out my closet of anything he thought was unladylike and pretty much burned all of it!!!? Or the time he wouldn’t let fourteen year old me hang out with the pot smoking boy of nineteen I was dating one summer so I sneaked out anyway and had the entire police force of my home town looking for me , I could handle my shit , I was a mature kid, I knew when to say no but to my Pops I was his baby that he needed to protect forever and ever amen till time ends and hell freezes over! My ode this issue and for Father’s day is for Iggy Mlynarczyk , musician, day dreamer, soldier, life saver, father and best friend .
We had a curious journey together the 33 years that I spent with him, filled with fairy tales and make believe that helped me out of the darkest places when I was a kiddie. He taught me to follow my dreams and my heart as he had not been able to, to be respectful, keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth closed until it was needed. My pops was a farm boy, one of nine kids being raised in rural Poland like so many other families eking out an existence where they could,when the kids reached eleven or so they were sent out to work for other farmers to bring money back to the house, it was on one of these excursions during WWII Popsi’s sister who I’m named after was captured by the Gestapo, a petrified farmer trying to save his own kids gave her away as a migrant gypsy, my dad saw the scene from the field he was working in and ran to her aid, he begged them not to take her knowing she was not strong enough to survive the ordeal instead he struck a deal and they took him instead to a camp first in Poland then later to Germany where he was forced to work digging ditches for burying bodies and farming the land. During his time there he made friends with a German girl called Gisella who would sneak him food from her family table and books to read to teach him the German language. After a few years of watching , waiting and building courage Pops hatched an escape plan aided by his friend , so his story goes she helped him and two others escape . Dad was just 17 , the other two were not as lucky as young Iggy, they were captured and shot as an example to the rest of the inmates, Pops journeyed on alone through a bitter winter traveling on foot from Germany to France picking clothes and boots off dead soldiers and existing on frozen roots and other peoples throw aways. One morning he found himself staring into Bakery shop window, it was early enough that there were no people around except the baker who took pity on him and beckoned Pops in, so hungry he stopped for a second not knowing if he would get turned in but that gnawing ache in his belly lead him forward through the door, the baker turned out to be one more of his guardian angels, he fed him, gave him clothes and a hot bath and a few days later he was picked up by the French resistance who transported him to an RAF hospital close by . There he was enlisted in his Majesty’s service and eventually he was sent to the UK , Pops was taught to play the Piano and in his barracks and would play at the town hall dances in Lincolnshire where he shared more than one dance with a very young Miss Thatcher, it was also in that town that he had his heart broken by a young lass who’s own father forbade her to mix with a foreigner . In his early thirties he moved to a small town in Derbyshire ( home to Miss Austen’s Darcy) where he met and married my mum, not a long union but one that produced two very different kids, my brother first then in 67 myself . According to family stories Pops suffered a serious mental breakdown, not surprisingly the trauma of his earlier life finally caught up with him, giving him night terrors and turning him into a ghost, he was further tormented by the barbarian “Doctors” of that time and given the One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest treatment, “healing” by electrocution! I won’t go into the details of how or why my parents divorced, they did when I was about five, it was a nasty experience all around, fights and attempted suicides turned into a year of custody battles and tugs of war, it was also the first time I ran away from home, I think I was maybe six. Iggy was eventually granted custody of his two willful children and devoted the rest of his years raising two kids as a single parent, we were his everything and though he had a funny way of showing it his love was never ending, he never said I love you, or gave us hugs ( not until I was older and forced him into expressing himself) but there were many nights he would sit by my bed side stroking my hair and singing a Polish “Lulka” or lullaby to get me to sleep.
Pops was never much of a talker, he was however an amazing story teller and would on occasion after a wee nip of his favorite dram spill his memories for me as a reminder to be grateful for the life I was given, no wars to fight , food on the table, a roof over my head and a good education were pretty much all he said I needed, boyfriends and rock music were most definitely not part of his prescription . Since we’re talking booze you know there has to be a link here in my story to some sort of liquid refreshment, yes indeed, the wee nip of Iggy’s truth serum was the Mother of all libations uisige beatha , the water of life, fire water whatever you want to call it, commonly known as Whisky, to be exact that peaty, stinky green bottled monster, Laphroaig. My first taste came somewhere back in the early eighties when I was going through my teenage angst years, the bottle was only ever brought out on special occasions and was kept in Iggy’s not so secret, secret stash hole, I would watch my dad sip his glass of amber nectar watching with awe as his face brightened and his smile would erupt, I felt for sure it would cure my blues so I poured myself a glass and retreated to my red painted womb of a bedroom, lighting a clove cigarette and whisky in hand I thought I was super sophisticated, that is until I choked on the first sip of Laphroaig the rest being spilled on the floor. Times have certainly changed, Islay scotch whisky is now one my preferred tipples, over the years I have learned to love that smoky , briny flavor picked up by smoking the barley over peat moss fires before going off to be distilled .
There’s nothing unusual about the drinks that follow , but I think the old man would have enjoyed one or two whilst waiting for the horse he backed to win or relaxing reading one of his Louis Lamour Western novels or maybe comforting his troubled memories, his tastes were pretty simple and classic, Chopin played the theme song to his life, Maggie Thatcher was his dream girl, when he could scrape his pennies together meat and two veg were his idea of fine dining, every day I saw him he wore a jacket and tie, pressed pants and shined shoes, at times his socks may have been full of holes but he presented as the perfect put together gent, both inside and out .
Islay be seeing you
1 1/2 oz Laproaig 10
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum
1/2 oz honey syrup ( 1:1 honey to hot water)
1/2 oz ginger syrup ( fresh ginger juiced and added to a simple syrup)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz Yuzu juice
Toss everything into your trusty Boston shaker and add 5 ice cubes, this drink needs a good shaking and the flavors of both the scotch and rum stand up to being well whipped around so shake for about 35 seconds until the drink is ice and chilly . Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with ice, garnish with one or more candies ginger cubes.
when to drink: whilst watching the horse races on the telly, as an aid to numb the pain of the local clergyman’s sunday visit, or just for the hell of it!
Peat-er & the Wolf
2 oz Laphroaig 10
1/2 oz St.Elizabeth allspice dram
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz ginger syrup
2 oz Theakstons Old Peculiar ale or Newcastle Brown ale ( plus the bottle for topping up)
Shake everything except the beer over ice for 30 seconds, strain into a chilled ice filled highball glass and top off with the brown ale
When to drink: After painting the house , fixing the roof, cleaning your daughters closet and building a fire, as a reward for being the Best Dad EVER!
1 1/2 oz Laphroaig 10
1 oz creme de peche
1 oz calvados
3/4 oz maple syrup
1 oz lemon juice
2-3 oz Lapsang Souchong tea chilled ( depending on glass size)
1 ripe peach
2 drops vanilla extract
Chop half the peach into cubes and put aside for muddling, the other half of the peach needs to be sliced into 1/4″ slices for garnish.
In the bottom of your shaker add the peach cubes, vanilla and maple syrup and muddle, add the rest of your liquid ingredients plus 5 ice cubes to shaker and shake for about 25 seconds, dump into a chilled glass and top off with more ice, garnish with peach slices.
When to drink: Goes down well after a day spent chasing thunderstorms away with that big stick, unravelling the cat from the washing line, or tending to Aunt Judy’s raucous brood of five.
The Old Man’s Fashioned
1 1/2 oz Earl grey tea soaked Laphroaig 10 ( steep 6 tea bags in one 750ml bottle of whisky)
3/4 oz cinnamon simple syrup ( 1 spoon of Vietnamese cinnamon powder steeped for 4-5 hours in hot simple syrup)
1/2 oz brandy
3 dashes angostura bitters
two orange twists
Muddle the simple syrup, bitters and 1 orange peel in the bottom of a chilled old fashioned glass, add the whisky and brandy and stir for a few turns. Add a couple of hunks of ice and stir for about 15 seconds to chill slightly but not dilute too much. Spritz over the orange oils from the second twist and rub on the rim of the glass , plop the twist into the glass and sip slowly.
When to drink: As an after bed time story treat, as a partner to your favorite Spaghetti western or just to warm the cockles of your heart.
Cheers to you Popsi , wish you were still around for hugs on this Father’s day! Miss you so so much, Love always!!!