One time when I was in high school, my dad woke all of us up in the early morning hours rummaging for a gun which he later loaded and headed out of the house with. He was in hot pursuit of the two shadows he saw from the glass door off our deck pilfering around his used car lot a few hundred feet away. I laid in my bed shaken and waited, hoping he wouldn’t actually kill anyone even though they were attempting to steal or damage something that was his.
Attempted break-ins in the wee morning hours were a regular occurrence at Steve’s Auto Sales on Erbacon Road in Cowen, West Virginia.
“Mom, can you see dad? Can you see them?” I whispered as I padded into my parents’ dark bedroom, where she was peering through the vertical blinds of the sliding glass door. We watched in silence as my dad quickly made his way up the side of the street. We could see the shadows of two bodies lurking around his car lot, too. The shadows took off running at the sound of my dad’s gun, a warning shot fired to scare them away. My dad wasn’t a killer. He had a keychain with an image of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross, for God sakes. He just wanted people to leave his shit alone. Later on, two young men who my dad knew personally confessed that they were the ones on his lot around 1 a.m., looking for tools. Their goal was to break into his garage. “If you need tools, you can use mine any time, all you had to do was ask,” he told them. After that, they were welcome to borrow his tools to repair their own vehicles anytime, but at a price — they’d be taking immaculate care of my grandmother’s lawn as long as she lived, and would wash used vehicles until their hands bled.
I always thought that was one of the greatest stories ever told about remembering the least and all that. A few months after my dad fired that warning shot, he fell to the floor of his garage, dead from a massive heart attack. And a few more months after that, I fell in love with a boy and found myself behind the scenes of Lo’s Gym, a boxing club in my hometown owned and operated by a coal miner/boxing trainer who would eventually become my father-in-law. The story of Lo’s Gym rivals nearly all stories of the great and noble things my dad ever did for anyone, but I look back and believe with all my heart that in some way, everything important that happened to me after his death was kind of like his legacy continuing on in my life somehow. Who the hell knows, and my spiritual beliefs are probably mostly questionable, but that’s what I like to think.
But, back to that story of Lo’s Gym. It’s been 16 years since I first heard of the place, and now, I’m planning the wardrobe for a promotional book tour which I’ll be attending in support of my husband, Todd, who literally wrote the story of said gym. I’ve been behind the scenes all these years, and with the 12 Rounds in Lo’s Gym book release coming in less than one month, I feel compelled to tell my side. I’ve been around every step of the way, except for the time when Todd was knocked out in the ring by “Noah Milton or Noah from Milton” a couple years before my reign as his significant other began.
My strongest contributions in the making of 12 Rounds are creative in nature, which has always been the case the majority of my life for anyone near and dear to me; I’m quite possibly the most impatient asshole you’ll ever meet and I don’t really accept excuses for anything, but I’m relatively efficient, very healthy and extremely goal-oriented, and I get shit done with high-quality results. I’m also sort of eccentric. Who best to have in your corner? So, I’m in Todd’s. He’s a lucky one, that Todd.
My take on “the making of” 12 Rounds in Lo’s Gym begins in early Spring 2013, in Ballston Spa, N.Y.
To be continued.