Father’s Day Tribute By Jennifer Green
Bradley J. Bogart – Part II
Brad and Religion:
My dad was never an “organized religion” type of guy. He was Jewish and attended Hebrew School when he was young but as an adult he stepped away from it and other than a handful of times, we never went to the synagogue. Instead us kids attended a Methodist Church with my mother.
Now just because my dad didn’t attend a synagogue or church, doesn’t mean he wasn’t religious – he was, extremely so in fact – but he chose to form his own beliefs from life and that is what he passed on to us.
My dad thought it was hysterical that people took bible stories so literally. He also didn’t like how many people attended church on Sundays, preached the word of the good lord and then went out and destroyed others during the week. He found delight in testing these “so called” religious pillars of the community. He had a theory that those who preached the word the loudest are usually the biggest sinners. Now, don’t take offense to this and write a defensive comment, I know this isn’t always the case . . . but you have to understand that my dad was an anomaly in our small community. He was big city loud, foul mouthed, weirdly artistic, argumentative and everything small town society is uncomfortable with. So when may dad said that people preached on Sunday and then destroyed others during the week, he was speaking from experience because a lot of times he was the one they were talking about and trying to destroy.
I vividly remember one of the times he chose to test a highly religious community member. There used to be a fast food chicken restaurant in our town and right when you walked in, there above the menu, the owner proudly displayed the following statement, “Only one life will soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last”. One day, my dad purposely dressed like a hobo - old ragged clothes, kept his beard and hair all disheveled, dirt on his face, ect. He walked into the restaurant and asked to speak with the owner. The man came out from the back all pristine in his dress shirt and tie. My dad pointed to the religious sign and asked the man if he believed in that. The man puffed up proudly and exclaimed, “Why yes sir, I absolutely do!”. My dad then said, “Great, because I haven’t eaten in days and I’m starving but have no money, would you give me some food?” The man coiled back and replied in disgust that he couldn’t possibly do that, because if he gave him free food, then that would just open up the doors to others and create a problem. My dad just smiled and said, “That’s ok, I was just F**kin’ with ya”. He walked to the counter, pulled out his money, ordered some food and left. He never walked into that restaurant again and we were never allowed to either.
The biggest life lesson my dad taught me was to do something good for those in need and then shut up about it! He believed that bragging about anything good you do for others, first of all might embarrass the person you helped, and second of all it diminishes the joyous feeling you received by helping that person. Because of his take on this, many people only knew about the shady things my father did on occasion – no one ever knew about the help he extended to others less fortunate nearly every single day of his life. I was witness to many of these, but in order to keep my father’s integrity intact, I will never talk about them either.
Brad and Writing:
My father began writing later in life, but as with all the other artistic things he tried, he was amazing at it. I have books filled with many beautiful poems and stories.
He also created quite a bit of controversy with his writing (surprise, surprise ;)). My dad had a sort of column in the local newspaper, back then called “The Observer”. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t his own column . . . it was the “as readers see it” section but he submitted a piece nearly every week for it so it mine as well have been the Brad Bogart column. The editor at the time was a friend of his, Darwin Bennett, and he was more than happy to print my father’s weekly rants. I would liken my dad’s writing to that of a bear with his paw in the bee’s hive. He’d dig in pissing all the bees off (bees representing the community members), while he just sat back and enjoyed the sweet taste of the honey. A hot topic of his was that of the DuPont and Hooker chemical companies and how they were poisoning White Lake – everyone hated him for it and wanted him to just shut up - but he refused, feeling that people needed to be educated about it. Sadly, we all know now that indeed these companies were poisoning our beautiful lake and the water we drank.
My dad had a van during his writing phase and he converted the back of it to his mobile writing room. He hung tapestries on the inside walls, had a small army cot set up to take siestas and a desk with an old manual typewriter nailed down to it so it couldn’t fly off when he drove. He never had any kind of normal day job, so instead he would drive around to find an inspiring location, park the van, whip open the back doors, throw in a Willie Nelson tape in the 8 track player (yes, 8 track - I’m old) and type away.
Cool – right? Not when you’re a young teenager and you walk out of school to find your dad in the parking lot typing away or when you’re hanging at the beach with boys and you walk up to the concession stand only to find your dad in the back of his van writing like a mad man with the doors flung open, music blaring. H-O-R-R-I-F-Y-I-N-G!!
However now, I fondly remember it. I can close my eyes and still see him sitting in the back of his beloved van at the desk, speedily typing away with his two index fingers; writing beret perched on his head. Tap, tap, tap – thunk, thunk – tap, tap – thunk – Buzzzzzzzzzz, ding! These were the familiar sounds of the old manual typewriter. A sound I still dream about today.
Father’s Day Tribute By Jennifer Green