Updated: June 14, 2013 6:07AM
The Portage mother was still upset when she called me, claiming another high school student’s mother acted irresponsibly on prom night.
“My son did wrong by drinking alcohol, but why didn’t the other mother call me when he was in no shape to drive?” asked the Portage mother. “Parents shouldn’t help teenagers drink, even if they take away their car keys and backpack.”
The situation involved an 18-year-old Portage male who reportedly attended a party last weekend at a friend’s home, on prom night, drank too much booze and passed out afterward outdoors. He somehow stumbled — illegally — into the home a neighbor, who called the cops which led to his arrest on residential entry and minor consumption.
The police report I obtained confirms that the 18-year-old was found asleep the next morning in the neighbor’s home, but nothing about the prom party the night before. Because of this, I’m not citing any names, but such incidents seem a rite of spring each school year regarding high school proms and graduation parties.
Each year, there always seems to be a few “cool” parents who not only allow their teenage kids to drink booze at such parties, but who also set up the celebratory events. They supply the booze, the snacks, and sometimes even a party bus or limo, often with the good intentions of “keeping an eye on things.”
As one well-meaning parent told me, “They’re going to drink and party anyway, but this way I’m in control and it’s safer for them.”
I understand this rationale, but there’s a potentially dangerous backlash to such a progressive attitude when these parents become liable for every teen under their roof. Or on their property. Or asleep in a drunken stupor in their bathtub.
I doubt the Portage mother has much of a case regarding her son, who was in the county jail the last I heard. However, with scores of proms and graduation parties still on the calendar, let this be a warning to any parents with similarly “cool” or well-intentioned party plans.
The only thing harder than herding drunken cats is herding drunken teenagers.
A ‘hero’ regardless
My Friday column on Charles Ramsey, the 43-year-old Cleveland man who helped rescue those three women, prompted strong reactions from readers. Here are two responses that best illustrate your opinions.
“Misdeeds of Charles Ramsey’s past have nothing whatsoever to do with the heroics of rescuing the three missing women in Cleveland,” said R. Pelester.
“He paid for his past discretions which are totally unrelated to the rescue effort. Why and for what reason would you bring up that issue? The story is about his role in helping to free three women from an abusive captivity of 10 years.
“What hero has not had some type of sordid past? King David of biblical history had many indiscretions and is still considered heroic. Charles Ramsey is a hero, missing tooth and all. What heroic act have you accomplished lately, with your lily-white record?”
Scott T. wrote: “Charles Ramsey is exactly like all of us, a mixture of positive and negative, which I think is part of the appeal of guys like him.
“True heroes breathe a rarified air I will probably never partake in, since my own flaws keep me too close to the earth. But I can more identify with a man like Ramsey, imperfect though he is.
“There are so many people who had a great beginning (Lance Armstrong is an example) but who finished poorly. I think we can still cheer for people who start out badly but finish well (Ebenezer Scrooge). It’s redemptive, and there is something vaguely noble about that.”
‘Off the eaten path’
Today, I’m starting a new occasional feature called “Off the eaten path,” by noting a Northwest Indiana restaurant that may not be on your radar or in your orbit. Feel free to offer your recommendations, which I will share in future columns.
First up, Papa’s Deli in Crown Point, where new patrons feel like they’re strolling into the past. Paneled walls, old juke box, deli case, and an old-fashioned grocery-market atmosphere. The deli’s daily special seems to be a thick slice of Americana served over warm nostalgia.
I had a tasty gyros, deep-fried onion rings and a Coke. It was tasty, but the joint’s ambience was even more delicious. So much so that I didn’t mind having to visit a nearby bank to hit an ATM for cash because Papa’s Deli doesn’t accept credit cards.
The deli’s owner, Papa Angelo, kindly told me that I could pay him “next time,” but I should have noticed the signs about no credit cards accepted. Give it a try if you’re in Crown Point, located on the square at 119 W. Joliet Street (663-9745).
‘Mad Men’ – where the truth lies
If any of you are fans of the AMC-TV show “Mad Men” (and if you’re not, you’re missing the best show on cable television), here’s my favorite line so far from season six. Maybe it’s yours, too?
“She’s the apple that goes in the pig’s mouth,” hissed Megan’s mother, Marie, in her French accent, referring to the pet-wife of a fat-cat client.
Ouch, and yum.
Need a pick-me-up?
One consistent perk of meeting elderly people is that they always think you are younger than you really are. I realized this after visiting yet another nursing home last week for a column.
My advice to you: If you’re ever feeling down about your life, visit a nursing home and leave with the refreshing realization that things could definitely be worse.
Connect with Jerry via email, at email@example.com, voice mail, at 713-7237, or Facebook, Twitter, and his blog, at jerrydavich.wordpress.com.