Herman Graves: My Dad Pranks a 12-Year-Old

One of the most shocking things fellow Ranger fans learn about me is that I live in the Philly suburbs, in the thick of Flyers country. Flyers fans find it shocking, too, and their first assumption is that I was born elsewhere. I was, actually, but not in New York. My dad’s from north Jersey, with strong ties to New York State, which were passed on to both myself and my sister over the years in various ways. The biggest tie can be found upstate in the Adirondack State Park—I spent a couple weeks every summer for the first 25 years of my life. (Oh, how I miss the Adirondacks. Who wants to go camping next summer? But I digress…)

In the summer of 1994, I was a fresh-faced 12-year-old flush with the recent Stanley Cup win of my new favorite sports team, the New York Rangers. I’d given the Phillies an honest try the previous fall, when the excitement of a World Series run swept me up; but they totally broke my heart and we’re not friends anymore. But the Rangers showed up just when my heart was ready to fall in love again, and this time they didn’t disappoint. (Not that year, anyway. Future years, well…)

At the end of our yearly vacation, we had our traditional breakfast at the Muffin Patch in Old Forge, NY, before the long trip home. It’s a popular spot, and there were a number of other families waiting to be seated with us. One man in line was wearing an Adam Graves sweater. I never saw Rangers stuff at home in suburban Philadelphia! So I nudged my dad to point it out, and he looked over and told me, “Oh, that’s his brother, Herman Graves.”

Riiiiiiiiiiight.

I wasn’t an idiot. I probably gave my dad the stink-eye or rolled my eyes, was basically all “LOL okay Dad.” We got our party called to be seated, and as we ate breakfast and then headed home, I let it go.

I don’t remember exactly how long after we got home the next part happened, but I’m feeling like it was probably that same night, or the next day at the latest. My dad found an article online about Adam Graves, and he printed it out so I could read it. I really wish we still had a copy of this article. I was reading it happily, because #9 was one of my new heroes and I was so happy to read more about him. But then there was a line about his brother, Herman Graves, who recently spent time in the Adirondacks.

I didn’t exactly believe it was legit, but at the same time I didn’t quite believe that my dad would make all the effort to mess with an article to add that in there just to mess with me. I mean, the article looked real. This was mid-90s, so websites were still pretty simple, especially news sites.

But no. That’s exactly what he’d done. He’d saved the article to Word or whatever, and added a little line about Adam Graves having a brother who was vacationing in the Adirondacks. All to continue a joke that started 350 miles away.

Since then, whenever I see anything about Adam Graves, I call him Herman. Because my father pranked his 12-year-old daughter, and I will never let him forget it.

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