On Father’s Day, all I can do is remember my dad, Joe. I miss him every day and often wish he was around to talk to. He and his brother and my godfather, Uncle Eddie, were good men who were taken from us way too early.
My dad and uncle used to work at the same place in Philadelphia that was not too far from where we lived in the Fairmount section so my dad could walk home. I remember sitting on the steps of our house and watching for him to appear way down the street. When he did, I would let my mom and grandmom know that “daddy was coming” and when he got closer, my older sister, younger brother and I would run to greet him. Not being a particularly sappy sort, he would usually say something aloof, but we knew in our hearts that he was happy to see his children greet him so gleefully. I used to love to hear his stories, especially those about his work buddies and WWII. He swore like a drunken sailor and loved to play practical jokes on us...he would laugh hysterically when we fell for them, which we routinely did. He and my mom would take us to restaurants, down the shore, to drive-in movies (I remember seeing “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” like it was yesterday) and to see the Phillies. One particular game we attended was “Autograph Day” at the “Vet” and my brother, Joey, ran around gathering signatures and returned with one from a rookie named Mike Schmitt and we all said in unison “who’s that?’ Funny, we all found out soon thereafter who he was! In his later years, my dad was much more of a home-body and he enjoyed his grandchildren, our dog, cooking, his caps, and one favorite knitted sweater that my mom still has.
One day, shortly after he died, I was sitting in class at St. Joe’s feeling particularly gloomy. Noticing that I was not participating in class as much as I usually do (I know you’re all shocked to learn that I was an animated class participant) the professor asked me what was wrong and I told him my father died. I’ll never forget what he said next…”a snowflake is never just a snowflake, a raindrop is never just a raindrop, or a falling leaf is never just a falling leaf any more…they are now all greetings from your dad.” I am often comforted by those words and during the snow storms of this past winter, I speculated that my dad was giving me a good swift kick in the ass – can’t imagine why!
Happy Father’s Day daddy, Uncle Eddie, Uncle Charlie, Uncle Lou, and Gene…you are all missed every day.