Monday, July 13, 2009

Dad....then and now

We feted Dad on his 80th birthday this past Friday----I flew to Chicago for a Day at the Races with him and the family, an annual event that I usually miss since I'm often not back there in early July. It was a beautiful day. Dad won big on the last race we stayed for, so I'll take that as an auspicious sign from the heavens---keep comin' back, Ron !

Oddly, I am finger-tied when it comes to writing a moving tribute or relating funny anecdotes about him on this blog----though there are many many tributes to be written and many funny stories to tell (two, three, or four times, as he would do....sorry, dad). Fearful that this will sound like a eulogy in preparation, and we are (we hope and pray) a long long way from that....

I will relate one story I always cherish, about my teenage years, when I worked as a pizza delivery boy for Tonelli's, a beloved and iconic Italian restaurant in my hometown, recently demolished to make way for a---yes, who needs it---Walgreen's. Anyway, as a delivery boy, one of my employee 'benefits' was a free pizza, made to order, at the end of the night. Home I'd go, where dad was usually waiting up late, and we'd eat pizza and watch reruns of the Honeymooners TV series and howl with laughter. How we didn't wake everyone else up, I don't know, maybe we did. This was my jealously guarded 1:1 time with dad, alone, sharing laughter and pizza in the dark of the night.

Dad (and mom, too) is one of those parents who truly loves and treats each of his children equally. Throughout my life, and to this day, I can't be sure who the 'favorite' is---probably because there is none. We each get what we need, and it's always about love and compassion and support, fully grounded in absolute belief in family and unquestioned loyalty to one another. Those are the gifts from him (and her) that keep on giving for a lifetime, and the gratitude we all share for his reaching 80 years, still with us, in good health and good cheer, is immeasurable. Happy 80th. Stick around, Ron.....zoom, zoom, zoom !

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