Today: is Dad’s anniversary, the day he was liberated from
this life of pain and sorrow, joy and laughter, what he owns now I know not.
But while he was alive, a lot of things occurred that bring back only the
fondest of memories. His life was a celebration to him, the gathering of his
grandchildren and children, under one roof for a holiday, in particular
But there was an uncle of his: Zio Felice, (Uncle Felix) who
will take center stage today, because he was a character, one that is
remembered with both reverence and awe. This mighty man stood tall, all 5’01”
of him when he stood on his toes. He had a wingspan on his Salvatore Dali
moustache of six feet.
It has always been my contention that he was trying to start
his own country. He was the oldest brother of Grandma Frances, and the
patriarch of the family. All Grandmas children respected him.
When coming to this country around the turn of the century,
while on the boat sailing to America, dressed in his black suit with grey
fedora and brown shoes, someone told him there was no macaroni in America. This
immediately caused a problem when he immediately advanced to the railing and
started to climb it. The crew was about to scramble for a ‘Man overboard’ call.
He was going to swim back to Italy where there was plenty of macaroni.
He was a man of amazing stamina, and the only one with more
stamina that I could think of is his wife, the mother of his 19 children, ergo:
the small startup country That’s right, 19. But his little sister Frances was a
little smarter than him, when on occasions having a bad day, would throw in her
four children and with the 19 Zio Felice had, he could not tell the difference,
and fed them all.
Working in construction, he would arrive home at night, and
all 19 kids sometimes 23 would all stand at their place at the table and wait
for Papa to sit first, then they sat and ate. He was a dictator, so you know
what kind of country it would be!
When Dad bought the house Mom is living in, Zio Felice decided
to come and bless the new abode. The problem was on that faith filled Saturday
morning, which Dad and Mom went out to the supermarket, leaving me in charge.
Looking out the front door I notice this car suddenly pull up. It’s Aunt Angie,
one of my favorite aunts and Dad’s sister. Suddenly another door swings open
and out comes his eminence, Zio Felice, elegantly attired in full fluffed
moustache and brown shoes!
Observing protocol, I bow and great the Great One,
explaining away the absence of the proprietor of the dwelling and lack of
ceremonial band and honor guard. I immediately take him on tour of the house
and then the grounds, when we come to this particular spot on the front lawn.
Eyes squinting in the sun he begins his inquest;
ZF: “And whatta you put a here?”
Me: “Just this lawn?”
ZF: “Atza no good. You digga hole a here, hew putta in the
flaga pole and raise a da flag.”
Me: “Should I put a picture of Garibaldi at the bottom?”
ZF: “Ha What?”
Me: “Should I put a picture of Garibaldi at the bottom, Sir?”
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DAD, SAY HELLO TO IL COMANDANTE DEL BAGNO: ZIO FELICE!
TWO DAYS OF SADNESS
It’s Friday the 13th, and today I will for the
first time, visit Mom. She will lie in a wooden box and for one day my life
will be put on hold, while I spend it remembering what it is all about.
Yesterday was spent running around, collecting memories and
photos of her past, visiting the funeral parlor and making the final
arrangements, and along with my sisters, planning the flowers, meals and the
ritual of saying goodbye in church, before we close the door to a time, but not
Yesterday was actually Dad’s anniversary of his death. No,
we didn’t forget, and I will never forget. Mom made it easy for me to remember.
She always made things seem like sense.
We will see mom today for the first time since she passed.
We will compare and make notes to ourselves in our minds of how she was and how
she is. Tomorrow will be the final act of Mom’s earthly life, tomorrow I will
realize it all, today I stay numb.
Don’t cry for Mom, she lived to 96: she lived a very happy
last 20 years of her life. She has left behind a legacy of beautiful
grandchildren and great grandchildren, I am proud of them and hope they all can
stay in touch.
As it was with Dad, Father’s Day will be remembering someone
we buried a day ago, as both Mom and Dad choose it to be.
Happy Father’s Day.