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June 2008 Volume 10 , Issue 6 submit to us!

by Karen Cafarella -- Contributing Author [Email This Story]

My Dad was a big Italian man. The kids on the block always listened to him. I think they were a little afraid of him. When we dated he made sure the boys knew how important his girls were to him and how we should be treated. My sister and I still say it is wonder we ever got married.

He loved to tell stories, he told about his life as a young man growing up in Brooklyn. He told us about the war and watching his best friend die. I don’t think he ever got over that. He would tell us about his boss, oh the funny stories he told. Sometimes he would be mad when talking about his boss, but then he would just laugh and laugh. He told his stories over and over again. We heard those stories so many times that we could tell them. They never were different the first or the thousandth time. I never tired hearing those stories; I think that is why I am a good listener now. Dad taught me that without even knowing it.

My Dad was also a very generous man. When my sister and I were little, Dad worked sometimes three jobs. One of his jobs was at a gas station. There wasn’t self serve then. Dad actually pumped the gas, checked the oil, checked the tires and cleaned the windows.

He got tips from the customers for doing all this. When he got home he would split his tips, some for my Mom, some for me, and some for my sister. We would find the change at our place at the table the next morning. When he got a really good tip, he would place the money under our dinner plates. The first time he did that he had to raise his plate and look under so we would do it. It took us awhile to catch on, but once we did we were always looking under our plates.

Many years later at a Thanksgiving with husbands and kids, Dad did it again; of course my sister and I knew exactly what to do. When the rest of the group caught on they were so surprised. He loved to see the expressions on everyone’s face.

Another very special time was Christmastime. Dad always worked on Christmas Eve helping to clear the runways of snow at JFK airport in NY, so the planes could land. He would miss us opening our gifts, but when he came home he always had a special gift for each of his girls. It was a small item, a change purse, compact mirror, perfume; but what made it extra special to me, was that it was just from him. I am sorry I never told him how much those meant to me.

He is gone now and I miss him terribly. I loved being his little girl, sitting on his lap and trying to fit my arms around him when I would hug him. Thanks Dad for all the things you did for us, I love you!

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Features -- June 2008 -- Beginning Month Issue