Happy Father’s Day!!! That goes double for me.
In honor of this party for the paterfamilias, I thought I’d drop a few kind words on my good buddies who have joined the Fraternal Brotherhood of Eternal Fatherhood over the past few years. Of course, there are many individuals that I know are classified as doting Dads, but I lack the photographic evidence to support it.
First up is my good buddy Rich – a father three times over who has two daughters, Sophia and Cailyn and a son, Matthew. We used to all sit with great anticipation for the annual “Hey guess what, we’re having octuplets” call – but it appears Rich may finally be out of the baby business in favor of his burgeoning Internet bookselling business. Anyway, Rich and I go way back to Rockland High – we were college roomates together at UMASS – and enjoyed a two year stint as Sigfried & Roy’s understudies (uintil Rich got nipped by a ferret and exposed us as the frauds we were)… so we’ve got some history. Rich is a great friend and father and on this day I tip my cap to him and pass the message that we really have to get together soon. Been too long, buddy.
We now come to Justin or Juice to all you who know him. Justin has two children, Morgan and Cameron. The weird thing with Juice is we seem to be living parallel lives. He shares a birthday (day and year) with Andi and the freaky time table only grows from there. We both got engaged around the same time (we both had the same notion at the same time to call and announce the news to each other) and got married 2 weeks apart. We then welcomed our first children to our respective families about a month apart – and added to the family two years later – within a span of a couple months. I’ve asked Justin to give me the courtesy of a phone call when he dies as I’ll then know I have mere weeks to live and can get busy traveling the world – skydiving off Mt Kiliminajro – deepsea diving through the Mariana Abyss – you know, “Get busy Living.” Sorry dude, but you’ll have to find someone else to draft the eulogy!!! Anyway, Juice is a dear friend and a great Dad.
Next up is Joe – another friend from college who has stayed by my side through the many years since (we could have enrolled and graduated 3 times over now, buddy). Joe is a step behind Juice, Rich and I – having been the last to get hitched – but he’s right there with us, neck and neck, for the title of World’s Greatest Dad. Joe is the proud papa to his daughter Alison, his ‘bean’. Alison is fortunate to never know her Dad when he was sporting his lead-singer of The Knack do – Joe’s one of those dudes that benefits exponentially from a shorn mane. Fortunately for her, I’ve got photos that will be released at some time in the future. Joe and I followed up college by rooming together in Mansfield, MA and then Nashua, NH. If we were great friends in college, we became brothers afterwards, and I’ve seen Joe grow into an inspiring husband and father. As with the other guys on this list (and those that don’t have kids) this feels like one of those life-long friendships. Although, if he wants to eluogize me he’ll have to come looking in the jungles of Borneo – a little side-effect of the aforementioned Justin Curse. Anyway – I raise a glass of Rudolph Red in your honor.
This dude’s my Granddad on my mother’s side. My grandfather is one of those guys who has stories for all occassions and he has the pictures to prove ’em. He grew up in the days where you could be tossing batting practice for the Boston Braves one moment – and in the Air Force wining and dining Hollywood starlets the next (he’s got both on his resume as well as some modeling and print ad work). My grandfather met my grandmother during the big War in England – where he insists she proposed to him as a ploy to gain passage to this great Land of Opportunity (their account on this story is classic He Said/She Said). However the tale turns, they both ended up in Massachusetts where they raised a family of four children (my Aunt Reg, my Aunt Di, my mother and my Uncle Ron) who in turn brought them a gaggle of grandchildren. I’ve always been close with my grandfather and have learned a lot from him – from how to finally connect splendid splinter with baseball to some neat martial attacks capable of bringing down a fully grown man (he insists to this day that at the age of eleven, I performed a slide-tackle and took him down on my front lawn – “Sweep the LEGGGGGGG!!!”). My grandfather is in his 80’s and still going strong. One great, indelible image that I’ll keep forever is he and my Grandmother being the last people on the dance floor during one of those “longest married couple” contests at my wedding. Seeing them dance, watching the years melt, was one of thse images that we tattoo upon our subconscience – one of those moments that truly define family. Here’s to a great Grandpa who deserves many more words than I wrote here today.
Not pictured here is my grandfather on my Dad’s side – who passed away when I was 14. I was his first grandchild and it showed as he doted on me left and right. I used to spend many school vacations staying over his house – and would often accompany him on his weekend errands – soaking up everything he did and striving to be just like him. He had a great dry sense of humor which he passed along to my Dad, and eventually I iniheritied. My grandfather was born in Newfoundland and moved his family (my Uncle’s Don and Bill, Aunt Suzanne and my father) South. They hit Florida – realized they could go no further without flagging down one of those Cuban refugee truck/boats – and then turned their nose North, ultimately settling in Massachusetts. Due to his Canadian upbringing – my grandfather loved seafood – the stinkier the better. The pipeline he had to the North assured him a steady stream of the most sour smelling sea creatures the ocean could spew forth – and one memorable Saturday morning saw my young frame awakened – and my nostrils busted – by the thick, pungent aroma of fried Kaplan wafting through the air – karate kicking every decent scent it encountered. We ought to bottle that stuff and ship it to Al Queda. That’ll take care of ’em, proper. Anyway, broken nose aside, he was a great Granddad. I’ll never forget these words spoken to me by my Uncle Bill at my grandfather’s wake. Caught alone in one of the side sitting rooms, my Uncle looked at me and said quite simply – “He loved you, Eddie.” I loved him too.
And this last guy needs no explanation. This is my Dad – a great Dad. I’ve known him my entire life and its amazing to see the little personality traits that we share in common. While I was a pretty shy guy growing up, sometime in the gulf between high school and college, my current personality began to blossom. The sense of humor that is my stock in trade is on loan from my Dad – who I remember brightening up many neighborhood barbeques with a quick quip or humorous antic. For the longest time, every kid on my street was sure my Dad ate a live worm at one of these fiestas (in a bid to either make us laugh or sicken us all the same – now that I think about it – he may have just been inventing non-alcoholic Tequila). Now, I’m not ready to go noshing on a garden slug – but the dry sense of sarcastic humor that my Dad has patented – has latched itself to me. In short, in addtion to having a hand in my creation, he’s helped inform the man I am today. Recently, my Dad announced that he is getting remarried to Missy – a fantastic lady. I happen to have a great family situation. While my parents did get divorced – they always stayed on friendly terms which was beneficial to my sisters and I in making sense of everything. My mom got remarried a couple years back, and now with my Dad getting remarried, I feel that things are coming full circle. And this great big family benefits from having a patriarch like my father commanding the good ship. My Dad has done so much for me (and us) over the years, including allowing Andi and I to get a jump start on home ownership several years before we could have realistically done so, by selling us his great Cape in Brockton, MA back in 2000. Writing about your own Dad takes a lot of introspection and it’s tough to do justice in a quick Blog – but at the very least – I hope the few sentences here paint the picture of how lucky I am to call my Dad – My DAD!!!
Oh yeah – one other guy. I’ve said enough so I’ll just drop a few pictures to show y’all how lucky I am. Happy Father’s Day!!!