Dear Dad

Note: One year ago today was the last day I spent with my dad. I wrote this posthumously in June for a Father's Day letter campaign. Thought I'd share as I reflect on the changes since then. 

Dear Dad,

So this is the first Father’s Day I won’t be buying your vodka and salami. Instead, I’ll enjoy a few slices and toast you with these thoughts:

I’ve never repeated your “Dumber than cowsh*t” pronouncement on anyone, but the older I get the more applications I see.

I once dreaded your Depression stories of first generation Italian hardships. Except skimming the cream off the milk in the middle of the night. Good survival tip.

Now I understand why you saved, distrusted banks, and thought us weak if we weren’t willing to work. Thanks for planning ahead for your family.

That one wiry eyebrow drove me crazy. Reminded me of the Zeds (“their hair grows so fast, so fast they say, they need a haircut every day” Dr. Seuss.) By the way, I now have the same renegade hair, thanks...

I’m glad I got to walk on the train tracks at Grandma Mary’s house and try that tin of snuff she kept in her pocket. Different kind of Grandparents Day back then.

My favorite meal is still the little salamis, gorgonzola and Italian bread you would bring home after work.

I kept the green polo shirt with the hole that you patched from its hemline and glued into place. Best My Dad Was So Cheap story ever.

When Pepe ran away and the phone rang, you left crying with a shovel and bag. It would have been ok to cry together. I was 12. Old enough to practice grieving.

You were the original Ms. Moderation. You had none and passed the gene on to me. Now I have a nickname and a company as a result. And the kids laugh at me rather than you.

Now I get your favorite punchline. “It only hurts when I laugh.”

Love, Dood