Growing up on Liberty Avenue created great memories for me. Our house was full of life and love. My best memories include my father teaching me to cha-cha. At night when he came home from work, the music went on and the dancing began.
We only had one TV - like every other home at the time - and my father controlled the channel choice. Most times that choice had to do with some form of sports. We were the only house I knew of with four girls (no boys) that had a basketball hoop on the garage and sports equipment of various forms piled up on the back porch. His passion for sports was instilled in us all - well, in most of us.
Dad was our calm in any storm, always the voice of reason. Any time there was a problem, we always called him first. We knew he would ask if everyone was okay and that he would tell us that anything else could be fixed.
I remember the day that my father came home and announced that he had quit his job and was going to stay home and study for 6 months to become a stockbroker. I was in high school and I watched the process unfold. At that time he took his role modeling to the next level. My father taught me never to be afraid to make a change. To jump off the edge of the cliff. To take a chance. Those lessons impact me every day.
A short list of things he loved, in no particular order. Lobster, sports (any and all), chicken wings at a Chinese buffet, salami, chopped liver, Vanna White, long walks, fresh air, a steam and shower at the YMCA, golf, winning at poker, singing.
I bought my dad a karaoke machine for his 93rd birthday this year. He used it a lot and his favorite tune was "My Way." He would belt it out and I quote: And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain. My friend I say it clear I'll state my case of which I'm certain. I've lived a life that's full, I've travelled each and every highway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way.
I may have lost the man but not the role model and strength of his influence. We will miss him and how he touched each of us in a different way that we will never forget.
For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels. The record shows, he took the blows, and did it his way.