|Wish this was in better condition. I love it.
He was not well-spoken, not well-read, but he understood completely his daughter's insatiable need for reading material. For a time, on most paydays (when there was a payday), he would surprise me with the very book I had been hinting for all week. When that wasn't possible, he would sit quietly at the public library while I searched the stacks for signs of magic.
He lived to be 78, a hard worker almost to the end. In his later years he became a notorious (and really, a hilarious) curmudgeon, but to nearly everybody but me. I don't remember him ever raising his voice to me. When I began dating, he was a nervous wreck but he left it to my mother to pass along his warnings. "Your dad says you need to be in before midnight. . ."
He was gruffer with my brothers, Mike and Chris, but there was never any doubt that he loved them both.
He loved his grandkids and always had some special surprise for them when they visited. He taught the other man in my life how to cook Italian. His Chicken Cacciatore has never been duplicated, but my husband's comes mighty close.
He was seven years older than my mother, but he outlived her by three years. She died eight months after they celebrated their 50th anniversary, and on that day he began to die. His days without her were sad enough that when he slipped into a fog and finally passed, it was with our blessing.
Today he would have been 99 years old. Even though he would have pretended otherwise, I think he would have liked that we noticed.