“What are you doing?” I said to my dad.
We were talking outside his home, and out of nowhere, he had come to a complete stop, snapped to attention and saluted the volunteer patrol car as it made its daily rounds.
“They’re pretend cops,” he said with his smile. “I figured I would give them a pretend salute.”
That was my dad. He’s gone now but (as always) I think of him; especially with Father’s Day occurring this month.
In his own way, my dad taught me about life, love and the meaning of family. He was my role model and there surely can be no higher tribute or compliment in honoring a person, than to try and imitate him.
Growing up in the Bronx, he taught me to play ball in Little League. He was my coach and I cannot imagine a better childhood event while growing up.
He made me appreciate that, whether going to Shea Stadium to see the Mets or watching them on TV, the best seats of the house were always those when I sat next to him.
He taught me kindness, respect and that there were those certain words – certain expressions that could be said only during a football game when his (and now my) New York Giants were playing.
My dad made it very clear that such language was allowed – if not mandated, when our team screwed up. And believe me, while growing up (and even to this day) they screwed up a lot.
Such “tradition” has passed on to a new generation - my four sons. I cannot begin to describe how horrified my Rana was when she first heard, and then realized, that such choice of phrases among her significant other and “children” was not only tolerated, but expected.
While it may not have been some Norman Rockwell “father-son” (and also grandsons) portrait, I ask you: Where else in the world would any son/grandson want to be on a Sunday afternoon?
My dad also showed me how to be a loving, caring husband and he proudly did so by example.
And while I have written a good deal about my failings, shortcomings, and downright stupidity, my Amy never faulted me, and neither can my new Ladylove as to my devotion and respect that I always had and have for my life partner.
Perhaps now you can understand Rana’s consternation when the community patrol car drove by when we were unpacking groceries from our driveway last month. While in mid-sentence and with a tear in my eye, but a smile on my face, I placed the bundles on the ground, stood tall and saluted the patrol car.
“Like father, like son,” she said incredulously. It was the nicest thing she ever said about me.