Dad was so animated and happy today, I will try to always remember him like this. He was telling me about his friendship with Fred Astaire, which I am sure occurred only in his mind! How wonderful to believe such amazing things about yourself and your life. Really, he doesn’t need to be more amazing, Dad was always a fascinating person. He loved science, astronomy, metallurgy, believed in UFO’s, was a tap dancer in the 1940’s and 50’s, a WW2 veteran, all while looking like a movie star!
Sure, there have been times in my life when we could not stand to be in the same room together, and I often speak of his emotional abuse. However, that does not change the fact that he is an extraordinary human being in many ways. His family was from Sicily, they immigrated in the early 1900’s. They became fairly successful in the produce business, and eventually my Grandfather opened a ice cream parlor that morphed into a restaurant/billiard parlor, with a poker room in the back. My Dad and his brother, my Uncle Joe, were running the place as they grew up, hustling 9-ball, and “pill” pool, “chicago”, and straight pool.
Wow! Can Pops play some 9-ball. He comes from the old school, no safeties, no hiding the ball. Just flat out shoot-till-you-miss 9-ball. Dad must have been something when he was younger. I remember when my high school girlfriends would want to come to my house to see my father!!
“Oooo, your dad is soooo handsome…” with much batting of eyelashes.
I can’t imagine what Mom had to deal with. I know I was his daughter, and I suspected him of cheating all the time. I remember times when I would see him with ladies from his work, and they all seemed to be swooning! I was just a kid, so I wanted to puke! Today I realize that he could not help it, he has (or, had) that special quaility. Charisma. He makes you feel like you are part of some exciting mystery, or conspiracy.
Now he’s just nuts. But I sure love him. Even when I hate him, I still would cut my heart out with a butter knife for his approval. (sorry about the visuals there…)
About 10 years ago, when my Brother and Dad owned a Pool Hall together, the “young ladies” (as dad would call them- I have another name!) would come rushing up behind the bar squealing, “TONY!!!”, arms outstretched, ready to leap on his lap and topple the chair over.