PAPÀ

Dad and I circa 1972.

Dad and I circa 1972.

Sweet, old dad. He was 88 when he passed away. I came home from graduating Middlebury College in Oakland Califonia to find him in Hospice care. I sensed it was coming before I left for Italy, September 2013 because he had already been in and out of the hospital and nursing home with pneumonia. I was afraid he'd pass while I was away, but I like to think he waited for me to come home. His last three weeks, I was fortunate to be with him, spoon-feeding him water and interpreting his needs for the nurses; it was hard to see such a strong man, in will and in body, be reduced to skin and bones. My dear dad died on Labor Day, 2014 and I read the eulogy. What stood out for me were his hands - he used them to work as a cobbler and a machinist, having immigrated here from Italy, and raised a successful family. He loved playing the Italian card game Scopa with his friends, and finally with me, in the nursing home. My favorite memories of him are as a child, when he would take my friends and I to Applegate Farm for ice cream; he'd order banana ice cream on a sugar cone and let me splurge on rainbow sprinkles. Since his passing, I periodically return to our favorite local ice cream spot to get banana in his honor, and top it with rainbow sprinkles, the perfect combination. Grazie, papà.