I have been thinking a lot the past few days of what one gift dad gave me in my life. My thoughts always go back to family and food. For those who know me, you are well aware how much family and food are in my daily life. For dad it was the same. He loved his family. He was very devoted to every single family member. Not just mom, (for 67 years I will have you know), not just us kids or his grandchildren but his mom and dad and his siblings. He used to visit his parents and all of his siblings on a regular basis throughout the year, he tried almost weekly, up until he couldn’t anymore.
Holidays were filled with lots of food, family and fun. We would go to Grandpa Caruso’s, Aunt Bessie’s, or Uncle Mario’s for Christmas Eve and Christmas. Uncle Sammy’s home or Aunt Mary’s camp for the summer holidays. Thanksgiving was at our home. I always loved the excitement in our home getting ready for Thanksgiving. The big event was Mom and Dad cleaning the turkey the night before. They seemed like they really enjoyed doing that job together. Getting the basement set up with the tables, plates, and silverware. Loading up the refrigerator with soda and beer. Then the best part, the chalkboard. I am sure everyone remembers the chalk board and Dad’s fun comments he would write on there. I can vividly see him sitting at the table playing cards, laughing and having so much fun with his brother’s and sister’s. He loved those gatherings. They were very important to him.
Every Friday night after work he would make dinner. Peas and Macaroni was the popular dish. That was my favorite. Sometimes he would stop at Atlantic Seafood and get fish, scallops and fries, or even an occasional breakfast for dinner. We all enjoyed those meals. There was always a seat for any of our friends. He never turned anyone away. There was always enough food to go around, conversation and laughter. He made sure of that.
Fast forward to my home today and we have Pizza Fridays and dinner every Sunday. This is our tradition. Our kids come over and sometimes they bring a friend or two. I never turn them away and there is always enough food and fun for everyone.
I never really thought about where I got the tradition of family gatherings. I never thanked dad for this wonderful gift. The importance of family, a great meal and making room for anyone who pops in to our front door. It is a wonderful gift. I am very fortunate to have unwrapped it. Thanks, Dad. I love you. You will be missed but remembered every Friday and Sunday in my heart.