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Like most dads, ours knew everything. Really. Just ask the question and you’d have an answer. No, THE answer.

“How come some guys don’t have hair on top of their heads? They only have frames around the sides.”

Well, their heads grew so much they pushed out of their hair.

Oh.

“What does blood taste like?”

Peaches.

Hmmmmm…..

Da….I always called him Da….was the one who taught us great words, like GAZONKSHTAHIGGIN and GESHICKTISS. Translation: thingamajig and yicky, as in “What’s that gazonkshtahiggin in your hand? You’re getting all geshicktiss.”

Da made the best Christmases ever. Christmas started early and ended, reluctantly, after New Year’s. He read the stories and listened to the carols on our little record player with us and always found the best tree.

He was the ruler of a magical empire of model trains, where on state occasions we were invited to enter and watch…..not touch…..the trains that ran round tracks that wound behind the stairs and up the walls and all over the old cellar where he spent so much time creating his masterpieces.

Da was in The War. Everybody was, back then. It was something that had to be done and that was that.

The thing we never expected was that Da would be our only parent for more than forty years. I know he never expected it. Mom suddenly wasn’t there anymore and it was him and four kids, two teenagers and two not even in school yet. It was numbing. For all of us.

But we all kept moving, not always confidently or even on the right foot. That’s how it was.

He was a father, grandfather and great grandfather. He came to graduations and weddings. He sat in a hospital room while his grandson battled a catastrophic illness and conspired with his great grandson to squash Easter peeps–those awful marshmallow chicks–in his chubby little hands. Geshicktiss!

I thought of blogging on Da because I just realized he’s been gone almost ten years. We thought he would be with us forever. It seemed like he was.

It seems like he is.

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