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This is the first year my dad isn’t with us.  A bit ironic because it’s also the year I am getting married. (I know it took me awhile.) Do I feel slighted? Hmm, depends I guess on which day I am asked. He wouldn’t of been able to walk me the down the aisle anyway because he had gotten early-stages Alzheimer’s. He was at the point where he didn’t even recognize anyone. I will say that I absolutely feel fortunate for the days, months and years I got to spend with him.  Yea he drove me nuts. I remember thinking how strict he was. I wasn’t allowed to go to sleep-overs. I was the only girl out of my friends that had to be home at like 10pm and wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend til I was like 21. (OK that part I am exaggerating a bit about).

He forever lives in my heart and even in my thoughts. Thinking about him makes me smile and brings me laughter.

There are always things we wished we DID say or regretted we DID’NT say, usually after one passes.  I hope that he knows how much I truly loved and love him but just in case…I decided to put together a list of my fondest memories. Hope my words are reaching you up in heaven.

REASONS WHY I LOVE MY DAD (BTW – This is the short, short list)

1. He always told me to “marry for love and not for money”.

2. He was proud of me when I graduated from college. He said I should have a good education and something to fall back on.

3. He taught me how to play foosball.

4. First person I saw dance the “Tarantella” was my dad.  He really knew how to work  a crowd. (For those of you who don’t know what the Tarantella is here is a video to give u an idea.)

5. He bought my my first record albums, Donna Summer’s “On the Radio” & The Village People’s “Macho Man”.

6. He bought me my first pair of white leather roller skates with red wheels and red, glittery laces.

7. He would always invite people to stay with us.  Especially friends of friends from Italy who had no where to live.

8. He was an excellent cook who made the best shrimp scampi and baked clams.

9. He always made sure he hugged me and my sister.

10. He called Sylvester Stallone “Silver Sta – lo- neh” and Michael Jackson “Maca Johnson”. He had a very thick Calabrese-Italian accent.

11. He always made sure I had money in my pocket in case I had to call home.

12. He could care less about high-end brands or expensive things. The least superficial man I knew. Things like having a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs were more significant.

13. He taught me and my sis to love each other no matter what. We are the best of friends.

14. He always felt guilty after yelling at me.

15. And of course the way we all remember him is how he made everyone laugh and was the life of the party. He did the best re-enactments and had the best stories that usually involved him getting into and out of all sorts of trouble.

—So all you dads and future dads out there remember that you do make impressions on your kids. You may think that we don’t remember things you teach or say to us, but trust me we remember all the special things. Oh and adding a little humor into your kid’s upbringing doesn’t hurt either.

Happy Father’s Day!

#ReasonsIlovemydad

This Travel Tuesday, I am presenting my “Hey-Mambo-Italiano-Pizza-Making Cousin”, Marina Pulice.  I love my Italian heritage, correction my Calabrese heritage. So many different recipes and cooking techniques to share. Not to mention all the traditions and customs that we keep in our family.

All you Calabraise do the mambo like a crazy!