Monday, May 23, 2011


I lost a dear friend last week. His name was Norman, and he was my father-in-law, but to me he will always be Papa D.

It was very sudden and unexpected, but it was also without fear, suffering, or indignity.

He was a great man, full of life and history, strength and resolve. A man of boundless compassion and infinite mirth. A Superman.

He was the type of guy who asked "What are your intentions with my daughter", and meant it. The type of guy who if he could not find a word to describe something he invented a completely new word, often a hybrid of several known words.

Years of hard work and hockey had forged a physique capable of kicking sand in Charles Atlas' face. Even in his twilight years he was possessed of what I called Old Man Strength. When he was 75 he helped me remove a stubborn tree by ripping it out by its roots. With one hand. He was a marvel.

He never threw anything out because everything had a use, and anything could be repaired with an old hockey stick, from banjos to barbecues. He only paid $2.50 for a haircut, but would come home from George the Barbers with only one side of his hair cut because he was generous to a fault and didn't want to hurt George's feelings by commenting on the unfinished work.

To the best of my knowledge he only owned 3 shirts.

We used to make each other roar with laughter. Not a fleeting or polite chuckle, but the deep down full body belly laugh that brings tears to your eyes. All of his stories involved characters from his youth that had names like Stinky and Butch, and I knew if we had known each other back then we'd have been fast friends.

If he were here right now I'd thank him for everything he has given me: nothing but good memories, laughter, and most of all my wife, his daughter, and for that I am eternally grateful.

He was just a really good guy.

I'll miss you Papa D.

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