I last saw Uncle Andy a couple of Sundays ago in - of all places - Somerset Medical Center. Margaret and I popped up to visit him after my wife had spent a portion of her early Sunday morning with me in the Emergency Room....where I was treated for my poison ivy/Bubonic plague/whatever the hell my infection was (I never learned the answer and in fact stopped asking the question after Dr. Eisenberg fixed me up). Uncle Andy at least had a full-fledged, adult basis for being in the hospital. He had fallen in his home and injured himself.
We visited with him for quite a while that morning. My wife did what she does, which is to say she sat with Uncle Andy long enough to make sure that he ate the breakfast that had been brought for him. Of course he did - eating essentially every bit of food on the tray - all the while telling Margaret that he did not usually eat things such as french toast and bacon or drink coffee. Yet under the steadying influence of my wife, he ate and drank all of them.
My role in Uncle Andy's life was a limited one: whenever the family got together to go someplace (such as Uncle Sal's in Staten Island) I drove. Every time I drove him anywhere he made a point of complimenting me to anyone and everyone. Apparently - and perhaps courtesy of my inner Rain Man - I am an excellent driver. At least, that was Uncle Andy's belief. When I left his hospital room that morning, I told him that I would see him again soon. He told me that he looked forward to me driving him again. I told him I looked forward to it too.
Yesterday morning, it was my honor to serve as a pall bearer at Uncle Andy's funeral. And what position did I man as we carried Uncle Andy into the church prior to the service and out of the church thereafter? Front left of course. A tad difficult to drive from any other position in the vehicle....
Joe, his sister Connie and his brothers Sal and Andy taken at Sal's 80th birthday party in April.