Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Rock of Giuseppe

And I stood arrow straight
Unencumbered by the weight
Of all these hustlers and their schemes
I stood proud, I stood tall
High above it all
I still believed in my dreams....
-Bob Seger
Life is a Journey - not a Destination.  If it was possible to predict in the cradle the course and trajectory of the path we would walk from that point forward to the grave, then maybe psychics would be able to get face time on network news shows and not solely on CNN.  Maybe.  Of course, it is not. 

The richness of a man can be measured in a number of ways I suppose.  Financial wealth is one measurement of course - but not the sole determining factor.  I would surmise that one's richness is better measured by the lives affected by that individual and the depth of that affection.  By such a measurement, my father-in-law Joseph Bozzomo may well be the richest man in town.  Today is Joe's birthday:  81 years young.  Happy Birthday Giuseppe.

Joe's Retirement Party - Nov. 2013

Had my father-in-law decided to simply cash out at any point in the game these past few years, it would have been hard to find fault with him for doing so.  In the past six years he has buried his mother-in-law, two older brothers and his older sister.  Worse yet, we are rapidly approaching the fifth anniversary of the death of his wife - the incredible Suzy B.  She was his everything. 

And yet in this - what he declares himself to be the "final quarter" of his life - he has not receded from view.  He has not gone gentle into that good night.  He has lived his life. 

Joe & his new bicycle:  Christmas Morning 2009

He has embraced his children. 

Margaret, Frank & Joe singing Xmas Eve 2013

And his grandchildren as well. 

Suzanne & Joe at Meg/Adam's Wedding '09

Joe and Nicole Christmas Eve 2010

Rob & Joe at Colorado State University 2012

He has overseen the expansion of the "family business" to include great-grandchildren.  He has borne witness to the weddings of three of his grandchildren to date with Rob and Jess on deck in the #4 hole this June.  He has been to places he had never been in the first seven and one-half decades of his life, including Washington DC, Wyoming, Colorado and just this past month the Bahamas.  

Joe at Lucaya Marketplace on
Grand Bahama Island Feb. 2014

It is not a stretch to say that the past half-decade or so has not proceeded according to Giuseppe's master plan.  When he and Suzy B said "I Do" on that February day a lifetime ago, he could not have fully appreciated the solemnity of the vow that harped on "'Til Death Do Us Part".  When you are young and in love on your wedding day, no one does.  Death is a million miles and a thousand years away - a consideration for another date and another time.  Once that time arrives, one has to decide what to do.  There are but two choices:  Fold Up or Stay Strong.  He chose the latter and it has made all of the difference.   

Where does one get the grit and the determination to stay strong and keep going forward when one's Life partner is taken from him?  I know not.  I live in dread of having to learn the answer to that question myself one day.  But in the case of my father-in-law, maybe just maybe the source of his strength flows from the music of a long-ago carousel and a summer's night on the Boardwalk.  For he could not have gotten here had he not first passed through that point in time.  Everything and everyone he needed is there - all together in one photograph.  Frank safely ensconced in his father's arms while Suzy B sits beaming beneath him, carrying the precious cargo that would one day be my wife in her belly. 

Joe, Frank, Suzy B & Margaret
Summer of '62

Happy Birthday Giuseppe.  It has been my pleasure and privilege to have shared the past two-plus decades of this ride with you.  It has been one hell of a trip thus far. 

And sometimes late at night
When I'm bathed in the firelight
The moon comes callin' a ghostly white
And I recall
I recall....


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