Friday, March 27, 2015

And Not In A Shy Way...

My father-in-law, Joseph Bozzomo, is a force of nature.  

Joe - Lucaya Marketplace, 2014

Today, he is eighty-two years old.  

"Giusep" (as I - and only I - call him - my homage to his given name of Giuseppe) is a remarkable man.  He is as comfortable in his own skin as any human being whose acquaintance it has ever been my pleasure to make.  Much like Horton, he says what he means and he means what he says.  Every now and then, what he says gives you pause to scratch your head or reach for an adult beverage.  But that only happens every now and then and when it does - and someone calls him on it - he acknowledges it and laughs it off.   

Joe's Retirement Party, November 2013

I describe him as a simple man.  I mean that as the highest of compliments.  I do not mean "simple" intellectually, emotionally or mentally.  I mean "simple" as in "straightforward, no-nonsense, easy to read".  His family is for him now - as it has been for the close to three decades that I have known him - the single-most important part of his life.  If and when a member of his family does something with which he disagrees or something that disappoints him, he is not shy about making his feelings known - including sharing his belief that a better effort should have been made.  But those feelings are transient.  Those moments are fleeting.  At day's dawning and at day's end, his tribe is his tribe.  They belong to him.  His willingness to protect them, both from themselves and from the outside world, never wanes.  It never ebbs.  The Poet Laureate of Freehold sings of taking care of our own.  Giusep lives his life by that code of conduct.  

He has been forced, during what he sometimes jokingly refers to as his golden years, to soldier on alone.  Suzy B., his wife, Margaret's mother and my mother-in-law died on June 2, 2009 after a long, brutal battle against cancer.  Her loss took a lot out of him.  It did so for any number of reasons, not the least of which was that he was powerless to stop what was happening to her from happening to her.  The feeling of impotence that washed over him was as powerful as it was misplaced.  He felt - ridiculous as it sounds and as it is - as if he had let her down.  

I have never asked him about it, as it is not my place to do so, but every now and then when he tells a story about her and about something they did during their life together, a small yet palpable tinge of sorrow is detectable in his eyes.  I reckon that even if today's birthday marks nothing further up the track than the halfway mark that small tinge of sorrow shall always remain.

But it shall never grow beyond its present size.  Its growth is stunted permanently and irrevocably by the memory of the love that joined the two of them in the first place...

Summer of '62

...and all that happened simply because two people fell in love.  

Their children... 

Christmas Eve 2013

Meg/Adam's Wedding, June 2009

Florida, February 2013

Their grandchildren...

Christmas Eve 2010 

Fort Collins, Colorado November 2012

 Meg/Adam's Wedding, June 2009

...and their great-grandchildren.

Christmas Eve, 2013

Happy Birthday Giusep.  Keep on wishing big and keep on doing things in the only manner that you know how...



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