Top 5 Memories of My Father

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On May 23rd, 1942 my father was born to a Police officer and a homemaker from Philadelphia. Last Monday was the first birthday where I can't call my father and wish him a happy birthday. Instead I will just pay homage to him with my top five memories of him.

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Happy Birthday, Dad.

1. "You can't push daddy down" One of my father's games with his kids was basically us trying to tackle and knock him over while he was sitting on the carpet. Imagine if you will, about 4 children ranging from ages 3 (me), 6 (my brother) and two twin 9 year old girls running full speed at their father from various angles, trying to knock him over - like a bunch of mini-Philadelphia Eagles trying to tackle a lineman. Each time we failed, he would sing, "You can't push daddy down, you can't push daddy down...". As most of us know, any rhythmic mocking song drives most people under the age of 53 insane with anger. All the kids would be going bonkers in about 5 minutes trying to knock their seated father over, eventually he would have to let us win before we started to use kitchen knives. It was like Sesame Street meets Gymkata after a while.

2. "Villanova acceptance letter" - I was working at Oak Terrace Golf club during the summer of 1989 - I was the bag drop boy (trust me this was a cake job that I made decent money). One day, while I was clearing golf balls from the driving range I see him driving out towards me on a golf cart. My first thought was that something was wrong or that I was in trouble. He said, "You are going to want to read this..." and it was a letter from Villanova University. It was a proud moment for both of us, I worked very hard to get into Villanova and he was very happy for me (before he got the bill from the university). Had I not gotten into Villanova, I would have gone to LaSalle University - I wonder how different my life may have been.

3. "Family Vacations" - We would laugh later in life about his tendancy to be very meticulous about vacations. If we were going to Disney World - he had a plan. Wake up at 7am. Get to the park before it opened. Get to the fun, popular rides first. Do the less popular rides later. Eat lunch at 1300 hours. Go back to hotel and have the kids take a nap. Wash up - go to dinner at 1800. Etc. Looking back, it was a bit much - but we admit now he was very smart about it. It was part of his nature to be as efficient as possible.

4. "Furey Family Vacation" - Dad visited Italy with my sister, brother in-law and my mother. It was a bittersweet story, and I will have to sit and write it. The best part of the story was our trip from Vietre Di Potenza to the Amalfi Coast. My father drove the rental car to Sorrento, with me in the passenger seat as the navigator and my mother in the backseat sleeping. We get to the outskirts of the town, which is situated at the base of large, steep cliffs around the Mediterranean Sea. There is only one road in, and we arrive on a Friday night. The road is absolutely jammed with cars beeping and honking and lots of people yelling in Italian. My father was an aggressive driver and tried to work his way in, and people are beeping at him and shouting in Italian. So what does he do? He rolls down his window, and shouts back. In Fake Italian. Yes, siree. My father, not knowing ANY ITALIAN, decides that he is going to yell back at them in something that SOUNDS LIKE ITALIAN - but it was jibberish! At the time my Italian was much better, and I turned to him after he yelled and said, "What the hell was that?!" He looked at me, smirked/smiled and said "It sounded pretty good, didn't it?". Makes me smile even to type this - its one of those feel good moments that you never forget. We laughed the whole way down to the coastal town.

5. "76ers Games"- When my father was a partner in an accounting firm in Philadelphia, he used to work for the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers. Being a kid, I was oblivious to this and had no real grasp of reality - especially when my father would take my brother and I to 76er games - with FLOOR SEATS. I used to think it was NORMAL to sit on the floor of the game, and see the players from 10 feet away. A few times we were in the box seats of the owner of the 76ers. As a kid, you don't think much of it. I remember driving him crazy because of my insane food requests - I still do it today. Go with me to any sporting event and I turn into a monster - peanuts, pretzels, ice cream, soda...I remember he used to own a Dodge Omni with a hatchback. We would bring our sleeping backs, and sleep in the hatchback on the ride home from the Spectrum to Bucks County. He would always listen to the KYW News Radio 1060, while I stared at the stars from the hatchback.

3 Comments

Truly great memories. Thanks so much for rekindling them :)

Hey, I just happened upon your site and ran across the story about your Dad. I loved reading it, even though I didn't know your Dad. He sounds like he was a great man and even a better dad. Once you have children of your own, you can hopefully relive all those great memories. Thanks for sharing them.
Sue

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my Dad's death.
He was buried overseas, and I visited his grave a couple of weeks ago for the first time since his funeral. I've been a bit messed up in the head since.
People say all sorts of stuff to those who have suffered a loss, but there really are no words to cover it.
Last year I wanted to express my sympathy to you when your Dad died shortly after mine. I knew, however, everytime someone came up to me and said "I'm sorry about your loss" I'd just get upset again. I didn't want to do that to someone else.
I guess all I did want to do was to send some prayers your way then and now, and wish for you to have the strength to handle the anniversary mark with more grace and fortitude than I have.
-siren

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on May 25, 2005 9:32 AM.

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