By Paul M. Bangiola
Wednesday was the eighth anniversary of my father’s death. That morning, Aunt Cecelia, age 96, called to remind me of a Mass in his memory at St. Christopher’s. I asked if she needed a ride, she said no, she’d meet me (she still drives). So my Dad was on my mind.
Walked to my office across the yard when one of the other lawyers in my office stopped me in the parking lot as I was just arriving and asked if there was any chance I had a pressure gauge. You know, for checking car tire pressure.
I smiled. “On me?”
He laughed and said no, of course not, but maybe back at the house, back across the yard.
I pictured myself ripping apart my house and car looking for a pressure gauge. I attempted subtlety and nonchalantly suggested a gas station two blocks away could help with both checking the pressure and inflating the tire if needed.
And, besides, I added, it didn’t look flat to me. He quickly retreated.”No problem.” Phew!
I went into the office, said hello to Kate “The Great” Connolly, my secretary, and started work at my desk.
For some reason I turned my attention to my father’s old rolltop desk which I also keep in my office. My Dad built the desk himself. I never emptied it of his personal effects. It makes my office a little crowded, but I just like it where it is anyway.
I smiled as I thought of the miscellaneous items (junk) he kept in the center drawer. Letter openers, ticket stubs, an old slide rule, nail clippers (toe clipper too!), X-acto knife, and a Loyola Retreat House manual. Even some old Brendan Byrne political buttons. Haven’t looked in that drawer for a couple of years.
Anyway, on impulse, I got up, checked the drawer.
Yup, tire gauge. Told Bob, the lawyer, I could help him after all. My Dad would have loved that.
Went to the Mass for my Dad with Aunt Cecelia as planned and told her the story afterwards. We both had the same reaction:
Hello to you too, Pop.
Paul M. Bangiola is a Morristown resident and lawyer practicing on Franklin Street. He is a former Morris County Democratic Chairman, municipal prosecutor, and a New Jersey representative in the Electoral College.