“My Fabulous Father” – Excerpts from the runners-up

The Daily Gazette received plenty of great stories about dear old Dad. We couldn’t use all of them,

The Daily Gazette received plenty of great stories about dear old Dad.

We couldn’t use all of them, but with such a wealth of memories, we are printing some excerpts from the nonwinners.

“All I have to do is cook some garlic in olive oil and the memories come flooding in. His home always smelled so good, like he was cooking dinner. And every time I’m in the kitchen making some of his favorite foods, I can sense him nearby, telling me to add some more pepper, put in the basil.” – Joan Leonardo Monda of Rotterdam Junction, on father Frankie Leonardo

“My dad is my hero because he protects our family and our country. He is a generous man who looks out for others. When I was a baby, my daddy would sing the Marine Corps hymn and now I am 10 years old and he still sings it to me along with the Army song.” – Kaleb Hoy of Schenectady, on father Don Tallman

“My dad was an Irishman from County Cork. He came over to the United States and worked as a barber in New York City. When World War II broke out, he served in the Navy and earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. He was just out of the Navy when he met my mom in New York City at a New Year’s Eve party. They got married three months later when he was 34. This is when the Irish bachelor turned into a family man. He ended up having nine children and moving to a farm in Duanesburg. He was a funny, gentle and humble man. He never lost his temper, and he always listened. Though he held two jobs and worked five days from 9 to 9 and one day from 6 to 9, he always had time for each one of us. I think that was his greatest gift to me.” – Marie Drislane of Rotterdam, on father John Burke

In February of 2002, I’d finished my radiation treatment for cancer. Come that May, I was still very weak and depressed. My father, Fred Malone, an experienced bike rider, talked me into joining him on his rides. I was slow to start out but he would not let me quit, for he was set on getting me well and stronger. I slowly did become stronger, able to ride those 40-mile rides with him, and I also became cancer-free.” – Sherry Haake of Schenectady, on father Fred Malone

“He couldn’t read music. He didn’t graduate from high school. He could, however, play ‘Red River Valley’ on any instrument you could hand to him — guitar, banjo, mandolin, Appalachian dulcimer, jaw harp, harmonica, you name it — and ‘Red River Valley’ would come back at you. When I was 4 years old, I made my singing debut at a family reunion singing ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart.’ My father was pleased as punch that I was singing for his family, singing ‘his’ music.” – Wanda Fischer of Guilderland, on father Giles “Red” Adams

“My brother and his father shared a sense of competitiveness as most men do. My father wanted his son to know that his old man had not lost it yet. One day, they were working on an engine for an ice cream truck and my father had connected some wires to start the truck up. This happened after numerous tries to get the truck working. My brother said to our father, ‘You don’t think that that is going to work, do you?’ My brother proceeded to fire up the truck. My father started to laugh and said, ‘Use that on my epitaph when I die.’ Today, he has that phrase on his gravestone in Schenectady Memorial Park. He had the last laugh.” – Susan Kaplan of Schenectady, on father Elmer Collis

Categories: Life and Arts

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