Tags Posts tagged with "Father’s Day"

Father’s Day

METRO photo

TBR News Media editorial staff share memories of their dads and other special people for Father’s Day.

Rita Egan — Editor

As someone whose parents separated when she was 9 years old and moved in with her grandparents, I’m an example of a village raising a child. From an early age, I realized that relatives and even friends’ parents can play a role in a young person’s life.

I was fortunate that my new friends and their parents made my transition to life in Smithtown an easier one. There were the Irvolinos, the D’Agostinos, Mrs. Naseem, and later in high school, the Juans, the DeNobregas and the Castros who always made me feel welcome in their homes, even at family gatherings. I frequently was in the Irvolinos’ pool and on their boat. The D’Agostinos introduced me to the beauty of Head of the River and would take me with the family to the Jersey Shore. And of course, there were the rides many parents gave me when it was too dark for my grandfather to drive.

One day on Fire Island, my friend Nancy and I were knocked down by a huge wave. One second I’m hitting my head against something hard, and the next I was grabbed out of the water by Mr. Irvolino. He had me in his right hand and Nancy in his left. I will be forever grateful for my village. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and a belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, too.

Kyle Barr — Editor

When my parents call me on the weekend, we can go through the platitudes of normal life: How is your job, how’s Long Island, how’s your brother?

Dad, you can make comments about how I continue to leave my room a FEMA-designated disaster area. You can talk about my habits of leaving my clothing in the laundry bin after washing them instead of putting it in drawers.

Then we can get into the heavier stuff of national politics and local happenings. We can talk about the issues, and I can get angry and you can deflect. And I can’t seem to stop and ask you how you’re really doing.

You moved away, and I hope you’re doing OK. I hope the pandemic and quarantine has not made you so reclusive you can’t talk to anybody except mom’s parents. I hope the days you spend in retirement allow you to explore things you haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to.

I can ask only so much of you. I can ask you to be patient until I find time to see you. Until then, I can enjoy those platitudes and our conversations.

 David Luces — Reporter

When it comes to Father’s Day, I immediately think of my uncle and my late grandpa, two men I’ve been lucky to have in my life. As a young kid, they were a constant fixture, always there to lend me encouragement and support. Whether it was a Little League baseball game or a band recital, they were there. Sometimes, it would just be us slouched on the couch spending hours watching a Knicks game or WWE professional wrestling. My younger self didn’t know any better, but now looking back I think the one thing I take away from those experiences is to be present and to enjoy those moments with the people you love.

My grandpa passed away before he could see me graduate high school and college, though I know he would be proud of my accomplishments and the person I’ve become. My uncle and family have played a big part in that.

So when I think of this Father’s Day, I think of spending time with my uncle, maybe having a couple of beers and reminiscing of past times with my grandpa. But most importantly, we’ll be with family to make new memories together.

METRO photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

As we approach Father’s Day, I can’t help thinking that the creators of the alphabet hid important lessons in plain sight when they put the letters “n” and “o” between the letters “m” and “p.”

The letter “m” starts the Latin word “mater,” which means mother. The letter “p” starts the word
“pater,” which, also in Latin, means father.

Between mom and dad, then, resides the simple,
effective and important word “no.”

Parents who aren’t on the same page about decisions will find children who don’t believe a “no” ever means anything because they will run to the other parent to find someone who will render a “no” from the former parent meaningless.

Parents need the word “no” to unite them, bringing together the “m” and “p” that makes it possible to provide consistent parenting advice. When a “no” from dad is also a “no” from mom, children can’t divide and conquer with their parents.

Now, valuing and appreciating the word “no” doesn’t necessarily mean parents should say “no” to everything. In fact, when mom and dad agree on something for their children, they can and should celebrate the opportunities they urge their progeny to pursue.

When our children were young, we found ourselves falling into the repeated “no” pattern, mostly to protect our children. “Don’t go in the street, don’t put that toy in your mouth, don’t grab that dog’s tail, etc.” While all of those rules are valid and valuable, they also can create a culture of “no” that constantly reminds children of their limitations, giving them the equivalent of a Greek chorus of “no” that follows them around, preventing them from exploring the world or from considering opportunities and risks worth taking because they expect a giant “NO!” sign to appear in their closet, under their bed, at the entrance to their classroom or in the backyard.

My wife and I put considerable energy into redirecting our children, rather than giving them a negative answer. We suggested alternatives to their suggestion or even, at times, a compromise answer that wasn’t a negative so much as it was a reshaping of an impulse.

On an elemental level, the letters “n” and “o” also seem so apt for the world between mom and dad. After all, N for nitrogen represents 78 percent of the atmosphere while O for oxygen represents 21 percent, which means that, between the letter placeholder for mom and dad resides the letters for 99 percent of the atmosphere of the earth.

The elements nitrogen and oxygen also, like some families, exist in paired form as molecules instead of single elements. These molecules float around in the atmosphere as a duo, with a strong covalent bond keeping the orbiting electron shells full.

For children, saying “no” to their parents starts early as a way to fight back against the world of “no” while they drift into the world of the terrible twos or, in our children’s case, the threadbare threes. When these children are caught between their mother and father, they may find that their only defense against a disagreeable world is to hold up their own “no” shield.

That small word, however, is important to change the world as well, because children who can defend their “no” answer to parents can also refuse to accept problems they see in the world. Instead, they can defy policies or ideas that rankle them. Saying “no” to anything aids cognitive development and, as it turns out, is good preparation for parenting. It has to be true because it’s right there, hidden in place sight, in the alphabet.

Photo from METRO

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Sunday is Father’s Day. When I think of my father, one of the most immediate memories I have of him is of his telling us stories. He loved to talk about his childhood days growing up on a dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. One of nine children, he distinguished himself with his claim as “the middle child,” and made his adventures sound daring and riveting. Somehow he and his siblings always survived, always came through relatively unscathed. And the conclusions to the stories were inevitably happy ones.

For example, there was the time the six boys climbed to the peak of the hill behind their farmhouse, arranged themselves onto an oversized sled and careened down on the hard-packed snow. It was great fun until they saw a train in the distance coming along the track at the bottom of the mountain. Their oldest brother, sitting in the front, quickly calculated the speed of the sled and the speed of the train and shouted a command to those behind him: “Jump off to the left when I count to three.” They obeyed and huddled together watching, as down below the rushing train crushed the sled crossing in its path.

Then there was the day my dad and a couple of his schoolmates climbed atop the one-room schoolhouse roof and jumped down in front of their young teacher just as she was arriving for the day. She screamed, which was satisfying to his buddies, but my dad also screamed as, barefoot, he landed on a glass shard. His father, who was of necessity the “emergency room doctor” for his family, isolated as they were in the rural farmland, stitched his foot and spooked him by saying that he would bear the scar of that misadventure “all the rest of his life.” To my young father, that sounded more ominous than the pain of his sole being sewn up. If we begged, he would show us the jagged scar, evidence of his exciting youth.

What would he say about living through the present pandemic? It still feels like a dream, this novel coronavirus, from which we will shortly awake. I pinch myself, but I know I am not dreaming. For sure these times require daring just to go shopping in the supermarket, and judging by the amount of media coverage, are also riveting.

For many, sheltering in place has proven to be most difficult. Those who like to be in motion constantly are now restrained to their few rooms and a daily walk. Relationships with spouses or others sharing the house or apartment may have become strained to the breaking point. In Wuhan, China, made famous as the origin of COVID-19 for example, suits for divorce have increased appreciably compared to the preceding year. There has been an uptick in the use of alcohol and drugs in the U.S. by those feeling isolated or lonely or simply in limbo from their normal lives. Depression is an increasing complaint.

Yet others, at the same time, have found the pandemic a time for reevaluation of their lives. They have slowed down from their frenetic pace, deepened relationships with partners and children and colleagues, and if they have been fortunate enough not to have anyone fall ill, and to keep their jobs, perhaps have seen a new way occasionally to work: remotely from home or elsewhere in the world. They have probably saved some money by not venturing out to shop, dine or vacation and have maybe enjoyed some healthy home cooking.

There is a better prospect ahead. After all, we are in Phase Two now. It appears that Phase Three is on the immediate horizon. By wearing masks in public, practicing social distancing and avoiding crowded indoor settings, and by sheltering those who would be most vulnerable, we seem now to be co-existing with the virus, at least until a vaccine becomes available or sufficient herd immunity evolves.

How would my dad tell this story? I believe he would share his experience as a great adventure, even as he would hold up his scar.

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Jim Soviero in front of his grandparents’ store with his father. Photo from Jim Soviero

By Jim Soviero

My father, Salvatore (Sam) Soviero, was a loving, devoted husband, father and son. A robust, upbeat man, born in 1914 to Italian immigrants Vincenzo and Louise Soviero, Dad’s life by today’s standards was a tough one. Beginning at a very young age, he caddied, worked construction, ground the grapes for wine and wound up boxing to “put money on the table.”

Given his extraordinary success as an adult, Dad rightly figured it would be smart to raise his son in pretty much the same way he was raised. Dramatic global changes notwithstanding, Salvatore would follow two basic principles: he’d set a good example and enforce firm limits.

Sam lived an exemplary life. He was a man of great integrity who worked tirelessly to support his family.

One of his most poignant lessons on “doing the right thing” came while he and I were going through some of his old fight posters. Sammy was a very good light heavyweight who had trained at Stillman’s Gym with top fighters of the day. Pointing to one opponent, Dad said, “That guy cost me a shot at a big fight.” When I mentioned not recalling him losing to “that guy,” my father looked down, before quietly saying, “I didn’t.”

At his beloved bride Dorothy’s insistence, and during the height of the Depression, Sal became a welder. After my older sister was born, he’d make extra money by working nights and clamming during the day. When we grew out of our tiny two-bedroom bungalow in Huntington Station, he and his brother Joe began dismantling one of Grandpa’s old houses. Over the course of several years, that brick and timber was used to build our family a beautiful, spacious Cape Cod in Halesite.

Given that kind of legacy, when Dad interrupted what looked to be this 14-year-old’s summer fun at the beach with the news I’d begin caddying at the Crescent Club — and putting my earnings on the table — it seemed natural, even flattering.

But while trying to follow Dad’s best life lessons was important, following his rules proved to be equally important. One of the most difficult but critical decisions for parents is to judge when it’s necessary to cause their children short-term pain, in exchange for what Mom and Dad hope will be long-term benefits. My father had uncanny commonsense instincts that led him to set perfectly timed restraints on yours truly.

I, like virtually every 16-year-old boy, couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license. Dad, like most parents of a 16-year-old, knew the inherent risks. He responded proactively. My first moving violation meant Salvatore took my license for six months. An accident that was my fault cost me the car for a year.

Some disciplined teenage driving meant I’d lose neither the car nor my life. Around the same time, over roughly a two-year period, four classmates died in horrific auto accidents, devastating the lives of their families and friends.

Whether leading by example or setting firm limits, having Salvatore Soviero for my father was one of the greatest blessings any son could ever have asked for.

Thanks for everything, Dad.

Jim Soviero resides in East Setauket and is a former teacher in the Half Hollow Hills Central School District who renovated and built houses part-time just like his father.

Rita J. Egan — Editor

On occasions like Father’s Day, my thoughts turn not only to my dad, but also to his parents and my uncles. My father passed away in 2004, and I always picture him reunited with his parents. Ten years ago, his brother, my Uncle John, died and a few years later my Uncle Jimmy. I often wonder if, after death, one gets to hang out with those they knew on Earth. I’d like to think they are talking about the old days in the Bronx and Astoria, hopefully with a few cold beers on hand. Most of all, I always hope that my grandparents know that my cousins and I benefited from their sacrifices — leaving Ireland when they were young adults to seek a better life. I also hope my father and uncles know how much they have influenced me and my cousins. For this, I carry them all in my heart. Happy Father’s Day in heaven to all of them. 

Kyle Barr — Editor

I didn’t know what to say to you the night you came home after learning your mother had passed away.

To be perfectly honest, she was never close to me, and it was hard for me to place my emotions, but I knew you were doing your best to deal with the shock and the grief. I saw you hop on a plane the very next morning after working nine hours the day before. I didn’t know how to say I’m sorry you went through that, and I know when I spoke to you on the phone, I must have sounded close to a narwhal trying to approximate human emotion.

But I saw how you were when you came back. You caught up with your sister. You had a new plan, and though you were leaving me to move into her old house, you could now say you were moving on.

You need to know how proud I am that you’re my dad.

David Luces — Reporter

On Father’s Day, I would like to highlight two father figures in my life growing up. One was my grandfather and the other my uncle. Both men were instrumental in my upbringing, and as a young man, they were individuals to whom I definitely looked up. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve been able to have with them as a kid, whether it’s going to my first Yankee game or hours of playing catch in the backyard.

My grandfather unfortunately passed away in 2012, but the lessons he taught me remain. His guidance over the years has molded me into the man I am today. The same could be said for my uncle, as he has always been there for me and continues to be. I’ve been lucky to have these two great men in my life. I want to thank them for everything — it has meant so much to me.

Leah Chiappino — Intern

Every time I turn on the car or reflect on the education I received, I have my dad to thank. The son of a mechanic and restaurant waitress, he fought to pull himself through college, working 80-hour weeks at Howard Johnson’s and attending classes at community college after working the graveyard shift, funded by his own pocket. A successful public servant, he has fueled my passion for politics, philosophy and sports my entire life. This Father’s Day, I will probably be debating one of these topics with Dad, who taught me to have an opinion on and to question everything.

Marinated Roast Pork Tenderloin

By Barbara Beltrami

There’s Dad, dear man, beer, martini or wine glass in one hand, fork, tongs or spatula in the other, standing in a rather large cloud of black smoke grilling our dinner. Nobody does it better. We know that and so does he, so how can we not let him do it almost every night? 

But on Fathers Day we have to draw the line. Even though he cooks those steaks to perfection, even though he’s got the magic formula for getting the chicken crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, we can’t have him slaving over a hot grill on his special day. Am I suggesting that we do the barbecuing? Of course not. We understand that the grill is his special territory. I’m just saying that we have to cook for him and pamper him so he knows how much we love him, the greatest grillmeister of all.

So what do we do? We make him a sumptuous but easy meal without the grill.  First we marinate a pork tenderloin for a few hours in the fridge, then remove it and cook it for a short time in the oven. Next we chill Dad’s drink(s) and park him in a lounge chair, microwave some enormous russet potatoes and we toss together a big salad with everything we can think of in it. Dessert has been made and frozen the night before, and we’re so organized that we can spend most of our time waiting on Dad hand and foot. After all, doesn’t he deserve it?

Marinated Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Marinated Roast Pork Tenderloin

INGREDIENTS:

One 2-pound pork tenderloin (they often come two in a package so you can cook one and freeze the other or cook both and use the second one for leftovers, sandwiches, etc.)

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1 tablespoon A-1 sauce

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

2 cloves garlic, minced

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: 

In a small bowl combine the vinegar, oil, mustard, A-1 sauce, tarragon, garlic, salt and pepper. Transfer to gallon-size re-closable plastic bag. Place tenderloin in a U-shape in bag, seal and turn bag in several directions to be sure all the meat is coated. Refrigerate in marinade at least two hours, open bag and rotate meat so all parts of it have a chance to soak in the marinade. Refrigerate one hour more.  

Preheat oven to 475 F. Place meat and marinade in a shallow roasting pan. Roast 25 minutes for pork that is slightly pink inside or 30 to 35 minutes for more well done. Let tenderloin rest for 15 minutes, then place on a cutting board and slice into 1-inch-thick rounds. Serve with baked potatoes with sour cream and/or butter.

The Everything Salad

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 head red leaf or green leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bite-size pieces

1 large tomato, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1 cup chopped fennel

4 radishes, washed, trimmed and sliced

4 scallions, washed, trimmed and sliced

6 frozen artichoke hearts, cooked and quartered

2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

1 medium fresh beet, peeled and shredded

1 cup cooked and sliced asparagus or string beans

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

¾ cup canned chick peas, washed and drained

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup good wine vinegar

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 handful basil leaves, chopped

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 

10 black olives, pitted and sliced

2/3 cup crumbled Roquefort, blue or goat cheese, crumbled

½ cup sunflower seeds

4 hard boiled eggs, sliced

DIRECTIONS: 

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tomato, green pepper, cucumber, fennel, radishes, scallions, artichoke hearts, carrots, beet, asparagus, green peas and chick peas; toss well. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Drizzle mixture over tossed veggies; toss again to coat evenly. Arrange or evenly distribute the basil, dill, olives, cheese, sunflower seeds and eggs on top. Serve immediately at room temperature with crusty bread and unsalted butter.


Frozen Banana Split Pie

YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings

INGREDIENTS:

6 to 8 brownies

1½ cups vanilla ice cream, softened

1½ cups chocolate ice cream, softened

1½ cups strawberry ice cream, softened

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1 large banana, sliced

1/3 cup chocolate syrup

2 cups sweetened whipped cream

DIRECTIONS: 

In a 9-inch pie plate, mash, crush and press brownies into bottom and sides. Spread the vanilla ice cream over the brownie crust, then repeat with chocolate ice cream and finally strawberry ice cream.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. When ready to serve, remove from freezer, uncover and spread sliced strawberries and bananas over top; let sit 10 to 15 minutes to soften. Drizzle chocolate syrup over top, then drop dollops of whipped cream over fruit and chocolate. 

When I think of my dad, I am reminded almost immediately of his loving nature and his playfulness. Now many dads I have met behave lovingly toward their families, so that is not what set mine apart. It was the other half of my description: His instant readiness to play and his aptitude for making up games on the spot.

My dad was an ambitious businessman, and he worked long hours every week. But Sundays were his day to relax and his unconstrained self would emerge. No wonder Sundays were my favorite day. He would begin the morning by getting up somewhere before 6 a.m., and start rustling around in the kitchen. The son of a farmer, he got up early all his childhood, and just because he moved to the city in his teens he wasn’t about to change the diurnal cycle that had been hardwired into him.

He was one of nine children and referred to himself when he was growing up as “Middle Child.” To hear his siblings tell of him, he was the one who routinely organized the pack into daily games in between their farm and school chores. Isolated on a large farm from other children and certainly without any municipal playgrounds in their lives, they created their own fun. That skill served him well not only for us, his children, but for the entire neighborhood. He was the undisputed Pied Piper wherever we were on any given Sunday.

Sundays belonged to my mother. My dad made sure of that. He would concoct a huge breakfast that was never the same from one week to the next. Into a dozen eggs, he would toss whatever leftovers he could find from the fridge, cook the mixture slowly with generous amounts of onions and other veggies and “mystery spices” and present the masterpiece to the salivating family gathered around the kitchen table. I always tried to sleep in on Sundays, but the marvelous smells that filled the apartment unfailingly coaxed me out of bed. Only my mother was impervious and slept through the ruckus of our trying to identify the ingredients as we ate.

My dad would then take us out to the park — Central Park that is — and we would roam over hills and dells, always yodeling in the many tunnels along the pathways. The echoes were hugely satisfying. He would set a rock on top of a boulder, give us each five small stones, and ask us to knock the rock off the boulder from 10 paces.

We’d have a vague destination within the park each Sunday, anywhere from the carousel to the rowboat lake, to Shakespeare Garden to Sheep Meadow with its multitude of baseball games in progress. He was good at pitching horseshoes, and as we strolled by the quoits section the men would offer him a turn. If we had thought to bring a basketball, we might shoot some baskets on the courts.

When the weather was bad, we would wander through the Metropolitan Museum.

Wherever we went, regulars in the park usually recognized us because my younger sister had Down syndrome, a condition that was almost never seen in public places. We stood out, I guess, and my sister, who loved to watch the baseball games and came to know some of the adult players by name, would cheer loudly with each solid hit.

As the day wore on, my dad would buy a box of Cracker Jacks from a park vendor and we would share the contents. By the end of the afternoon, we would head to a predetermined grove of trees where my mother would be waiting on a blanket with supper. I remember how happy my parents were to see each other — you would have thought they had been separated for weeks. Maybe it was just the prospect of some homemade dinner that sealed the day with joy for all of us.

By Bob Lipinski

Barbecues are great and so is watching baseball on Father’s Day. However, as the day heats up, I enjoy a libation that brings me peace of mind, helps me relax and makes MY day special. I’m talking about some California chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, followed by a glass of cognac after dinner.

“The land itself chooses the crop that suits it best.” Hugh Johnson

I recently had the opportunity to taste a few wines from the J. Lohr Winery in Monterey, California. Jerry “J” Lohr started the winery back in 1974 after a meticulous search of the Arroyo Seco region, an ideal site for grapes due to its long growing season. In 1986, Jerry purchased property in Paso Robles, a favored area for big full-bodied red wines.

The J. Lohr Winery has grown to approximately 3,700 acres of vineyards, where he grows chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, petite sirah, merlot, sauvignon blanc, syrah, riesling, and Valdiguié grapes, among others. Below are my tasting notes:

2013 Arroyo Vista Chardonnay; Arroyo Seco, California:
Light golden colored with a bouquet full of baked apples, spices, butter and toasted hazelnuts. A creamy mouthfeel, along with vanilla, banana, coconut and citrus. Pairs well with fish or a chicken breast rolled in crushed pistachios.

2012 Fog’s Reach Pinot Noir; Arroyo Seco, California:
Fairly dark colored with hints of smoke, cocoa, black cherry and black raspberries. Medium bodied with a flavor of cola, dark fruit, jam and mint. Real easy to drink while grilling. Serve with farfalle and some grilled vegetables and hot peppers.

2013 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California:
Deep, dark colored with a bouquet of cassis, black tea, violets and plums. Full-bodied, powerful with flavors of black raspberry, coffee and cocoa powder. It is tannic, but nevertheless, easy going down. The lingering aftertaste begs for another glass (or bottle). I served this beauty with a porterhouse steak, brushed with extra-virgin olive (after grilling).

The lingering aftertaste of the 2013 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon begs for another glass (or bottle).

2013 Tower Road, Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, California:
Inky black colored with a spicy bouquet and flavor of black pepper, blackberry, black cherry, plums and raisins. Full-bodied and intense, with overtones of herbs, tobacco and violets; a powerful aftertaste. I don’t assign numbers or points to a wine, but if I did, this Petite Sirah would easily score 90+ points. It’s that good!

Now, after those wonderful wines and perhaps dessert, a glass of cognac is certainly in order. Prunier VSOP Cognac from the “Grande Champagne” region of Cognac is amber colored with a delicate bouquet and flavor of orange, rose petals and pear. Very smooth finish and a lingering aftertaste. Prunier 20-year-old Cognac is amber colored with a captivating bouquet of prunes, raisins, cedar and orange blossoms. Warming in the mouth and is ultra-smooth; no burn! You will hear the violins play with a glass of Prunier.

Say hello to dad for me!

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or  [email protected]

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Ellen Brady with her father, Dave, at her wedding. Photo from Ellen Brady

By Ellen Brady

Most of the important occasions of my life, many of them happy, occurred in the month of June.

Achievement in school was always very important to me, and all my graduation ceremonies, including from college and graduate school, were in long ago Junes. My first time flying, an international flight to Belgium to spend the summer with my cousins the summer after sixth grade; my road test and prom; my first job; my engagement, wedding and the birth of my first child; the purchase of my first home — all these milestones took place in June. And yet, every year, around Memorial Day, when someone says, “Can you believe it’s going to be June in a few days?” my first thought is always of Father’s Day.

Father’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. To me, it seems less commercial than Christmas, Easter, even Mother’s Day. For me, those holidays are fraught with stress. Decorating, the pressure of buying the right gifts, hidden (and possibly imagined in my mind) expectations and trying, or being too overwhelmed to try, to make everything “right” kill any pleasure I could possibly experience on those occasions.

But Father’s Day is easy for me. I know I feel this way because of my dad, Dave Brady, affectionately and with tongue-in-cheek referred to by friends and family as Mr. Fun. He was a quiet, humble, unassuming man who seemed to have no expectations. Thus celebrating his presence in my life was always easy. A simple gift of Old Spice anything, or a beanbag ashtray or some new handkerchiefs purchased from the clothing store on Main Street in my hometown, which had long allowed my family to purchase “on account,” was exactly what he needed, or so he let me believe. My sister and I would bake a cake for dessert, and that was about all the attention and doting he could handle.

My father wasn’t an active parent; he left most of the child-rearing responsibilities to my mother, who therefore couldn’t be easygoing and gentle, the very qualities I loved about my father. He didn’t ask about my friends, or if I needed help with my homework or if everything was going okay at school. But that didn’t matter to me. We spent much of our time together comfortably sitting in silence. In the warm weather, we would sit on the front porch of our family home, reading or working The New York Times crossword puzzle, listening to the breeze rustle the leaves and the birds singing — we would watch the world go by.

My father died suddenly on Jan. 12, 1999, from a burst abdominal aortic aneurysm. It was two weeks before my 30th birthday, and I was moving to Florida with my husband in a week. I had barely ever left home, let alone lived outside the metro New York area. I was 19 weeks pregnant with my first child. Instead of a baby shower/going away party at my job and the 30th birthday/going away party my mom was planning, we had a wake and a funeral. I was devastated, and in a moment of desperate grief, I cried to my husband, “Who’s going to take care of me now?”

It wasn’t until many years later, after the birth of my daughters, when I was reflecting on what being a mother means to me and what I want to give to my children, that I realized what my father had given me. I was bowled over with the power of the realization — my father gave me the greatest gift a person can give —  unconditional love. He had no expectations of me giving him the perfect gift, or showing my love by spending enough money. He didn’t care if I was the smartest or was the most athletic or the most musical.

He didn’t care if I kept my room clean. All he needed to be happy and at peace was to know that his beloved wife, his children and their spouses and his grandchildren were safe and happy. I aspire to give my husband and children the same gift of unconditional love.

By the way, yesterday my husband and I closed on the purchase of my — and my father’s — childhood home … another milestone recorded in the book of Junes.

Three Village’s Ron Matz and Hauppauge’s Nick Fanti Sr. are recognized for the impact they had on their sons’ careers

Lori, Steven and Ron Matz on the Ward Meville baseball field. Photo from Ron Matz

By Alex Petroski

Being drafted by a Major League Baseball team is a massive accomplishment.

The journey from tee-ball to the big leagues is one that weeds out just about everyone along the way, but the select few who actually make their way into a professional lineup all have a common denominator: a strong support system. Though they’ll never take the credit away from their hardworking sons, Nick Fanti Sr. and Ron Matz deserve some recognition ahead of Father’s Day.

Nick Fanti Sr. and Nick Fanti Jr. pose for a photo together. Photo from Nick Fanti Sr.
Nick Fanti Sr. and Nick Fanti Jr. pose for a photo together. Photo from Nick Fanti Sr.

Nick Fanti Jr. played baseball for Hauppauge High School. He was selected in the 31st round by the Philadelphia Phillies in the  2015 MLB Draft last week.

“I don’t know the words,” Fanti Sr. said in a phone interview about his son being selected by Philadelphia.

Pride was the word Fanti Sr. settled on after some deliberation.

“It brings tears to your eyes, even now thinking about it,” he said.

Fanti Sr. gained experience in being a supportive dad of his athletic children over the course of his four daughters playing careers, all of which are older than Fanti Jr.

“You realize there’s nothing you can do. … I enjoy just watching and possibly talking to him afterwards,” Fanti Sr. said about how hands-on he is as he juggles his role as a dad, coach and fan of a talented son. “You hope you’ve given them all the tools.”

With Father’s Day quickly approaching, Fanti Jr., who went 7-1 with a 0.67 ERA, a 0.63 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 52 innings, knows how much having a supportive dad over the years means when you’re trying to follow your dream of making it in the big leagues.

“He was never hard on me about the results of the game like most parents,” Fanti Jr. said about his dad. “He is most concerned with if I respect the game — running on and off the field, and having a good attitude. When he does critique how I played, I listen because he’s been through it.”

Fanti Sr. said he knew his son was special at an early age.

“When he was 10 or 12 he said to me, ‘Dad, Mickey Mantle’s soul went into my glove,’” Fanti Sr. said. “That was his idol.”

Their talented son now wearing a Phillies uniform does not faze the Fantis, who are lifelong Yankee fans.

“I’m just so happy for him,” Fanti Sr. said. “He’s going to make it anywhere he goes.”

His son has to decide if he wants to report to the Phillies or play college ball at Marist College. Fanti Sr. said that he’ll offer his son guidance, but it’s ultimately his decision.

Fanti Sr. was hesitant to take any credit for his son’s success, though he did mention some people that helped along the way, but he does credit his wife Laura with preparing her son a five-course breakfast everyday.

“It’s not only myself, but all the people that I surrounded him with growing up,” Fanti Sr. said, listing Long Island baseball stalwarts Neil Heaton, Matt Guiliano and Sal Agostinelli among others.

Lori, Steven and Ron Matz on the Ward Meville baseball field. Photo from Ron Matz
Lori, Steven and Ron Matz on the Ward Meville baseball field. Photo from Ron Matz

Steven Matz was one of the others that Fanti Sr. listed as having a huge impact on his son’s high school career. He called Steven Matz one of the best kids you could ever meet and said that Ron Matz, his father, reached out to congratulate him when Fanti Jr. was given the Carl Yastrzemski Award, which is awarded to the player of the year in Suffolk County. Both Steven Matz and Fanti Jr. were recipients in their senior seasons.

Steven Matz was selected by the New York Mets in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft after graduating from Ward Melville. He is presumably just weeks away from making his debut in Flushing with the big league club with 2.3081 ERA, 1.149 WHIP and 81 strikeouts over 78.1 innings with Triple-A Las Vegas this season.

“He always had a chance to be good,” Ron Matz said of his son and his chances of going pro one day. “We probably didn’t even think about it until really his junior year [of high school].”

Just like Fanti Sr., Ron Matz was quick to dismiss the thought that his son’s success is in any way a credit to him and his wife Lori, rather than his son’s hard work and dedication — although he did admit it wasn’t always easy satisfying his son’s desire to play the game.

“Any time he wanted to have a catch or go to the field, take batting practice or pitch, I couldn’t say no,” Ron Matz said. “Before my foot hit the ground it was ‘Dad can we go?’ I was tired from working 11-hour days, but I couldn’t say no.”

Steven Matz has been a household name for Mets fans for a few years now, and living in Stony Brook, Ron Matz said it’s hard to avoid hearing or reading about his son.

“It’s very, very exciting,” he said. “It’s a little nerve wracking. It’s out there, so being a New York guy, and Steven’s a New York Met, it’s hard to avoid it.”

Ron Matz said that he’s very calm when he gets to watch his son in person but added that it’s much harder trying to follow his son’s games when he’s not there. Steven Matz has been playing for the Mets’ various minor league affiliates in Port St. Lucie, Binghamton and Las Vegas since he signed with the Mets organization in 2009.

Steven Matz suffered a torn ligament in his elbow in 2010 that required Tommy John surgery, which involves a lengthy and strenuous rehab process, but after recovering he’s come back stronger than ever to prove he has what it takes to move into the Mets’ rotation.

Both fathers had a hard time hiding how proud they both are of their sons. Although Ron Matz and Fanti Sr. both deflected questions about their impact on their sons’ careers, they were always strong support systems for their sons.

“It’s going to be pretty exciting,” Ron Matz said about the day his son finally dons a Mets uniform. “With all the setbacks and bumps and valleys, it was a trying time seeing what he went through, to continue to work hard — it will be nice to see him finally achieve his dream.”