I want to introduce everyone to my father, Ottorino.
May 18th is his birthday and I thought a great way to honor him is by letting you all get to know him. He was born in Lago, Italy and immigrated to Canada with my beautiful mother, Luisa.
There was nothing he couldn’t do. He taught himself all about tractors, lawnmowers, snowblowers, etc. and was always working on one of them. I remember asking him how he knew what he knew, and he would say “if it is broken, you can’t break it any worse. Just start playing with it and sooner or later something has got to work.” He taught me to never be afraid; to just dive in and try something, even if you don’t know what you’re doing.
He was not only a very, very hard worker but also an inventor and one of his favorite sayings was “all you need is a little imagination”…sound familiar? (*hint…look at the title of this blog) :-)
One night, all five of us kids were sitting around the table working late on our homework. Papa was in the basement working away. Everyone was quiet, engrossed in whatever piece of homework they were working feverishly to get done. Finally he came upstairs and showed us his latest creation… a rat trap that was so strong “it would snap your eyes through your asshole”. We all started laughing so hard we were about in tears. We then proceeded to call my older sister and relay the story to her. I’m sure all she heard was a bunch of kids laughing hysterically and then all at once yelling “it will snap your eyes through your asshole!!!” That line was used frequently in our home after that…regardless of the circumstance.
Our classic salad dressing is vinegar, salt and oil; I swear it is THE BEST! Anyways, one day, we all sat down for dinner and Papa pulls out a spray bottle and I mean a BIG spray bottle, with vinegar, salt and oil in it. We all sat there just starring as he squirted it on his salad then offered it to us. My mom looked and said “oh ..now he sprays the dressing on his salad” then rolled her eyes. We all chuckled and laughed and wouldn’t you know it….months later we see a commercial for salad dressing in a spray bottle on TV. From that day on, I was convinced the house was bugged.
He didn’t only create contraptions but also was quite the word connoisseur. For the longest time I thought “catapus” was a legit word. The meaning was simple: if you had a large pile of things and they all fell down, you would say “the whole catapus fell down”. I only realized it was a Papa special when I tried to explain it to my friends, then attempted to look it up in the dictionary. I’m not even sure that is the correct spelling but that is exactly how it is pronounced. And yes, we all use this word frequently on a daily basis. Seriously – what an awesome word!
I could go on and on and on, I think I have my father’s love of telling stories.
But I’ll end with this: everytime my father would teach us something, he would end the lesson by saying “learn it and remember for eternity”. I have definitly learnt so much from my father, and even though he is up in heaven oiling up the golden gates with WD-40 (he used that of everything), I continue to learn from him. I know know why it is better to curse than cry when you get your finger smashed by a hammer when nailing something, or why he would get so frustrated when the goats would get out of the fence and run every which direction but where they were supposed to go.
So to me dearest Papa – We love you so much. When God called you up to heaven if felt like the whole catapus came crashing down on me and I didn’t know up from down. My heart will never be whole, but your lessons made me who I am today and gave me the such strength to keep going even when I didn’t want to. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think of you and/or talk to you. You will be remembered for eternity.