What can I say about my Dad? He was many things to me- father, role model, confidante and best friend. In my earliest recollections of him and in pictures, he was a happy go lucky guy, a huge presence with a big voice and a firm handshake. Everyone knew him as “Big Mike”. He had many friends, he loved to dance and he knew how to have a good time.
Dad was 6’4″ tall, a BIG GUY and he and my mom together raised three daughters. This, I think, must have been his worst nightmare at times, as his parents were Greek immigrants and Greeks, in my opinion, are STRICT with their daughters! He was no exception to this fanatical rule.
Here are some special things I remember about my dad. When he finally gave me permission to go to the prom in eleventh grade, there were tears in his eyes (initially he told me NO), he brought a football to the hospital when my son was born (remember, he had three daughters), he took me to car auctions where we ate hot dogs and sauerkraut (my mom hated sauerkraut and never made it!). Also, he loved chocolate covered peanuts and bushels of hard shell crabs.
Here are the 5 most important things my Dad taught me:
1. Love people for who they are. My Dad sold cars made in Japan (Nissans) when they first came to the USA. He was a top turret gunner in the Air Force during WWII but he held no prejudices.
3. Have integrity. I sold cars with him for a few years. Once, I made a bottom line deal on a car and the buyers pulled out a newspaper ad for $100 off any car. I was ticked. My Dad said, “Honor it”.
4. There is no substitution for good salesmanship. Dad would look people in the eye, compliment them and always find something of common interest to talk about. To this day, my sisters and I share this character trait and I know we got it from him.
5. Do what you say. If he told you he was going to be somewhere at a certain time, he was there. He did not go back on a promise. He taught us to be on time, be responsible and STEP UP.
Dad passed away 15 years ago on Father’s Day, 1997. When I tell people this it always brings forth a sad comment. But at that time, I saw his humor in choosing that day to go. I could just picture him saying, “You’ll not forget me now!” Truly Dad, that would be impossible.