Last Saturday, Dad called to let us know that Papa Musso (Mom's father) had passed away. He had been in intense pain for quite some time, with the past year being especially rough. A few weeks before, he had moved into a hospice home and it was there that he left us.
I remember Papa as a dabbler. He had several things going most of the time, it seemed. A veteran of the Merchant Marines during the war, he later served as Police Chief in Sodus Point and in a small North Carolina town. When I was growing up, he was Mayor of Sodus Point for some time. His property when I was little had a gas station/ shop that he rented out, and a building full of furniture that he brought up from NC to sell. He also sold used cars. My grandmother said essentially that anything he put his mind to, he could do. He could tinker with and fix many things.
I don't know enough about Papa's childhood. His parents sailed from Palermo, Sicily, after leaving their hometown of Realmonte, around the turn of the century, with their eldest daughter. They had a farm in the Sodus/ Sodus Point area. Papa at one time worked slaughtering turkeys & chickens, although that may have been at another farm. More recently, he was an avid gardener and I think about his garden each time I go out to tend my raised bed.
He had a mischievous spirit. He loved to pick on people and rile them up. This was exceptionally annoying and could seem mean growing up, but I look back on it with fondness for the spirit behind it. He had nicknames for Mom and his brother Robert that they hated. If he said something that made you mad or embarrassed, he'd then say "Ouch" repeatedly.
All in all, though, he loved us. He doted on Mom - he saw how super special she is and talked often about how important she was to him. He took good care of Grammie and watched out for her.
The memorial is tomorrow. His body was donated to science, a wish he had talked about since I was small. His spirit is beyond pain and at rest. Farewell, Papa. Love you - all the time.