Patty lets Pop have his say on Father’s Day

I’m not sure how the average family celebrates Father’s Day. In mine, we try to visit with both my pop and my father-in-law on the actual date.

Also, I try to make sure my son and his dad (and his godfather, too!) get a little quality time in together, as well. #lovemyboys

But for me personally, it’s all about my pop today.

And so, in honor of all the sage wisdom he’s shared with my siblings and me, out of respect for all the sacrifices he’s made on our behalf, in deference to the seemingly endless lessons he’s taught us (and is still teaching us, BTW) and with full appreciation of how flipping funny this man is, I give you “Stuff My Pop Says.”

l What Pop taught us about food:

Finish what’s on your plate.

It’s rude not to accept food offered to you.

You must feed people who come into your home (often and a lot) even when they protest because they really ARE hungry but are just being polite.

McDonald’s is not food.

Turkey on Thanksgiving is for Pilgrims. We have antipasto, bread, ravioli, meatballs, veal cutlet, eight kinds of dessert, a fresh fruit bowl that would make Carmen Miranda topple over and salad served at the end of the meal in a bowl big enough for bathing. Did I mention everything was homemade including and especially the sauce and pasta?

l Pop’s no-nonsense take on parenting:

“It’s not my job to be your friend; I’m your FATHER, dang it!” Typically reiterated when responding NO to a request that usually involving a proposed outing (think concert or class trip), an overnight stay at a friend’s home or (heaven forbid!) a date.

“Don’t give me the same old canzone.” That last word means song. It was his way of saying he didn’t want to hear anymore bellyaching on a subject.

“Don’t make me come back there or I’ll bang all three of your heads together!” Said to my brother, sister and me threateningly through the rear-view mirror as we bickered on long car rides.

l Generally funny stuff my Pop always utters:

“Santo Antonio!” — A reference to Saint Anthony and used to express surprise, shock, amazement, disbelief, or alarm about a particular thing, event, person or occasion.

“If I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it.” — Said in jest. Mostly.

“As the crow flies…” — Used to describe mileage or the rough, rural distance between point A and point B.

“That slimy bugger” — A description of one who has done a despicable thing. Oh and the last word isn’t really bugger.

“Be good, and if you can’t be good, don’t get caught!” — Clearly a joke, and never said to us until we were adults, by the way. Pop was strict, yo.

“Stop praying for me. You’re praying for me, so is your mother, your sister and my sister. I’m going along flying under the radar and suddenly God sees all these prayers for me and He thinks, ‘What the heck is he doing so bad that all these people have to pray for him?'” — I told you my Pop’s hilarious.

l Italian words or phrases my Pop taught us (and my understanding of their loose English translations):

“Ci vediamo e scrivere quando si arriva” — Goodbye and write to me when you get where you’re going. Kind of “See ya later; keep in touch.”)

“Mi dispiace” — I’m sorry.

“Basta” — That’s enough.

“Imbe” — This is total slang and doesn’t translate efficiently but roughly means “Eh, whatcha gonna do?”

“Stai zitto” — Zip your lip, yo.

“Schizzare” — Spatter, especially from oil when cooking. To be avoided at all costs.

“Moppina” — Mop but also slang for hand towel, dish towel or napkin. Usually prefaced by, “Bring me a…”

l In merciless teasing of Mom:

“She robbed the cradle when we got married!” (NOTE: My Mom absolutely never stole anything in her life … and Pop wasn’t a teenager when they got hitched, hee!)

“If I stayed single, I’d be the king of Italy by now.”

“Maybe she eloped?” Said when someone asks him where Mom is. BTW, not only would he never want her to elope but he and his beautiful bride of nearly 54 years have extra reason to celebrate right now, since her birthday is tomorrow.

l Some important lessons from Pop:

“To get through this life, you’re going to need faith.” A strong Catholic / Christian one is our particular brand but any belief system that honors the BIG GUY and follows the Golden Rule is good.

“Whatever else you do, always put your family first — no matter what.”

“You’re not better than anybody else but nobody’s better than you.”

“Live your life so that you can put your head on your pillow at night and fall asleep right away because you have a clear conscience.”

“As long as there’s life, there’s hope.”

“Everything in life is charity. Give what you can as much as you can.”

“Never owe anybody anything.”

“You can do anything you set your mind to … period. If you believe it, you will achieve it.”

“Keep traditions. They’re important and some day, you will hand them down to your own children, trust me.”

l And last but not least: There was only one tenor and his name was Luciano Pavarotti.

Happy Father’s Day, Pop and Happy Birthday, Ma! You are loved more than you know.

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who’s working on a book about the stuff her Pop says. Seriously. More to come on that but until then, check out the daily blog