Today, with your indulgence, I'd like to pay tribute to a very special man.
To most, he's known as Fred, though his given name is Fernando. To my siblings and to me, he's Dad.
And to my son and niece and nephew, he's Grandpa.
My father celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday; what a wonderful occasion.
Fred's journey began a while ago in a little town called Bugnara, near the city of Sulmona in Italy.
He and his sister, Maria, were everything to their late, widowed mother Giovanna.
Fred is many things: he's a retired steelworker. This is a job he performed nearly every day of 47 and-a-half years. Additionally, he drove trucks and buses, worked a stint at General Motors, and pretty much worked his fingers to the bone his entire adult life to provide for my mom, my sister, my brother and for me.
Dad is also a voracious reader; in fact, at YSU (then Youngstown College), he was a student of philosophy and taught us more about mythology than any high school or college course ever could.
My father is also the most fiercely protective husband, dad and granddad you've ever encountered. Nothing matters to him more than his family, nothing.
Opera, Italian food, and holistic gardening: of these things, my father is a master connoisseur.
I love it when my Dad tosses me nuggets to live by; his teaching moments are plentiful. Or, as he has told me repeatedly, he's already forgotten more than I know.
That's classic Dad.
Here are some of the most important life lessons he's taught me in the 42 years I've known him.
Rule No. 1: God and family come first. In the end, they're the only ones on whom you can completely depend. Period. End of story. Don't forget it.
Rule No. 2: What other people think of you isn't nearly as important as what you think of you. Live your life in a way that allows you to sleep soundly, regret-free at night.
Rule No. 3: Education is never wasted; get as much as you can for as long as possible. Use it at home, at work, everywhere.
Rule No. 4: Stand up for what's right. You'll never regret taking the high road.
Rule No. 5: Never worry. Be concerned, but don't worry. Most of what you worry about is uncontrollable and won't happen, anyway.
Rule No. 6: Be prepared. You never know what's around the corner or down the block. If you prepare for the worst, you'll be well-equipped to handle the best.
Rule No. 7: Be wary, there are very few people on this planet you can trust implicitly and blindly. Refer to Rule No. 1.
At the end of the day, Dad's 75th is reason for us all to celebrate - even though my father truly despises being the center of public attention.
I'm sure he won't mind it this one little time - but just in case, don't tell him about today's column, OK?
Happy birthday, Pop, I love ya.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at email@example.com.