My pop has been reincarnated in my offspring
It was when Kyle and his other lifeguard buddies were clowning around for a photo a few summers back that I knew for certain.
There they were, flexing and shoving each other good naturedly and acting all teenage boy. It wasn’t until I inspected the pictures the next day that it hit me.
Without so much as a hint of leading the witness, I silently showed Exhibit A to my sister. Her face went whiter than Snow Miser’s. “Right?,” I said.
She was like, “Um, that’s the spitting image of Dad all right.”
A few years later, when it was high school senior picture time, there certainly wasn’t ANY denying it.
Kyle’s friend Tyler — an excellent photographer — captured him in a stern-looking but breathtakingly handsome black and white shot that, if compared to a photo of my father around the same age, would be like holding up a mirror.
OK, not exactly, but there’s absolutely no denying that lineage. I really ought to have seen it coming.
I mean, from the time my son was very, very young, he and Pop kind of, you know, clashed.
Picture two bucking broncos — ain’t nobody backing down. Could have been a naptime or back-talk situation. Whatever the matter, it was a recurring battle of wills.
Mom would calmly say, “Oh dear” as my father and offspring butted heads. As for me, I had more of a panic reaction to the situation.
A few times I tearily wondered if they’d end up despising each other. Man, did I ever get it wrong.
Because today, these two are tighter than a Kardashian’s Spanx and red carpet gown, capisce?
The commonalities are staggering.
The fierce independence and refusal to be a follower; the love of swimming; the commitment to faith and family.
Shoot, when Kyle’s high school Italian teacher dubbed him “Corrado” (Kyle just wasn’t translating well), my Dad reminded us that was his maternal grandmother’s maiden name. Coincidence? Hmm.
No one was prouder than Pop when Kyle was inducted into the Italian National Honor Society. Well, maybe yours truly, but it was a close second.
They even share the scary face. You know, the “I triple dog dare you” or as Pop (and not surprisingly, Kyle) says when challenged: The “Try me.”
I’ll never forget the parking lot situation when we were kids. It was a lovely sunny day and as I waited in the car with Dad for Mom to pay a bill or something, I saw a stranger approach. I didn’t know the context of their muted conversation, but their body language told me it was no bueno, yo.
I later learned he meant to rob and harm us and Pop simply said, “Try me.” Next thing I knew, there was Pop’s scary face, staring at a puff of smoke where that guy was just a second before. “No one threatens my family,” my dad said.
Fast forward to a rude drive-through attendant at KFC a few months ago. As she slid the window closed on me mid-sentence, I saw my son’s scary face. His blink-less stare was eerily familiar and he hurled a word or 12 toward her as we drove off. “No one treats my family that way,” said Pop, er, I mean Kyle.
Yep, two peas in a pod, they are. Adore them both.
Happy Father’s Day, Pop. Corrado and I — and many others — love you very much.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who is also wishing her sainted mother a happy birthday. Her spotlight will be next week. Visit pk’s world via her daily blog www.patriciakim erer.com