November 7, 2011

in memory

Tony was my stepfather since before I could remember. My earliest memory is from 40 years ago, when I sometimes rode on the back of his motorcycle. One time, when climbing on, I touched my shin to the end of the exhaust pipe and had a severe burn for weeks, or months. I think I was three years old. I have other memories from that time, but I'm not sure how true they are. I remember Tony chasing one of our cats out the door with a BB gun after the Christmas tree crashed to the floor.

When I was seven years old, my mom and Tony moved away and settled in Las Vegas. He had thoughts of making his fortune gambling, but within a few years he switched to driving a cab. I think he was well suited to it--he knew the ins and outs of the city like no one else, understood people, and had the patience to sit in 115 degree heat waiting for an airport fare.

I visited from Connecticut sometimes, spending large chunks of my preteen and teenage summers in Vegas as the city grew up around them. Tony and my mom took me, my brother, and my stepbrother to Disneyland when I was maybe 11. They took us to Palm Springs, San Diego, the Grand Canyon. Tony took us into the desert--back then, the open desert started where Decatur Boulevard crossed Spring Mountain--and let us shoot his .22 rifle and his revolver at targets. He took us to the fights sometimes.

Over the past 15 years, he's been adored by my boys. He always had a new toy for them when we visited. Later, he had BB guns he taught them to shoot in the back yard. More recently, he was the dealer for many a poker tournament that ended in cheers and tears in the kitchen. All summer, my boys were planning for the next epic poker tournament we would have this Christmas when we went to visit.

Tony passed away this weekend and will be dearly missed.

7 comments:

Stephen Parrish said...

Sorry, Pete. Your references to BB guns bring back memories of my own. Sounds like Tony played an essential role in your upbringing, and in the upbringing of your boys.

jjdebenedictis said...

(((*hugs*))) I'm so sorry. He sounds like he was a wonderful man.

stacy said...

I'm so sorry. He sounds like the ideal stepfather and grandfather. May the epic poker tournament live on in his memory.

Sandra Cormier said...

Wow, what a cool guy. I'm glad you got to share your growing years with him & that your kids got to know him.

Peter Dudley said...

Thanks, my friends. I really appreciate the kindness and warm thoughts.

Precie said...

My sympathies.

Richard Levangie said...

Pete -- I'm sorry for your loss.