Hi Dad. I know you’re there, because you’ve told me a thousand times you’d be sitting in the last row at Immaculate, making sure we gave you a good send-off. I hope you approve so far. It’s hard to top you, but we’re trying. Well, Dad, I want to tell all the people here about you. The you I knew. I had forty years with you, so I count myself very lucky….of course, Danny had almost as many, but since age is a sore point for him, we won’t go there. So Dad, sit back and enjoy… and everyone else, listen up.
My dad was a pirate. Not many kids get to be raised by a pirate, so I know it was a very special experience, and it's one that needs to be shared. I loved my dad fiercely, and as you all know, we were a lot alike. My dad loved a good story -- and a good fight-- and so did I. We spent the better part of my adolescence trying to see who could raid whose ship the most…and, of course, who won the right to be captain. Dad, I’m going to swallow my inherited Irish pride here in front of all your friends and confess that, despite my fighting it to the death sometimes, you always managed to keep your crew in their place.
But what a time we had! Growing up with a pirate for a dad means lots of adventures, lots of storytelling, and lots of chances to prove our bravery to the captain. I remember the summer nights we used to spend walking through Greenlawn Cemetary with you, Uncle Jim, Mark and Krissy.
' I’ll give you fifty cents if you go up and kiss that gravestone, all by yourself,' you’d say with a grin. Uncle Jim would always double it to a dollar, so we’d fight our fear left and right to get it. I’m proud to say I always took the challenge. I scared myself half to death, but I never let you know that. We spent a lot of time there, which is funny, because now a part of you will be spending a lot of time there. You used to say “I want that spot, right down by the water.”
Now that you’re on the other side, I guess I can finally tell some of those funny stories without you getting in trouble. Like: remember how you used to have us duck under the seats of the sheriff’s car to drive us on errands? You hated the traffic on North Street, so we’d hide and you’d light up the siren, and we’d laugh all the way there and back. And remember all those times you'd take us out of school to see the best movies on opening day: Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones? You understood that some things were just a little more important than school.