Blissful Moments With Just the Right Amount of Terror

A rare occasion: all seems well aboard the Barrel of Monkeys

A rare occasion: all seems well aboard the Barrel of Monkeys

My dad would have turned 60 this week. He exemplified all the phrases the French use to describe an excellent human being – joie de vivre, je ne sais quoi…OK, I’m out. Je ne parle pas Francais. (Thanks, Google Translate!) But you get what I mean. You really and truly cannot find a soul on God’s green earth that had met my dad and didn’t love him. Well, except for the people he cut off on the road and on the sea – not the world’s greatest driver of cars and certainly not of boats, as you’re about to find out. To honor this occasion, I solicited happy memories and hilarious stories of my father’s many mishaps. I was shooting for 60, but I should have known this request would far surpass my expectations.

Below are submissions from family and friends presented in no particular order and with minimal editing, save for some snarky insertions from yours truly. Because most people had several stories to share, I tried to keep these in bite-sized chunks. To me, the most astounding thing is that there were so few repeats of stories, except the broken wine jugs and the fruit flies. You’ll see common themes: lots of vacation follies and a lot of people sensing they were in danger while out on our old boat, the Barrel of Monkeys. Yet, we all kept taking trips and setting sail – not wanting to miss the adventure. I stole the title from AJ’s story, the last of the bunch. I promise it will make sense when you get to Uncle Anthony’s stories. 

  1. Mark (editor’s note: Mark wrote a memory involving each of us and Dad): Jess – Your whole college tour experience. I wish I could narrow it down but he found a way to embarrass you at every school we visited. Being at the front of the tour was a must and he wasn’t scared to ask questions, tell students to “put that beer down”, sneak away from the tours, or pull on the locked doors of the dining hall like a wild animal to see what was being served. (editor’s note: imagine the most embarrassed you have ever been in your life and multiply it by five and you’ll approach what this was like.)
  2. Mark: AJ – When it’s cold out the most logical place to play football is inside. So me and AJ (ages 7 and 5) convinced Dad that we should play in the living room. After we cleared out the glass coffee table and moved the nicest couches in the house we agreed Dad would have to play on his knees to counter act the height difference. And so, it was time for kickoff. Right out of the gate the old man showed no mercy on us youngsters and stiff armed both of us square to the ground with the force of what felt like a freight train to our immature physiques. Suddenly we realized this game of “first to 7 scores” would end quickly. Sadly we never made it passed Dad’s opening score because on his following kick off he threw the football into a plate from the Philippines given to us by our neighbor that had the last supper hand-painted on it. (Interjection from Mom: there were permanently football marks on the living room ceiling.)
  3. Mark: Mom – We loved Beavis and Butthead growing up but Mom never let us watch it. One night she went to see Rod Stewart and stayed in a hotel. After dropping her off with Aunt Joan Dad returned with candy, ice cream, the Beavis and Butthead video game and every episode Blockbuster had.
  4. Mark: Myself – One day out on the boat, Dad was teaching AJ how to pull up a grab on a drop string without it swimming away – a slow and methodical process. AJ kept losing crabs and Dad kept trying to show him what he was doing wrong. Around the 3rd or 4th time I got bored and decided it would be funny to put a live crab down the back of Dad’s pants. Of course it latched right on to his butt and he instantly jumped around and squirmed until it came off. He chased me around the boat for a while, while I threatened to jump off into the ocean…”because it was just a joke!”
  5. Mom: Over 40 years adds up to many memories through many phases of life, so many I don’t know where to begin.   Mark was at his happiest being a dad, he adored his children and would do anything for them.  He took great pride in their accomplishments, from their first words to achievements in school and athletics. Their happiness was his passion! (editor’s note: don’t worry – I got her to give up the good stuff; it’s towards the bottom.)
  6. Our cousin Christine: Uncle Mark’s laugh is one I will NEVER forget! I remember when he used to egg nana on when you guys would come to visit our house when we were little saying “who wants to go out back and shoot frogs with Uncle Jack?!” Nana would scream and he would laugh and laugh and laugh….He was my favorite uncle hands down and I miss him dearly!! Happy 60th Uncle Mark:)
  7. Our Aunt Janet (alias Net Net): I picked Marky and AJ up from school one day, took them to McDonald’s and as we were sitting across from each other eating our fries, Marky said to me, “Net Net, my daddy says that Net Net means nit wit!” I laughed and asked, “What else does your daddy say about me?” (editor’s note: Net Net comes from my inability to pronounce Janet)
  8. Net Net again: Mark was driving home from Corrado’s with your mom’s station wagon full of bottles of grape juice to make his wine. He got all the way home and as he turned into the drive he hit a raised manhole and heard a faint glass against glass. He opened the back and two large bottles of grape juice poured into the car and onto the drive. They could never get the smell or fruit flies out of the car!
  9. Me: Back in the good old days when I was still an only child, we took a trip to Disney World (Dinsey World in my parlance) which I’m pretty sure my parents used as bribery to get me out of diapers. One day at Magic Kingdom, Dad wanted to ride Space Mountain but must have felt weird about being a grown man alone on a theme park ride because I can’t think of any other reason to guild a child onto an admittedly tame roller coaster. Mom was pregnant and couldn’t ride and was heading to a gift shop somewhere. “You don’t want to be stuck doing boring shopping, do you?” he cajoled me, a very small, very scared child. I relented and we shot through the darkness together – him laughing, me sobbing.
  10. Our cousin Carolyn: He always referred to our house as Uncle Jackie’s Adventure Camp and as soon as ya’ll got there that is just what it turned into. I also loved the story he told me about skiing in Tahoe blinded by the snow. I think about him each time I hit the slopes.
  11. My parents’ friend Adele: I too remember your dad’s laughter and calling my husband Fluffy when they went for their weekly walks and Steve calling him Marky Mark! He is so missed!
  12. My mom’s friend Joanne: He had the love of a wonderful family
  13. My mom’s friend Lori: he was always a kind man with a big heart and had a beautiful smile.
  14. Our friend and neighbor Larry: So we had a birthday celebration for my son’s 21st. There was Standing room only as the celebration continued. Mark was immediately drafted to be our “legal consultant” when a jealous neighbor called the police and they appeared at 10PM. (editor’s note: RAYSTOCK ’07 FOR LIIIIFE)
  15. More Larry, sharing his thoughts on behalf of the rest of the Rays: We miss Mark’sjet ski rides down the lagoon on Saturday mornings. His ability to balance the surf board while riding his bike. His complaint about the ATM fees at Chuck’s. (editor’s note: I plead the 5th.) His jambalaya feasts.
  16. Our Uncle Bernie: I miss Him so much. Never forget his comment on the Disney Cruise: “I must admit: I have a weakness for petit fours.”
  17. More Uncle Bernie: Rear ending my car whenever he was behind me or training home from Florida because he was told he burst his eardrum. I would appreciate it if You could download my speech before the Essex County Bar Association which depicts Mark as best I could. (editor’s note: come on, UB – that thing was easily 20,000 words :-p)I love you Mark. Happy Birthday
  18. My parents’ friend Mari: loved his kids, and helped everyone else’s! Happy Birthday Mark- the DeSacias will always remember you with love
  19. Our friend and neighbor Meghan: I would like to contribute the potato pancake eating extravaganza at Fritzy’s German restaurant where the chef emerged from the kitchen to seek out the man that ordered approximately one dozen potato pancakes for each of the 15 people at the table. (12 x 15 = 4372894723984729 potato pancakes) (editor’s note: it was six people and three pancakes each, but they were ENORMOUS)
  20. More Meghan: I would also like to add the Pete and Elda’s double extra large pizza eating jollification prior to a James Taylor concert, in which I needed some very minor (secretive) assistance from big mark in order to achieve the famed tee shirt for eating a double extra-large pizza. (editor’s note: pansy – love, a 7-time champ) And it was very necessary that at a table of 4 (big mark, lynn, jess and me) that we needed 3 double extra-large pizzas for 3 people… I think Lynn ate a salad in disgust. (editor’s note: no shot – Lynner can’t turn down pizza)  And then upon arrival at PNC Bank Arts Center… Jess got sick from over consumption of pizza. (editor’s note: AND Arbor Mist. Come on now.)
  21. Meghan again: At another James Taylor concert at PNC Bank Arts Center, Big Larry Dawg and Big Marky Dawg were tailgating… enjoying some sub sandwiches and Arbor Mist when a older gent approached them asking if they had any “papers.”  To which they replied, sure! We’ve got the Star Ledger here.
  22. Meghan one more time: And I guess for good measure, we can include the time that Lynn and Jess fell asleep so I was left watching Brokeback Mountain alone with Big Mark. (editor’s note: sorry)


  1. Our friend Lois: We miss you, Mark, so much. You were always a kind and sincere friend. We miss going out to dinner with you and Lynn, our shared love of food and travel, and our many talks about our families. We also miss your pranks and laughter especially the bathing suit “incident” in St. Martin and our catamaran ride over you while you were scuba diving in Antigua! You were the best! Happy Birthday!
  2. My mom’s friend Chitra: He was very a very lucky man to have such a beautiful wife and three wonderful children. Remembering him and thinking of all of you on his 60th!
  3. My dad’s Shore friend Susan: I just remember what a great group of friends in the summers at Sunset Manor. Very fond memories
  4. Our Uncle Jack: “So let’s go fishing,” he says. We jump on the boat. He pulls the anchor. Off we go. In the bay he wants to show me how fast his boat is. Takes off at full power into a choppy bay, the anchor breaks loose grazes my skull, actually felt it on my ear, turn the boat around go back to the house so I can change my pants and have a beer. The man was a lot of fun but extremely dangerous.
  5. Our cousin Andrea: Ok. I was thinking of my memory. And realized that Uncle Mark wasn’t a memory to me but rather a presence. You knew when he was around, he would make sure to spend time with you & there was always laughter to follow. When I think of him I always envision him trying to hide a smile, bowing & shaking his head in disbelief over the antics of myself & four sisters. How he used to tease my father for being in a house full of girls. I don’t recall ever seeing him without a smile on his face… xo
  6. Our cousin Katie: His laugh…the most contagious one I’ve ever heard
    – The night we danced away at Crab’s Claw and got so drunk…He then proceeded to drunk dial my Mom, and made fun of her for walking into a door. (editor’s note: that was hilarious)
  7. More Katie: Best. Salad. Maker. Ever (editor’s note: secret ingredient – adobo. You’re welcome.)
  8. Our neighbor Debi: The Barrel of Monkeys! Breaking down on the 4th of July and my dad towing you in (editor’s note: you mean every time we took the boat out?)
    – Establishing my 29 year nickname – Doob! And it will live on forever because now everyone in your fam is now known as Doob! (editor’s note: no, YOUR dad created it – my dad’s just the only weirdo who remembered your infancy nickname and insisted on calling you by it your entire life)
  9. Our Aunt Debbie: For Tim’s 40th birthday, he got that spray hair stuff. Mark had Tim hang his head over the deck and sprayed his head with this black spray paint. (editor’s note: go walk into a door!…for old time’s sake)
  10. My boyfriend (fiancé is a weird word) Ryan: summer night in 2009: Mark joined the Rutherford hoodlums, his children, and myself for a new episode of Entourage on aSunday  As per usual, within the first 10 minutes of the show there was a graphic sex scene with Vinny Chase and some anonymous young woman who was attracted to the dearth of Adrian Grenier’s acting ability. A naked young woman grinding on top of an untalented actor playing an actor propelled Mark out of his seat on the couch (right next to, me by the way) and he exclaimed, “Jess, what the hell do you have me watching?!!” Why blame his innocent 24-year-old daughter? (editor’s note: I hate Entourage with a burning, fiery passion.) No one knows. Mark stood there for a few beats and no one said anything. Awkward stares all around the room at Mark and Jess. In a huff, Mark plopped himself back into the seat cushion with multiple sighs and we all proceeded to watch the rest of the show in silence. There probably were at least two other pairs of exposed breasts through the rest of the episode. Mark didn’t move. Mark didn’t say a word. I leave it to the readers to analyze the meaning of this event. I’m still confused. Still my favorite Mark moment. (editor’s note: you’re apparently kind of a perv)
  11. Our Aunt Celeste: Mark was a great Tarzan fan, most Sundays growing up “The Million Dollar Movie” would run a flick all day long. One Monday, following one of these marathon viewings of Johnny Weissmuller doing his stuff, we were re-enacting scenes from the movie. Mark took on the Tarzan stance pounded his chest, screaming out the Tarzan call, grabbed a broom like a spear & tossed it, knocking me unconscious. I came to, with him standing over me, first crying, then laughing his head off once he knew I was OK. Good times. (editor’s note: sounds strangely like what used to happen after my brothers watched WWE…must be genetic idiocy)
  12. Our friend Tony: A group of us were in Ixtapa, Mexico on vacation and your father and I went out early one morning to check out parasailing. We began negotiating with the guy for a price. He looked at me and said ok for me (I was only about 180 #) but then he looked at your father and said NO to him. He said to Mark, “Too fat”. We laughed our asses off and went to eat breakfast.
  13. Our friend Dominic: There were many great memories but one of my favorites  was making wine putting it in the car and later the wine split all over the inside of the car. Days later no matter how he tried to clean it up the smell of wine was not vanishing and to make it worse the car became infested with fruit flies, as I remember he drove around for days with the fruit flies flying around his head. He finally was forced to sell the car. (editor’s note: man, that car was disgusting)
  14. Our friend Joe: Where to start?
    How about him putting the child safety lock on your liquor cabinet above the fridge, and him not being mad when he realized I just unscrewed the hinges? (editor’s note: way to tell the world about our delinquency)
  15. Joe again: How about you and him inviting me to the set of the Sopranos to cheer me up, and him “defending” me when Frank Vincent pretended to give me a hard time for being blonde and male friend of yours? (editor’s note: I don’t think he was pretending)
  16. Joe again: How about up in Syracuse, when your family was visiting my senior year, and like everybody got tired and called it a night except for him, so we went to Darwin’s and crushed Grateful Deads until your mom called him wondering where the hell he went? Pretty sure I had to walk him back to the Sheraton that night.

    How about him calming me down and telling me what to say to the judge when I got my first speeding ticket?

    How about every time I came thru your door, he greeted me with hearty “JOE MOORE!” Which your mom continues to this day.

  17. Our friends Dave and Lisa: Mark loved his boat and all the attendant activities–including the hitched banana boat.  I remember one summer he took my family out and drove like a lunatic, so that the kids couldn’t possibly stay on the banana–and they were falling off  into the bay like dominoes. We laughed our asses off and then as soon as we got back to shore–the kids wanted to go back out again.  That was Mark.  He loved to have fun and make sure that those with him, also had a great time. (editor’s note: I don’t know guys – this sounds like child abuse)
  18. My dad’s best man Hugh: I have many stories but this one always makes me laugh. When we were in Europe, disguised as world travelers, we borrowed a bed sheet from a beautiful $2 a night hotel to use as a beach blanket since we were on our way to Cannes on the French Riviera. Mark was sporting an Afro style head of hair and black converse sneakers and a tie-dyed t shirt . We walked on the beach as though we belonged there put the sheet atop the shale, no sand, and proceeded to act as though we were not in agony. The millionaires did not know what to make of us. Later that day we stopped for a drink and a few people were pointing at us and laughing. I guess they were at the beach earlier. We were doing aSaturday Night Live skit before its time.
  19. Our friend Frank: OneFriday night Mark and I were waiting at his house for his cousin Ralph to go to our friend Dave’s to play cards. When Ralph arrived he decided to drive. I had never driven with Ralph before, and when we got in the car Mark looked at me and said hold on. Ralph took off and was driving all over the road, and even bounced off a few curbs. Mark looked at me and said I feel like we are at Disney Land on Uncle Toads Wild Ride! That was the last time we let Ralph drive,and just one of the many funny comments Mark came up with when we were together. (editor’s note: Ralph once gifted me with a mounted poster of 1980s Jon Bon Jovi. Most New Jersey thing to ever happen to me.)
  20. Our friend Joann: Thank you for asking me to reflect on the wonderful friendship and memories, that we have with your wonderful family. (editor’s note: eh, we’re OK I guess) When I think about Mark so many wonderful things come to mind like his pride and joy of his family, He loved Lynn and Jessica, Mark and  Andrew so much it was a pleasure to hear him talk about all of you. We have so many wonderful memories, St. Joseph, Halloween, Dinners, making our tomatoes . One memory that always makes me smile is when we decided to get together with my neighbors Felicia and John and take them out for helping us make the Sauce. I called the restaurant to make the reservation and the owner says “great I maka something special for you when you come.”  So we go as we are all getting settled at our table the waitress comes over and presents us with several covered silver plated and says My dad sent these out special just for you Capuzzelle and runs away. Mark opens the cover and there is a Lamb head with its tongue sticking out of the side of its mouth. Lynn and I were ready to run out of the restaurant. Felicia and John , and Lou loved it they were sticking their forks in the head, we sat there drinking the wine and laughing, by the end of the night my cheeks hurt. We all laughed and talked about that night for a very long time. Lots of love to all of you and may the memories of Mark live on forever.
  21. Mom: Mark loved to carry on family traditions, he made wine, as you have heard.  When his mom passed away, Martin cajoled Mark into making homemade raviolis as Carmel had done for many years for christmas dinner.  He gladly took on the task. He sent the kids and I out of the house for the day. He lovingly made those raviolis every year thereafter. (editor’s note: they were delicious, but definitely not the same as Grandma’s)
  22. Our Uncle Anthony: I’m not much at writing. But I do have stories to tell. I used to laugh so much with him, at him, at me and at us two together. They were like the Master Card moments, priceless to me.
    Remember one of our trips home from Florida. When he taught he was following AJ into the men’s room at the airport, but instead he went into the ladies room. Never realizing he was in the wrong bathroom. He never even noticed AJ was not there with him. Boy, did I ever love that one. Might be my favorite.
  23. More Uncle Anthony: There was our weekend in Newport R.I. With the four of us back in 85 when he took all these pictures of Lynn Joan and myself in front of the mansions and of Jackie Kennedy’s home. But when he went to change the roll of film there was none in the camera.
  24. Uncle Anthony again: The mud in Ixtapa – him and I got the golf cart stuck in a mud ditch. So I got out to push us. As I was pushing, your dad hit the gas covering half my body head to toe with mud, like a creature from Star Trek. Not that funny at the moment for me. (editor’s note: probably one of my favorite Dad-on-vacation stories)
  25. More Uncle Anthony: Ask Little Mark and AJ about our trip to EL Yunque rainforest. Mark just said “Dad, don’t do anything stupid on this trip.” (editor’s note: fat chance) Next thing we know we are going the mountain the wrong way on a one way street then back up on top of a big boulder. Ask your mom when Little Mark was hanging onto the door of the car on Eagle Rock Ave.
  26. Uncle Anthony again: There was the time you were about 3 and your were playing with one of his big kid toys.. And broke it your dad said “She breaks everything of mine.” (editor’s note: JESSICA YOU BREAK EVERYTHING I OWN was a common refrain in my life…stop having such breakable stuff, Dad.) The 4th of July boat ride in the storm. When he blamed Lynn for not packing his underwear on one of our trips. Tried to drown me in Aruba.
  27. Uncle Anthony…again: The killer dogs chasing us in the Bahamas. Drank the person next to him’s water at a Yankee game, the face he made when I told him it was not his. The church van in Florida (editor’s note: I still maintain that we should have kept that rental. Praise the lord.)… The golf balls in Sturbridge… Wine barrel bursting in my landlord’s basement…
  28. Yes, more Uncle Anthony: He and I lost all our golf balls on that muddy day and had to buy them back from the Mexican gardener. Same day one of our balls went into a pond and sign said don’t feed alligators… Chicken mole dish in Mexico chicken with Hershey syrup. When he ordered the pompano fish and it came out whole head and all……..waiter patting him on his head…(editor’s note: and then you subsequently giving the flirty waiter his business card)
  29. Our Aunt Joan: Through some comedy of errors, he somehow ended up with a cream-sauce based dish on vacation in the Bahamas at Café Martinique, despite asking for no cream. He threw a hissy fit, threw his napkin down…and ate it anyway.
  30. More Aunt Joan: He put the wrong kind of gas in the car on a road trip to Williamsburg VA and almost blew the whole car’s system. Accidentally snorkeling in a hotel’s sewage output in the Bahamas.
  31. Mom: One time Mark and I were in Acapulco, he had an old tour book and wanted to go visit a historical fort.  We took a taxi to the site and the driver did not understand where we wanted to go.  He dropped us off and pointed us in a direction and we walked through a neighborhood to find the fort. We found it but there were not any people around, as we went further in we could hear marching.  When we went around the bend there were armed guards and prisoners in the courtyard. To our chagrin, the fort had been turned into a prison.  The guards aimed their weapons at us, scaring us and chasing us out. (editor’s note: another one of my favorite Dad-on-vacation stories)
  32. Mom again: Mark loved to participate in his kids’ events and, as such, he volunteered to coach flag football. At one practice he was talking to his team and he thought it was starting to rain, only to turn around and find one of the kids squirting him with a water bottle.
  33. Our cousin Joanie: I don’t have a story… Just an observation. I have always felt Uncle Mark had that extra something. A twinkle in his eye a smile on his face that was always friendly. That chuckle before words were ever spoken. A gentle entertaining soul that made everyone feel as though he was so glad to see you. You couldn’t help but to mirror his enthusiasm for life. I have never really come across another human who made me feel this way .The twinkle, that laughter and that zest for life!
  34. Our friend Lou: I don’t recall the year or the name of the bar but Big Mark Doggie and Big Lou Doggie took a boat trip across the bay for lunch with you, Lynn, Meghan, Judy, Louis, his friend Jack, Chris and Christine on the boat which was overloaded for its size and Big Mark kept telling me to keep an eye on the depth finder and telling everyone from the rear to move to the front of the boat so it would plane but it never did and we kept churning up the bottom of the bay. (editor’s note: Jesus, that’s frightening)
  35. Our friend Al: I can probably give 60 things myself (as I am sure everyone else can too). But to stick with one, this might have to be it: Your dad was someone I could talk to about life and lean on when I needed advice. Whether it be at your house or surfing or just talking, he always made me feel better. His best advice, and one that I’ll never forget, was telling me “I wish I had taken more time off before going to law school.” (I’m sure he told me this at least 10 times) Of course I thought he was crazy, because I was struggling hard to get into med school, and he knew that but looking back he was 100% right. He knew that I would be doing that for the rest of my life, and the time I spent not worrying about such things and enjoying life was definitely much more beneficial. Not to mention the amount of time it allowed me to spend with family and friends. I always think of those conversations when I tell people I “took 5 years off or so” and it’s always a good reminder of how great he could always make me feel even when I was down.
  36. Me: My 24th birthday was a snowy mess and no one could make it down the shore to celebrate, except for my parents. Katie and Pat, like me, lived in their families shore houses and we had formed a solid off-season crew of people who pretended to be normal adults while mooching as long as possible. All five of us started at the Sawmill’s Holla for a Dolla (dollar Miller Lites, dollar shots, dollar slices – what more can you ask of life?). Katie, Pat and I took a round of whatever the dollar shot of the night was and Dad was genuinely butthurt that we didn’t get him one – he wanted to be in on the fun, even if it tasted like well vodka and came in a plastic portion cup. We moved the party over to Hook’s where Dad and Pat challenged some fellow patrons to beer pong. As the birthday girl, I was invited to take Pat’s spot for a round, despite probably trying to beg off. My beer pong s kills have always been atrocious, which Dad then loudly and roundly mocked to everyone else in the bar, demanding to know what he had spent my college tuition on. It was hilarious.
  37. Mom: He kept asking what he should wear to the hospital when I was intense labor with Mark (editor’s note: Mark was born in about 40 minutes in a January snow storm)
  38. AJ: Thanksgiving 2007. I was a senior in high school and Mom and Dad had taken me to look at colleges in California. We had landed in San Diego, rented a car, and made it as far north as Santa Barbara. Along the way we had hit about six schools, shared a lot of meals (my father talked about the burgers at Hodad’s in Ocean Beach for months following), had a ton of laughs, and shared very close quarters. We were fortunate enough to spend a few days in Los Angeles with my cousin Jason and his wife Anna (pre-Mira, Petey, and Dezy days).

    Besides eating Thai fried crickets (my Dad’s idea) and a lovely rooftop Thanksgiving dinner with my family, one particular memory has remained with me through the years. On Thanksgiving morning, while everyone else in the house slept, Big Mark and I woke up before sunrise and drove to Manhattan Beach. With borrowed surfboards strapped to the borrowed roof of our borrowed car we pulled up to an empty, beautiful California state beach with the sun rising above the hills at our backs and airplanes from xxxxx airport trailing ahead of us before fading over the horizon. As we slipped into our wetsuits and marched to the water’s edge, I stopped suddenly and stretched my arm across my father’s chest like a mother protecting her child in the passenger seat.

    “Dad, I just saw a shark fin, maybe we shouldn’t go in.”

    “Ohhhh don’t be a baby there’s no shark here.”

    Despite my better judgement, I listened to the one man who would always look out for my best interest and tip toed through the breakwater and across the shallow sand bar. We quickly traded off numerous waves and my mind slowly eased – after all, this man is a well respected attorney, I thought, he must be at least somewhat reputable. About an hour had gone by and that fin was all but gone from my mind. My father had just caught a nice little wave onto the sand bar and had turned to paddle back out to meet me where the waves were breaking. As he pushed off the sand and jumped back onto his surfboard he let out a blood curdling scream, “Ahhhhh,” he yelled, “something bumped me!”  I turned around to see the very same dorsal fin from that morning circling a few yards behind him. He reached me out of breath from paddling so hard and the fin slipped beneath the surface.

    Deciding not to waste any time, we both paddled for the next wave and safely headed to shore.

    “I told you so!” I nudged him, with sand safely beneath my feet.

    I’m not going to say that that shark fin was small, but it certainly wasn’t big. We later laughed about the incident as we told people over turkey and stuffing, and every time my father told the story the shark fin got bigger and bigger.

    That was life with my father: blissful moments with just the right amount of terror. I’m very lucky to have gotten to spend the amount of time I did with such an incredible human. I’m sure that his 60th year on earth would have been just as exhilarating as the rest. Miss you and love you Dad.


8 thoughts on “Blissful Moments With Just the Right Amount of Terror

  1. I laughed and I cried, I wonder how the party would have been. He had a lot of stories to tell how many more memories he would have made. There never was a dull moment when he was around and we miss that liveliness that he pursued!

  2. beautiful Jess , a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man, husband, father, and friend, may all the wonderful memories help to ease the pain of our loss Love to all you.

  3. Jess. Just got done laughing and crying. More stories come to mind, some not fit to publish..always laughs. Dave cried as he typed his memories. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t think of your dad. But as someone said, he lives in you, Mark and A. J. Thanks for the memories

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