Breakfast with PopPop

As I was leaving for work this morning, I glanced over at my parent's house and saw a note taped to the back door. I walked over to investigate and found this treasure:

Morning Instructions For Christian

Morning Instructions For Christian

I've blogged before about the morning ritual Christian shares each day with his grandfather. This kid really does live the good life. Last week, my dad spent several days in the hospital, which put a major dent in Christian's breakfast routine. I took him to visit PopPop in the hospital and my dad made it clear that he would be coming home soon. Christian leaned over and politely mentioned, "So I'll see you tomorrow for breakfast?"

I could not script a better relationship than this, but what I loved most about this picture is that it's clear that this time together is important to both of them. PopPop did not want his little buddy to be confused: "Go get changed...Come out to me...We'll have breakfast later."

Thinning The Table Grapes

Thinning The Table Grapes

As I drove out the driveway, I stopped to snap this quick picture of my dad. He's been out of the hospital two days. It's 6:30AM and there he is in the middle of his grapes. His favorite place on earth. Working hard and waiting for his little buddy to show up.

Quietly making noise,

Coming to America: Andrew Carlino

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post about the disciple Andrew. and I mentioned that I was named after my grandfather. That led me to think about my grandparents and their journey to America.

I did a quick search online and with the help of some photos from my parent's house and the Ellis Island website,  I found some really fun information. To begin with, below are two photos of my maternal grandfather, Andrew Carlino. The picture on the left was taken sometime between 1917 and 1920. In the photo he is wearing his uniform from his time in the American Expeditionary Force during WWI.  The picture on the right was taken some time in the 1960's near the end of his life.

Andrew Carlino circa 1918

Photo taken in the 1960's

I was able to find information online fairly easy. The details from the Ellis Island files were very cool. With his name and birth year, I quickly found that my grandfather landed in New York with two other members of his family at the age of 1.

Andrew Carlino, 1yr

The ship manifest indicates that his family sailed from Naples, Italy on the 23rd of September 1897 aboard the Steamship Hesperia. After almost a month at sea, they arrived in the United States on October 15, 1897 and had plans to move to 240 Elizabeth St. in Lower Manhattan.

Steamship Hesperia arrived in New York on October 15, 1897 with my grandfather from Baucina, Sicily.

My grandfather's family was from a small region outside of Palermo called Baucina on the island of Sicily. Another quick search told me that there are still 40 families that go by the surname Carlino near Palermo today. 

I plan on taking more time for the research, but for now, I was amazed at how quickly I could find information about my grandfather and his arrival on the American soil. 

Quietly making noise,

At Their Level

I wrote a few days ago about life in our home with

my dad

.  I would not be complete in my story if I didn't mention the flipside to the grandparent coin.  PopPop isn't alone in his kindness...Grammy Cookie is right there with him.  Tonight we had a big bbq for several out of town guests.  In the midst of it all, I found this great picture of my mom.  Mangogirl #3 had made herself a little table on the edge of the concrete steps and Grammy Cookie decided to dine with her, so she eased her "tired bones" (her words, not mine) down to the concrete to share a meal at her level. 


I'm sure this little girl will not remember this specific instance...but great memories were solidified in this little girl tonight when her grammy dined with her "alone."

I'm continually struck by these little things.  Individually they don't mean a lot, but collectively I think they will add up to impact the life of my kids.

Quietly making noise,


The Red Hot Man

For those that know my dad, they will agree that he is a "friend to children" and he has been gifted with all the necessary personality traits: my dad is patient, kind, warm, gentle, silly...and the list goes on and on.

My dad always has room on his lap for a toddler looking to find a place to sit. His agenda is always secondary to the person he is helping, especially when it comes to his children and grandchildren. He always finds the time to stop what he's doing to help a little one with a project (or to make an arsenal of weaponry for little boys that visit him out in his barn).


He patiently allows granddaughters to comb his thick grey hair and "style" his beard...he patiently sits.  I can share more than one story of a child losing an appetite because of a visit to PopPop's house during cocktail hour.  Oddly enough, my kids have an uncanny love for salami, cheese, pretzels, sardines and martini olives.

I was reminded this weekend of one other name my dad has been given.  For as long as I can remember, my dad has been known as 

"The Red Hot Man." 

  Each Sunday, he prepares for church by dressing sharp and grabbing his Bible. However, his outfit would not be complete without a special treat. He takes the time to fill his pockets with red-hot candies.  Most kids know better then to ask before worship, but as soon as the congregation is dismissed, you can stand back and watch the magic that takes place.  One at a time the kids in church begin to surround my dad, with their hands held out flat toward the grey-bearded man. 


They wait as the "red-hot man" patiently gives each child a handful of candies.  Even the most timid and shy kid is not afraid of him...afterall he's giving away free candy...what's to fear.

And here's the part I love: it is brilliantly simple.  It takes minimal effort, yet it's a wonderful example of his quiet ministry.  In the midst of parents chatting and often ignoring kids during a church coffee-hour, here is a gentle and kind man that has spent years refining his ability to stop an "important" conversation to fill the hands of little kids with a few spicy treats.

Kids love my dad. Parents love my dad. I love my dad. 

Quietly making noise,