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Papa, Sal or Salvatore as others knew him, was the absolute most amazing man. There was NOTHING he could not do or fix. Growing up watching Papa build trains, planes, driveways, fix up homes and so much more was fascinating. I remember every time we went to Grandma and Papa's, Papa would be on his black and white little sliding work chair. He'd have the garage open, work pants and work boots on with a hat on. Tools in hand, tools on the ground, the question was always whatcha workin on now, Papa? Or who needs an oil change next. I missed seeing Papa do all of these things he loved so much.
Every time one of us grandkids got a 90 or above on a test, we'd take the test to Papa, show him for proof and he would proudly and excitedly say, "Get my wallet!". Papa taught us that nothing comes free, you have to work hard in this life to be successful. Papa taught me the value of a dollar, how to be smart and save and so many other things. I remember one time I needed to cut a piece of paper for a homework project and I didn't have scissors so Papa taught me a "trick". He taught me to fold the paper and scrape it with your nail several times an vuola! Clean cut paper. Whether it was him letting us sneak a sip of his red wine or him holding his hand held radio up to his ear because we were all too loud around him, just having his presence was my comfort in this world.
My grandfather was everything to me. I'll always cherish how proud he was when Justin and I bought our home and when we got engaged, or when I graduated college, then graduated AGAIN, OH and when I started my career. Making him proud gives me peace of mind.
Growing up Papa and Grandma would take us on camping trips all over and we built spectacular memories from those trips. Papa would grill dinner and have a fire ready for us while Gram spent the day with us doing god knows what, swimming, tag, walking, you name it. Then when we started going to Atlantic City, my what memories we have. Come dinner time it was, "we gotta find Papa in the casino". He just loved to bring us places and let us and Grandma have a grand time. He is and was everything and then some. The last AC trip, we all came back from Rita's with Papa's infamous cherry ice. Gram was like we have to tell you something, Papa's gotta tell you something. We all walk into the room nervously, and Papa yells, "I won some money!". He was so happy, and so were we.
I will never stop missing you, Papa. I wish you didn't have to go but I know you are free. I am so happy for you, you are no longer suffering. I love you so much. Thank you for giving me the strength on my wedding day, for giving us a beautiful wedding day and for loving us the way you do.