Introducing Mr. Buonomo
Updated: Nov 23, 2022
This time of year is great for so many reasons. It's officially autumn and foliage is absolutely beautiful. The weather is crisp and I've been able to break out my fall-early winter wardrobe. Thanksgiving is on its way which ushers in the Christmas season.
Despite all these wonderful things, the impending holidays get me thinking more about all the people in my life who I wish were still here. Grandpa Tommy and Grandma Marion are obviously on the list, but my father is #1.
My dad, Vincent, passed away on November 26, 2018. He had been sick that whole year: in a coma, on a vent, hospitalized and in rehab over and over. Dad was a huge man: 6'6" and built like a machine which was why he was able to make it through so many illnesses. Sadly, even machines reach their breaking point. When a person gets to the point where they're suffering more than enjoying life, it's a blessing for them to finally have peace.
My father was a hardworking, loving, supportive man who would do anything to make sure his family was happy and taken care of, even if it meant hurting himself in the long run. He worked for the electric company Con Edison for almost 35 years as a mechanic, destroying his back, shoulders, hands and knees in the process. He worked crazy hours, which often meant missing time with his family. I will forever be appreciative of everything he did for us.
And now I'll share one of many entertaining stories about my dad.
We had tickets to see the Eagles at Madison Square Garden to celebrate Mom and Dad's 40th wedding anniversary a month before he passed away. There was some talk about having to get a refund on the tickets because of his poor health but I said absolutely not. I would drive in to Manhattan and push him around in a wheelchair if I had to.
I'm a good driver. I drive everywhere. The act of driving does not bother me. In fact I actually prefer to drive because other people driving makes me nervous. However, driving with my father as a passenger was an entirely different story. He took me out once when I was learning how to drive as a teenager. I was on the way to my best friend's house and, just as I was about to make a right at a stop sign, he decided it was a good time to stick his arm out and wipe dust off of the dash board. The steering wheel hit his arm and I stopped the car because I couldn't turn. This was my fault, of course. I wasn't paying attention. I was hesitating. I was gonna' kill us both. So, I put the car in park, got out, and walked the rest of the way. That wasn't the end of this story, though. He rolled behind me the rest of the way yelling my name out the window, "Gina Marie Buonomo! You better get your ass back in this car!"
I was fully expecting the trip into Manhattan to be a disaster, but I psyched myself up before hand and vowed to answer him calmly if I couldn't bite my tongue and be quiet.
I think I managed to get about a mile away from my parents house when his running commentary began:
"Why are you going this way?"
"There's gonna' be traffic, Gina."
"Why didn't you take the Long Island Expressway?"
"Are you sure you know where you're going?"
"I don't understand why you're braking."
"Look at this guy over here!"
"Watch that asshole over there!"
"Stop braking so hard!"
"Stop hitting all the potholes!"
"Are you trying to test the shocks?!"
"Where the hell are we now?"
"I don't understand why you went this way."
"The concert's gonna' be over by the time we get there."
"Look at this traffic!"
"You're gonna' have to merge now."
"Have some patience, would ya'?!"
I don't remember the exact moment when I snapped, but I do know that it was very hard for me not to roll him out of the car when we finally arrived in front of MSG.
We ended up having a blast at the concert, despite getting off to a rocky start. I think the best part of all for Dad was watching his best friend, my son Danny, experience his first live concert with one of his favorite bands.
In order to avoid getting trampled by the crowd after the concert, we cut out early and I left everyone in front of MSG while I went to the parking garage to get my truck. When I finally made it around the corner, I couldn't find them. I had a moment of panic, but how far could a guy in a wheelchair really make it?
That's when I saw them. They were about 100 feet from where I told them to wait. Daniel was laughing hysterically. Why? Call me crazy, but I think it had something to do with the drag queen trying to kiss my father and sit on his lap in the wheelchair.
More on that in a later post.