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And Now, a Story

Back in the day, when my dad was still working funerals regularly, occasionally they would get a family from Brecksville who wanted to have the funeral mass at St. Basil the Great.

Originally, this church was right next to Bosa’s Donuts, right down on 82, just east of Brecksville Rd. (It’s since moved to a newer, bigger location.) Occasionally, after setting everything up for the funeral, the gentlemen would duck out for a quick cup of coffee and a donut at Bosa’s.

One day, my dad and two employees headed over to refresh themselves. They all sat down at the counter, and the young, adorably cute waitress came up to take their orders.

“What will it be today, guys?” she asks.

“Hmm,” says the one employee. “I’ll take a cup of coffee, but I’m not really feeling like a donut today. What else do you have?”

“Well, we’ve got bagels, English muffins, and toast.”

“What kind of toast?”

“White, wheat, rye, raisin…”

“Oh, raisin toast. That sounds great. I haven’t had raisin toast since I don’t know when. I’ll take that.”

So this cute waitress turns to Employee Number Two. “How about you, honey?”

“You know,” he says, “raisin toast actually sounds really good. I’ll have that too.”

So this adorable waitress turns to my dad. “And what about you, sweetie? Is yours raisin too?”

And my dad, without skipping a beat, says, “No, but it’s quivering a little.”

Now, I first heard this story when my dad told it to my girlfriend, who later became my wife, on one of the first times he ever met her. He died shortly thereafter, so it’s sort of a defining moment in her memory of him — and I think that’s absolutely perfect. He was like that. Not all the time, of course, but when he was telling stupid stories and laughing way too much, I always got the sense that this was the true Robert Rybicki. (A feeling that was intensified when it was revealed that he — a spectacularly dedicated businessman — specifically requested that his tie be removed before he was buried.)

When he died, we all gathered at my mom’s house to work out the arrangements. It didn’t take long before we started swapping funny stories about my dad, who really was a very funny guy (although usually he was funniest when he thought he was funnier than he was, if you know what I’m saying). And I’m telling this story to some of my (older) nieces and nephews, reminding them that, like many of Dziadzi’s stories, it probably wasn’t entirely true, when my brother walks by.

“Mike,” I say, “did you ever hear Dad’s raisin bread story?”

Hear it?” he says. “I was THERE. And it happened exactly as he tells it.” Turns out Mike was Employee Number Two.

That was my dad. Next Saturday would have been his 76th birthday. Happy birthday, Dad. Here’s hoping you’re raking every pot there at the Great Leather-Topped Poker Table in the Sky.


Comments

1

1: Amy K. on January 19, 2011 at 11:11 am


Thanks Uncle Joe… I miss them both very much. This story made me laugh AND cry!