My Grandfather was my greatest influence.
He quit school around the 8th grade to help support his family after his father passed. He was the very first man shot off of The U.S.S Pittsburgh during WWII and was an excellent Navy Pilot.
His brother Michael lost his life in the same war.
He had many jobs, working the steel mills in Pittsburgh, Taxi cab driving. once driving Stan Musial in his cab (in another story he was robbed by some bad actors—they even stole his shoes.)
He eventually moved away from the city, looking for a better life for himself and his family, and settled into a small farm in Westmoreland County.
He learned farming. Once he was chased by an alpha bull, only to be saved by reaching his cement porch. —the bull was confused by the unfamiliar footing and stopped. lol
This is about the time he and I connected. He was “Pap.” Always encouraging in whatever I did. Always believing in me. He would often take us grandchildren all over, the driving range, amusement parks, you name it. He enjoyed us and we loved him.
I have a sort of strange anomaly in which the left side of my rib-cage just slightly sticks out more so than the right. He had the same thing going on. 😀
As I advance in age, I look into the mirror and see more of a glimpse of him with each passing year.
We have very similar facial features and body-types.
I think about him every day even though he passed away over 15 years ago.
A great man and a great legacy.