I first met my stepfather-in-law when I was 20, on the day I met Lisa. The details are fuzzy, but within minutes of being introduced he either called me a Polack, swore at me in Italian, or otherwise violated social etiquette.
Sensing a kindred spirit, I returned in kind.
He laughed in reply, and I liked him immediately.
Within a few months our trips for coffee together at George Webb's became routine.Although I didn't realize it, he became the one, in Lisa's words, to vett me for her family.
A year later he was called in front of my parish priest to vouch for our upcoming marriage. My mother-in-law had already told the priest she dissapproved of the wedding - if my 19 year old daughter said she was engaged, I'd do the same - but Jaspare went to bat for us. According to the priest, he advocated for us in a manner more Perry Mason than retired factory worker.
I owe you for that Jaspare.
He had his flaw, God knows, just like us all. But when we had kids he became a beloved Grandpa, one especially close to YaYa.
I owe you for that too Jaspare.
A few months ago, just after a house fire that drove my in-law's into temporary housing, he was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor.
Yesterday Team Slap went to say our goodbyes at his hospice. The kids hugged him and told him they loved him, and broke down in tears. I found myself crying too, and thanking him for being there for the family.
Shortly after midnight, he passed away.
Rest in Peace Jaspare.
We love you, and we'll miss you.