Mary Ann Sestili
75, Potomac, retired health scientist
On the day of my dad’s funeral, my mom asked me to select something of his as a keepsake. She opened a dresser drawer that contained his collection of old watches. Every one of them had been bought at a yard sale, taken apart and restored by him. He always wore a “new-old” watch.
Buried among the watches was my dad’s church usher button. For as long as I can remember, my father, Massimo (which was Americanized as “Max”), served as an usher at our neighborhood church. St. Regis Catholic in Pittsburgh was where Italian and Irish immigrants and their families worshiped and socialized. They were married, baptized and laid to rest there.
From Monday to Saturday, Dad was a landscape gardener by trade — an artist by instinct, rising early and working until late into the evening, especially in summer. On Sundays, transformed in a starched white shirt, dark suit and tie, and black dress shoes, he would be the first at church to greet everyone. Wearing his usher button was not necessary. He knew everyone by name, and they knew him.
Smiling broadly, Dad walked congregants to their seats. As he passed our pew, our eyes met, and he winked. The wink said, “I love life, I love what I do, and I love that you are mine.”
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