By Cora McCann Liderbach

He was just a Jersey boy, 

a wisecracker, a wit; too 

nearsighted for stickball.

Hungry for history and art,

schooled by example.

And if he later forgot to teach

kindness or patience—

well, he could only parrot 

what he learned from his mother 

and the nuns at St. Aloysius. 

If he held too fast to fear, 

it was merely the memory 

of onion sandwiches in

the Great Depression

lingering. And if he preferred 

evenings at Jimmy O’Neil’s 

to evenings at home, 

it was because his quiet father 

showed him the comfort 

of distance from discord,

and the warmth that a tumbler 

of whiskey—and a punchline,

well-landed—could bring.

Leave a Reply