“You promise to be in and out right?”, I say to my dad as he opens up the car door to grab the takeout food.
“Yes Joey, I will only be two minutes,” he says.
As I play on my phone, two minutes turns into five, then ten, then twenty. Eventually I am fed up. I storm inside to find him sitting there talking with a group of guys. I don’t recognize them, but I figure they must be some old friends. He is vividly telling them a story of his high school football days with only his “Italian hands” doing more work than his mouth. The men listen intently and barely notice my existence as I watch from the doorway. Finally, the punchline hits and the men burst into laughter.
My dad finally sees me at the door. He tells the men he has to go, but they should go play golf sometime. He proceeds to walk around and give every guy a handshake at the table.
“You aren’t running for Mayor of Lewiston, let’s go,” I think to myself.
As we walk outside I ask him, “who were those guys?”
“I have no idea, I just met them,” he says.
The story encapsulates my dad. Outgoing and talkative, while always willing to share a story with whoever would listen. The definition of a “people person”.
Today marks the five-year anniversary of his death. Although my heart is heavy, I think the best way to honor him is to reminisce in the good times and the positive impact that my dad, Vince Laurendi Jr., had on all our lives.
My dad was a family man, he was there for everything growing up. Birthdays, games, graduations, it didn’t matter where or what time, he wasn’t going to miss it. For a man who worked full time and was part of what seemed like every board of governors, that was no small feat.
One part of my dad I didn’t realize until after his death was what a great boss he was. At his wake, there were many unfamiliar faces that had come to pay their respects. Once they got to me they would say something along the lines of, “Your dad was my boss at Adelphia. He was the best one I ever had.”
At the time, this didn’t hit home for me. But as I have grown up, I see how important it is to have a boss that cares for their employees. I think it is evident that my dad’s employees cared just as much for him.
Lastly, he loved his friends. It felt like my dad was friends with everyone in Western New York. We could never just “stop by” somewhere. It was a full process in which he would ask about everyone their family and catch up on every story. He asked because he genuinely cared about their lives. This was a trait he had to his very last days on earth.
I like to think of the legacy that my dad has left behind. One of a man who was outgoing and full of life. I honestly feel like he left a positive impact on everyone that he encountered.
From time to time, I will have someone say to me “Are you Vince’s son?” With a big smile, I respond with, “Of course, I am.” I am so proud to be his son.