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VITO

When I was ten,

my mother was still waitressing, this was before she finished nursing school.

The place she worked was called the Smokeshop.

She took me there one day to meet one of the men she waited on regularly.

He was an old Italian guy named Vito, barely taller than me.

She knew I loved history,

and baseball,

and apparently so did this Vito.

My uncle Dave was cooking at the same restaurant,

the family’s renegade Razorback fan,

but he did make a good chicken fried steak.

After lunch we went to Vito’s apartment.

Vito was a huge baseball fan and there was baseball memorabilia everywhere, most of it from a bygone era.

For a boy who loved history and baseball it was quite a treat.

I thought it couldn’t get any better.

Then Vito pulled out an old shoebox and started showing me photos from his Army days.

He grinned and handed one to me he seemed particularly pleased with.

In the picture was Vito,

helmet too big for his head, short, pudgy,

awkward looking,

and next to him was a tall athletic, dark haired man, who would have been handsome if not for his oversized teeth.

I examined the picture closely,

to make sure it wasn’t a fake,

the man next to Vito was Joe Dimaggio.

Vito gave me that photo,

he signed it,

in all caps at the bottom,

VITO.

I treasured that picture for years.

It was thrown out by a harpy of an old girlfriend, along with most of my baseball cards.

Vito,

you must have passed on by now,

but know this,

though I lost the picture,

your kindness and generous spirit made a lasting impression on me,

and I can’t think about Joe D,

without thinking of VITO.

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Categories: Poetry
  1. July 2, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Cool story! Love the real-lifeness of this poem. I can just see these moments as they happen. Lovely.

  2. July 2, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Loved the story…beautiful verse from your heart 🙂

  3. July 4, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    http://itistimetothinkformyself.blogspot.com/2010/07/jingles-july-follower-awards-happy-4th.html

    Please pick 2 to 5 awards from the post.
    Enjoy the fun!
    Smiles!

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