Some things in life are just out of our control and even a lot of wishing won't make it any better. My Dad's side of the family was never really close. He lost his mom to influenza when he was only nine, and he always claimed this loss was devastating to him and his younger brother. I'm sure it was. The boys were pretty much left to their own devices. Their father worked for the railroad. He was at home but in a constant struggle with the bottle, and as a result disappeared for weeks at a time leaving the pre-teen boys on their own in their Brackett Street apartment. Not good at all. As I recall, my encounters with Grampa Mike were few and usually took place on Sunday mornings. He showed up after attending Mass and was always impeccably dressed in a white shirt, tie and black suit. As he and Dad sipped Balantines, he fired questions at me, "Doing well in school? Got a girlfriend? Playing ball? Helping your mom around the house?", almost never waiting for my answer. I haven't got a lot of memories of the man, but everytime I come upon someone sippin' a Balantine or a Narragansett in a bar, I can't help but see an image flash by of him and Dad on the livingroom couch with those green bottles at the ready. Regrets? I've had a few. Not being able to get to know him better is one. Bottoms up!