Last week we went to a funeral for Don Irwin, one of my father’s best friends. They had both grown up in Argentina and had emigrated to the US. Don went on to become a US congressman and mayor of Norwalk, CT. His family and ours were very close. One of my earliest memories is of driving down to visit them in Washington DC. They were always at the Argentine asados my father threw on an annual basis. When my parents would go away for much needed R&R from us, some of us would stay at the Irwins.
Don was always cheerful and kind of a happy go lucky guy. He and my father had a great friendship and I think that watching them taught me how to be a good friend. Don gave my father the job of DPW commissioner which was a left turn for Pop, having had no experience in public works. But the workforce was spanish and needed to be communicated with and that’s where Pop came in. The job only lasted a few years but it was one of the best times my dad had.
I have really good friends and they are among the things I value most. I believe that watching my father and Don joke around and support each other and talk about all kinds of topics and share music and family showed me how to cultivate this wonderful gift.