Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

This man is my dad. When I was little, every Monday through Friday at 5:30 PM, after hearing his car pull into the driveway, I would hide behind the front door of the house where I grew up in Pleasant Hill, Ca, waiting for him to open it, then jump out and yell "Daddy-O!!!!!!", and he would act surprised every single time.

It was behind the door of this house in Napa, CA that he grew up. My dad and I went to Napa yesterday, to re-visit the memories that this once small town still holds. He pointed out many houses and locations that were the scene of many of the stories of his past I have heard before, and a few new ones too.

We found the niche of my Grandmother Madonna, who I never got to meet, & been told I look very much like.

We found the house of his father and his second wife, my Grandma Helen.

And of course there was FOOD involved. In fact an important part of the reason of our road trip was to get a special treat for his birthday dinner.

If you have any history with Napa, you must know of this place. It was once the Depot Restaurant, home of the delicious Malfatti, and many great memories. The Depot has closed, but if you ever have a hankering for GREAT Italian food, you need to follow our lead and head to Clemente/Val's Liquors in Napa, where the previous cook/owner from The Depot is still dishing out century old authentic Italian handmade recipes. Clemente himself & his family will even carry your order to your car, give you a kiss & a hug and send you on your way.

We had a surprise guest at his birthday dinner tonight--his lifelong friend Harold Haloran, who helped us celebrate and eat Dad's favorite cake--Banana Nut, made by my sister Joan. Happy Birthday, Dad. You've always been my hero. It was your day, but I feel like I got the gift.


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  2. What a wonderful way to celebrate his birthday! I know it was special for both of you. It is such a quaint area with beautiful old homes...he must have really enjoyed being able to share it with you but I agree that you were the one that got the gift...these times are so precious.

  3. Ok! Jan, you got me. There's a lump in my throat and I didn't even eat any Malfatti.
    I knew this trip would be a gift to you as well as your Dad. Glad you had such a wonderful time.
    Thanks for the photos and a few memories of my own.
    Happy Birthday Mr. M. You've got a lovely daughter.