He Just Knows How to Live Well

ZIP 7089 He Just Knows How to Live WellMy father-in-law, Bob Bussolari, is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known.

Case in point. When I called to wish him happy 85th birthday earlier this month, he eagerly described his plan to celebrate the big day – a 3 hr zip lining experience (yes, you read that right: zip lining) with his son Mike and grandson Bryan.   I gasped, of course, but knew him well enough to bite my tongue.  I told him how he reminded me of President Bush Sr and his annual crazy birthday adventures, to which Dad replied in that classic Bob Bussolari way, “I thought about jumping from an airplane, but that’s for wimps.  You have to jump tethered to an instructor.  That’s not for me.  There’s no freedom there.”

See picture attached.   Freedom there.  (and did I tell you he’s 85?)

When I first met my husband Steve, he told me so many stunning stories about his father.

I wondered how someone could have so many extraordinary adventures packed into one life.  He sounded like a combination between Indiana Jones and Angus MacGyver.  Could this man be for real?

Plus he seemed to have 9 Lives like a cat: nearly crushed by a truck when he was a kid working on one of CT’s many tobacco farms; lying his way into the service during WW2 and then getting shot in Trieste at war’s end; getting injured in a lab explosion cooking up some combustible liquid while pursuing his grad degree in chemical engineering at NYU; surviving cancer in his salivary glands as a young father; etc etc etc.

Steve worshipped him, as I worshipped my own father.  We were kindreds.

When I finally met Dad, the guy I thought had to be at least 6’6” in bare feet actually stood as tall as I was – 5’5”, maybe 5’6”.  OK, 5’8” with shoes.   I loved him from the first second.  He was fun and funny and smart and very much alive, with that mischievous twinkle in his eyes.  Always up for an adventure.  A natural engineer, he could fix or build anything.  He was electric.  And wildly interesting.

Dad and I have disagreed on a few topics, like politics (I’m a lefty and he is not), feminism (I’m a feminist and he’s more, uh, traditional, shall we say) and gun control and the Second Amendment.   We argued a lot about that last one since I detested violence of all kinds, having been raised in it.  One time I wanted to go along with Dad and Steve on one of their duck hunting adventures because, although my own father taught us how to shoot guns, I had never gone hunting and wanted to understand its appeal.  My father-in-law, who always said yes to me, said no.  No???  No.  I think he thought I would leap up and scare the ducks away…truth be told, I might’ve.  I was hurt but I respected Dad’s boundary.  And loved him all the more.

That’s the thing about him.  You just respect, admire and love him no matter what.

Fast forward to years later.  (In the interim he broke his collarbone dirt bike racing after his son Mike’s competitive dirt biking event and had too many other zany, envelope-pushing experiences to mention in one blog.  But you get the point.  This man lives full throttle.)  He and his equally magnificent wife Pat live in loving service to others as a team, offering care and support to whomever wherever they are (they travel). Need a reiki treatment?  Prayers?  Advice?  A glass of wine and Pat’s renown appetizers?  A quiet conversation on the beach?  They’re in. They are the anchors of a large extended family of the most wonderful people you will ever meet.  Every one of their children, all 8 Bussolari sibs, is an extraordinary human being, known each in their own way for extreme competence, over-the-top smarts and a loving heart.  (Oh, and I did say physical beauty?  This is one great looking family.)  All 17 of the grandkids are wonderful (and also great looking) people, too, as are the Bussolari spouses.   This is a family that seeks adventure, freedom and fun.  Inherited from Dad, I’m sure.

To me, Dad is timeless.  His Italian father and Swedish mother lived well into their 90s, mentally clear and healthy to the end.  I expect that my competitive father-in-law will best them there, too, maybe showing us all how to live full throttle past 100.

Happy birthday, Dad, and many many more.  You rock, Baby, and I love you with all my heart.  Thank you for loving me right back.

Less Stress, More Success

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Our book group just read your book and it sparked more conversation than we’ve had in the seven years we’ve been reading together. Being successful professionals with busy lives and even busier children, we’re all trying to figure out how to find the time to just stop and enjoy our lives amidst so much pressure. Some of us find ourselves quoting you to our husbands and kids now, so you are our hero. ;-)
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