By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY, FEB. 5-6, 2013) — THE PLANET will not rush back into full swing until we are full ready. That’s based on the wise advice of one of our loyal correspondents, Giacommetti. With “Know thyself” having been one of our life-long mottoes, two words that accompany a philosophy of self-revelation and introspection, we can say that we shall be back in the saddle soon.
This is not to rush anything but rather to know that THE PLANET is of a sort who would find this, and does find this, exercise therapeutic. We can’t write our way out of helping loved ones cope with private grief, but we can write ourselves into a form of useful public service with these humble words.
Let us now clarify our loss: MRS. PLANET‘s father, Michael C. Baccoli of Lee, died on Friday.
The Quintessential ‘Good Man’
Dad was the quintessential “good man.” By profession, he worked as a deli manager at local markets, retiring as from the Great Barrington Big Y some years ago. By home, he was the old-school definition of a man: hard worker, put bread (the eating kind and spending kind) on the table for his wife, Mary, and his five children, and stoic. Life does a number on all of us, with just the day-to-day stains and stresses enough to make most people cry out in frustration or complain endlessly to their hairdresser or bartender. Mike Baccoli defined “stoic”: uncomplaining, patient, taking the highs in their stride, and refusing to wallow in the valleys of the low.
Death hits every family, and it does so with the subtlety of a steam roller. You can never prepare for the moment. For me, personally, the most difficult part is the helplessness. I am doing what I can, of course, to “be there” for the Baccoli family and especially for my sweet wife. I know it is not enough. I also felt a diffuse anger, that death should be our condition, without exception. A holy woman told me, “It’s OK to be angry at God. He can take it.”
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We can honestly say we enjoyed every minute we ever spent with Mike Baccoli, at barbecues, ballgames, or hanging around as he enjoyed his favorite pastime, his gardening. He grew tomatoes, pole beans, lettuce, garlic, and almost every other garden treat you could imagine the way Teddy Ballgame smacked a baseball around ballparks of the American League. We’d have to perform inventory, but off hand, we could say he was perhaps the easiest man with whom we’ve ever had the honor to spend time. That’s why he made Big Y, and Adams Supermarket, and others before them ring up beaucoup bucks in their delis. He should have won the Mr. Customer Service Award every year in a row. Simply put, he loved people and the public. He greeted everyone as a friend, and many left his counter feeling the same way.
Mike, Dad: He is missed, but he’s the one in a better place.
EACH STORM-SOAKED FLOWER HAS A BEAUTIFUL EYE — VACHEL LYNSDAY
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE”
LOVE TO ALL.