September 13, 1935

Sam in chaps

This picture came up on my FB page today and honestly there is a lot to unpack — so, some thoughts of Sam as we approach what would have been his 84th birthday. I, his birthday present, will turn 53 a few days later. 

First of all, our tiny little Cape Cod in Willoughby, Ohio. Danny was born here. There was literally no room for a dishwasher in the tiny kitchen and I did that for ten years. 

Then, wee Dan. So little and blonde! So helpful. He has a remarkable sense of Grandpa Sam, although he was only eight when he died. I’m grateful for that, and now he can still do funny stories about and impressions of Sam. He is also naturally Sam-esque, or rather has what I consider to be a strong Sablack gene that creates talkative, charming, darkly handsome men. I would point you to my brother Michael, my cousins Ray and Colin, my nephew Tyler (a superstar in kindergarten and from birth), my Uncle George, and my Uncle David — who died young and was as I recall very funny and glamorous but maybe on the crazier side of crazy. 

So, Sam looks particularly badass here but his looks and attire are actually utilitarian and not something he usually went around in. He was really too old to be riding his motorcycle that far (back home to Martinsburg, WV, where he rented an apartment in my aunt’s home) but he didn’t like to give anything up that wasn’t absolutely necessary. He did however take good care of his clothes and his appearance in general and put time and effort into how he looked.

Fun fact: he met my beautiful mother while selling shoes at Woodward & Lothrop (“Woody’s”) in Washington DC in the early 60s.

I love how gracefully he is reaching down to take whatever Danny is handing him. 

It also reminds me of how he liked to proclaim that he didn’t care for children or babies or puppies or kittens and although he really did hate cats all of these creatures would naturally crawl all over him if he sat still long enough.