Mark’s Musings – April 17, 2019

| April 17, 2019

Mark Fortune

I knew this day would come. For my own selfish reasons I wanted to delay the inevitable as long as possible. But we are all destined for life on this earth to end. Robert M. “Pinky” Fortune, Dad to me, was the greatest man that I have ever known or ever will know. And I was able to tell him that many times during the past few months. His eyes would brighten and the smile that so many people have come to know over the years would light up his face. I just wanted him to know.

What made him special? There are so many stories that could be shared by so many people and while many of them would have a common theme, each would be weaved within the tapestry that was just Pinky. They would all be just a little bit different.

The boot shop is where I cut my teeth and learned how to talk to people, sell and take care of customers. As one of my brothers said, “Working at the boot shop was our rite of passage as a Fortune”. Yes it was. And it’s still in the family now 70 years strong.

A special time for me came each Sunday morning when Dad and I would get up early and deliver The Tribune to my customers in Roscoe and on West Chestnut St. A few of them were the same customers that Dad delivered to when he was a boy. As we headed down Whitewoman Street past the nursing home we always found ourselves at the L & K Restaurant where we stopped for milk with coffee and warm Danish with butter. Lots of butter. To say that I learned a lot about life on those early Sunday mornings would be a vast understatement.

I didn’t always follow his advice. And to his credit, he let me – Shawn, Dana and Brent – go our own way and make our own decisions. Some we made right, some we didn’t but life has worked out. Dad always believed that it would if you were to “Dig, Fight & Scratch Every Day”. That was his motto and he would tell us that often in conversations, notes and letters of encouragement.

The one thing I will miss the most is that Dad was always there for us. Encouraging, giving advice, and yes, sometimes even a kick in the butt if we needed it. We didn’t need many of those because I think deep down none of the four of us wanted to let him or mom down. Dad never really set expectations in the literal sense – we just knew that they existed and we tried hard to meet them.

To say that my Dad is my hero would be putting it mildly. There are many reasons. Here’s one you may not know about – I saw him visit my Grandma Fortune (his mom Thelma) in the nursing home every single day – and sometimes twice a day – putting her to bed in the evening for several years. That is an example that is hard to follow.

You know, when I think about it, Dad always seemed to be in the right place at the right time throughout his life and the years at 514 Main Street will always be some of my favorite memories. To all of you that knew him, thank you for being his friend. I feel blessed, honored, privileged and humbled to call Pinky Fortune my Dad.

Category: Mark's Musings, Opinion

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