I still look behind myself from the first row at Mineola’s Village Hall on Wednesdays, thinking John DaVanzo is sitting there, third row, far right. Before the packed Village Green hearings, where a seat was a hot commodity, no one sat there.
I’m not sure if it’s happenstance or perhaps meeting attendees (I’m usually one of seven) realize that spot belonged to John. Even after his passing almost one year ago, his spirit is all over Mineola, at the pool that holds his name, MJFD pasta dinner, tree lighting and definitely next April, during Organization Night.
Lunches with John were always a treat, as he’d never let me pay. Except, one time when I slipped a check past him at the now defunct Shakers.
Boy was he angry, but in a playful way.
When I sit in Nick’s at Station Plaza, a spot we often shared a burger, a heartfelt calm washes over my shoulders. I know John is nearby, waiting for his iced tea. As I walked through Memorial Park before the reconstruction, I can almost see his lawn chair, stage left and ready to watch the Summer Concert Series.
With a heavy heart as I write this, I cherish the days I enjoyed with Mr. Mineola around town…his town.
Bless you John.