Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Recipe Of A Mad Man

3,2,1....3,2,1....3 rock, 2 sand, 1 cement. Repeat....3 rock, 2 sand, 1 cement. this is the recipe for making concrete. 3 parts rock, 2 parts sand, and 1 part cement. i've been repeating this formula since i was drinking formula(milk that is). i have no memories where concrete was not part of my life. even when i was playing in the sand box with my brothers, i was actually pretending to mix concrete. we would spend hours in that sand box paving pretend roads and making everything you could imagine out of concrete. and now here i am, almost 30 years on from those days, and i am still mixing concrete. just in the past month we've poured a concrete floor, concrete steps, concrete beams, and concrete headers. how did my life turn out this way? what the heck? every story needs a hero, and all hero's need their villain. growing up scibetta means i had both villain and hero in one lead character...... my father.

what possesses a man to learn a trade and then abandon it at the drop of a hat? where does one find the drive and the time to learn how to fly, how to sail, and then lose the interest almost immediately? who goes out and plants a substantial vineyard in their backyard, has grapes shipped to his house from half way round the world, spends countless hours honing his skill in making wine, and then suddenly destroys all his hard work, and decides he will plant peach trees instead? who gets licensed in hvac, cdl, and electrical, followed by pastry classes, massage school, and culinary classes, just to drop them all at the blink of an eye? who would imagine learning how to do body work and welding because they had nothing better to do? the answer to this is the very man who had the idea to bring five boys into this world and with all that knowledge and experience he would teach them.... concrete. you would call him crazy. i call him dad.

(my father- relaxing)

meet michael anthony scibetta. he gave us the gift of life and then taught us a trade that at times makes us wish that we had never been born. my father is a man who has honestly learned all those things i wrote in the preceding paragraph. he learned those things in his "free time", his secular job since i've known him has been pouring and finishing concrete. my childhood memories are incased in concrete. my bothers and i have concrete handprints all over the town that we grew up in. when he would drop us off at school in his work truck he would sing songs through the speaker he rigged outside of his truck as he drove away. when the school bus dropped us off at home, he would again, sing songs to the other children while he was finishing concrete. we had the most useless areas of concrete around our house. i kid you not, we had a helicopter pad in our backyard JUST IN CASE a helicopter was ever flying by and needed somewhere to land. he built a little cottage out of concrete pavers that he had acquired from a previous job. he built concrete pools and concrete fountains. when i was a child he once invited his employees over for a barbecue. when they showed up, minutes later three concrete trucks showed up behind them. he said," let's just pour my driveway, then we'll eat." this is my father. he is this stories villain.

so for nearly two decades, their has always been at least two scibetta boys that have worked in the family business. at our dysfunctional peak, the five of us actually worked together. while we were seldom productive, and frequently late to any job we were working on, we definitely managed to have a good time. i dare to say... great times. in large part, this is my fathers doing. he trained us, he raised us, he bought us baseball gloves that went on our dominant hand. we had no choice, we were going to be concrete finishers. so when i look back over the decades i've spent in this profession, my mind is littered with concrete moments. some of those moments were really tough days and tough times. but they were always spent with family, and that makes them good memories. and now here i am, half way round the world, mixing and pouring concrete on a tiny island in the blazing hot middle of nowhere. at times i can't help but wonder how i got here. not in my wildest dreams did i ever picture this scenario. maybe my dad did all those years ago, when we were playing in the sandbox. what we called playing, he called training, a mad man teaching his children his recipe. and the only man i could imagine being crazy enough to be a stories villain and it's hero. a better life i could not ask for. a trade i've been taught that has lead to the greatest adventure of my life. a profession learned that has brought me closer to my family. and a family that has taught me the importance of having a wonderful mother. dad i know you will read this one day. you are crazy, but i love you. thank you for the recipe.


  1. I absolutely love it and I bet your dad will too! I don’t think anyone has a story book father, just plain crazy ... but you love them for it! Very well written. Take care buddy!


  2. The tribute to a man who for you is a dichotomy between protagonist and antagonist was--beautiful. Lost my dad tragically in January. Reading about yours made me think of some happy times with mine. Thank you. Continue to treasure your family. I must go wipe my sweating eyes...

  3. I must say, that was a touching love story . . . love for life, love for work, love for family, and love for the privilege of serving one's creator. While the majority are discontented with their lives, no matter what they have, it is good to know that there is one man on a cusp of volcanic rim, in the middle of the Pacific, whose only possessions are a few changes of clothes and a mind full of memories, who is content and happy. Your Dad and your Mom should feel flattered. They do!
    Signed - One Crazy Papa.

  4. That was actually amusing and thought-provoking at the same time...thanx..

  5. come on matthew! you're killing me! everytime i read something you wrote, i get all teary eyed. you have always had a way with words, whether being completely annoying, obnoxious, or adorable. [ mostly annoying though ;)] that was a beautiful story so thank you for sharing that with us all. the good, the bad, and the crazy make us who we are today. i think you turned out pretty ok...

  6. I wish that all fathers realized what yours did...REALIZED.....Wonderful story. And, I will use the typo, (maybe not a typo)"bothers"on my brothers, from now on....<3