The Showcase Magazine - Articles

The Thing That Mattered

By Monica Giglio

It was the prettiest necklace I’d ever seen. The gold tone chain had a

unique hanging pendant suspended by a tiny fleur-de-lis bracket. The

mirrored oval was framed with gold tone filigree and had a bouquet of

three daisy-like flowers etched deeply into the glass with tiny

gemstones set into the delicate petals. It was breathtaking to me; the

mirror evoking a silvery tone, with the flowers outlined in gold.

I was probably eleven years old when my father unexpectedly presented

this gift to me for no special occasion. I thanked and hugged

him as he helped to clasp the necklace I proudly wore. I told him how

beautiful it was. It was not customary for dad to come home with gifts for

us, and it made me feel special. Impulsively I blurted out a question,

“Where did you get it?”

“It doesn’t matter” he replied.


Years later I realized it wasn’t real gold, and it didn’t matter. Over

time, the chain tarnished and broke and some of the gemstones

disappeared but it didn’t matter. I have held on to it for decades and

recently restrung it on a 14-karat gold chain given to me by my adult

son. When I wear it now, it still garners compliments from random



In 2009 when I prepared to say goodbye to my dad, I realized it didn’t

matter that our used cars hadn’t been the most expensive in the

neighborhood. Dad taught us to wash them in the driveway; they were

clean and they ran! It didn’t matter that he couldn’t send us all to

college; he instilled a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit so

that we could succeed in life. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t a perfect

man; he loved his family.


In his last days, my mom, siblings, grandchildren, great-grandchildren

and even his brothers were at his side. Some nights my brother played

piano melodies of many old songs we’d learned from our dad and never

heard anywhere else. Songs like “There Was A Young Farmer”, “The

Umbrella Man”, and “Let’s Sing Again”. Sitting beside my father, holding

his hand, three other brothers gathered while Plink played “Little Man

You’ve Had Busy Day”. For the first time, our dad was the “Little Man”,

and we were the ones crying. The “busy day” was his whole life, and we

all cried as the melody overflowed the room.


Some nights we sang Christmas carols accompanied by guitar and my father

made a valiant effort to sing along as the peace of the Christmas season

descended upon us in a new way, along with a strong sense of family

unity. With a few days, we each said our goodbyes and Dad breathed his

last breath. His final words to us were to “love one another” and we all

knew without saying it, love was the thing that mattered!