Written By: Kim Feliciano

Kim Feliciano July 29, 2013 Dan’s Paper Essay “Mikaleech” I met him when I was nineteen. He walked into the meat department with a look of determination and wisdom. I was his part-time meat wrapper.To say that we butted heads in the beginning is putting it mildly. He was the butcher, in charge and he was going to run that department the way that “it was suppossed to be”. I was this sassy, know it all, who had to have her say at every corner. We were from two different world’s , him and I. His name was“Mickey” but I called him “Mikaleech”. Dominick Buccola was a man of Italian descent, who would talk of his life. His growing up years, his years with the Supermarket we worked for, his family. His number one in his life, his wife Ethel. They had no children, yet they seemed to just want and need each other. He talked of his home in East Qougue and about the beautiful gardens that Ethel had made all around their home. I was this 19 year old, half Puerto-Rican, married girl from Patchogue living in a two room apartment with my then husband. I didn’t have much but I did have my pride. I worked with this man for a few years and we became friends. He was my Father figure that I needed in my life. He basically just told me what he thought and how it was ,even when I didn’t want to hear it. He saw me through the birth of my first child, the impending divorce from my then husband and tried to guide me down the right path. He met my husband that I have now and have been with for the past 30 years. Mikaleech, Ethel, my husband and myself and our friend from the deli department and her husband would meet once or twice a year for dinner after we all went our seperate ways. One year, we were invited to his and Ethel’s home to meet for lunch. My friend and I has never been there before, so we were excited to go out East and visit his home. Driving to East Qougue, to Groveland Avenue was a very peaceful ride. Not that much traffic, beautiful scenery and really nice houses. My friend and I came with our children. I brought my 2 boys , she brought her one son. They were between the ages of 4-7. Let the fun begin. Pulling into their driveway, my friend and I were both in awe with our mouths open because the scenery in their yard was spectacular! All kinds of trees, different sizes. Immaculate lawn. The flowers, oh my goodness, were the perfect combination of colors and varieties from black-eyed susans , hydrangeas, even african violets. So many varieties and so pretty! It didn’t surprise me when Ethel stated that her gardens were once in “Better Homes and Gardens”. Just breath-taking. Mikaleech and Ethel had a really lovely home. The ranch style had such a comfortable stance when we walked in. They didn’t have just one piano, they had two in their living room. The den looked as comfortable as those Norman Rockwell pictures. Ethel had a lovely dinig room table set up for our lunch. Much to my and my friends embarressment, our children didn’t seem to care for their lunch and made it known. Having never had children of their own, we could see the tension and uncomfortableness that our host was experiencing. Needless to say, we kept our visit short. We visited them once more, with our husbands and older children and despite their ages, it was with love and dignity that they kept their gardens and their home just as beautiful. It was a very sad day when I recieved a phone call from Ethel, letting me know that Mikaleech wasn’t doing so well. Melonoma was taking him away. I visited my friend, in his lovely home, being tended to by a very nice hospice nurse one last time. I thanked him for all of his wisdom and patience and love that he showed towards me. He apologized for making me cry one time. I told him that I deserved it and because of his caring , it made me into a better person. I said a few words at his wake. His wife Ethel, ever so gracious passed a couple of years ago. Her nephew had taken her into his home during her last year. Few people could have an impact on ones life. Mikaleech had one on mine. I wonder if their home still is surrounded by all those beautiful gardens and trees. I guess I’ll take a drive passed there one day and see.