I received a surprise invitation for lunch this afternoon. My wife Janice, suggested we go to our favorite Italian Restaurant, Ilio DiPaolo’s Ringside Lounge. It prompted me to post the following piece:

Ilio DiPaolo

A man among men,
a towering teddy bear
with a heart of gold
and the Midas touch
with children and Fagioli.

A professional wrestler in the golden age,
before the mass media theatrics,
and soap opera story lines,
Ilio played both sides of
his rope lined office.

But his renown and fame came after the ring,
as restaurateur was Ilio’s acclaim,
a gentle giant with a table side manner
quick with the greeting and a lively banter
laced with his strong Abruzzian accent.

A fifth anniversary dinner at his “Ringside Lounge”,
brought the “newlyweds” and their four year old Melissa,
To dine and be regaled by the wrestling memorabilia.
A daughter in awe of the Romanesque portrait
of this Adonis in grappling gear.

He emerged from the kitchen; to initiate his small talk
and devour my daughter’s young face with his large meaty hands,
planting a kiss on the forehead of his “Little Sweetie”.
She made the connection, as did he. His departure prompted her response.
“Daddy, that Mr. Apollo was a nice man!”

Author Note:  Ilio DiPaolo was a local Buffalo Celebrity. He died in 1995 after being struck by a car during a torrential downpour. Ilio DiPaolo was indeed, a nice man.



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