Mad for…Steve

There is no better relation than a prudent and faithful friend. –Benjamin Franklin

When our six (collective) boys were quite small, I had taken possession of Vinny, Dom and Anthony Ferrucci one afternoon. As good friends with little ones know, this was not at all unusual. I always found it easiest to entertain my guys when friends were around anyway. We adored those kids then, as now. The Ferrucci boys and Thieme boys have truly grown up alongside one another. This particular day, I pulled into the Ferrucci driveway to return their three guys, and I opened the sliding door on my minivan. As I tussled with car seats, plastic “Happy Meal” toys fell out onto the ground, along with a few stray french fries and a partially smashed bag of goldfish crackers that the toddlers, Anth and Zach, had been munching on. My dear friend Steve Ferrucci happened to be outside working in his perfectly coifed yard, and I am fairly certain he began to twitch a skosh.

Ferruch came bounding towards me and he encouraged me to go inside with the guys and chat with Julie while he cleaned up the van. Forty-five minutes later, after having essentially detailed the interior of my mom-mobile, Steve smiled and handed me a Mike’s Car Wash coupon and suggested I drive through on the way home and then I would officially have a fresh start for the week! Now, some folks might be a touch humiliated by this unraveling of events, but as for yours truly…not a chance!! I have no pride and thought my cleaned up minivan was SPECTACULAR! This was the day, however, that it finally occurred to me to look around and notice that Steve’s garage was cleaner than any room in my home HAS EVER BEEN. Also, now my van looked like it could be for sale on the used car lot down the street, and OH MY GOODNESS my friend Steve is most certainly OCD!

As a surprise to me, one year while I was out of town on vacation, Steve broke into my house and completely cleaned and reorganized my pantry. He texted me when he had completed the job. “Shell, do you have any idea how many bags of freezer pops you own?” I smiled to myself and replied, “Umm…lots?” Suffice it to say, we would NEVER make it as a couple. However, as a friend, Steve is absolutely top drawer.

Because his work ethic is second to none, and his generosity of spirit is laudable, I have deep respect for my uber-intelligent lawyer friend. I am certain without a doubt that if I called truly needing him at any time of the day or night, Ferruch would be on my doorstep in short order. Steve is also compassionate, faith-filled, honest and funny. After a couple of beers, his east coast accent starts to reveal itself and his already terrific laugh takes on new volume. He has a deliciously wicked sense of humor and is fiercely competitive.

For instance, when our youngest boys were about 7 years old, he was coaching them both and his Skiles Test “Red Sox” (of course) baseball team, trying hard to encourage them to a come from behind victory. It was hot, and they were a tad lethargic. Steve strided over to the dugout and at top volume he asked his players, “Are you guys going to MAIL IT IN today or what??!” At that point, one little man raised his hand high for all to see and hollered back, “I’ll do it, Coach! I’ll mail it in!!” AND THAT IS WHEN I LOST IT! I don’t know if I have laughed so hard since then to be honest.

Coach Steve has given countless hours to so many children and families by coaching kids over the years in various sports, but most notably baseball. He loves everything Boston– the Patriots, Red Sox, and his alma mater Boston College just for starters. He’s ministered to friends at their time of greatest need, and he’s been deeply involved at his parish, St. Louis de Montfort. He’s often spotted attending early morning daily masses, and I am certain that it’s the grace of frequent receipt of the sacraments that sustains him.

He’s a loving dad to his three guys and his incredible wife Julie is one of my dearest friends. As you can see in the above photo of my Zach with Steve after a big hoops victory, my guys are crazy about him too! One of my most favorite verses in the bible is from the book of Sirach, “Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth. Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; those who fear God will find them.” This is exactly how I feel about the Ferrucci family.

Today is Steve’s birthday, and I’m fairly certain he may have been dreading this edition of “Mad for 2019” because, frankly, there’s just so much phenomenal material available. The truth is, though, he’s a terrific man and think his presence in my life is a blessing from the Lord. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FERRUCH!! I love you. You’re the only person who could make me ever consider cheering for the Patriots– that is real love my friend!!