Mummer Jimmy Passio's Final Parade

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In his prime, Jim Passio Sr., here with sister Antoinette, always marched the Mummers Parade. He taught his sons to do the same. His memory was honored with a parade on Tuesday. (Family photo)

While I was glad to have written this week about the passing of lifelong Mummer Jimmy Passio Sr., the 87-year-old patriarch of the Passio Fife and Drum Band who died on Dec. 23rd, I kept thinking, afterward, that the column was incomplete.

Sure, it shared the story of how, for years, Jimmy Sr. had told his family that, when he died, he'd like to go out with one last parade - a wish the family accommodated after his funeral on Tuesday.

(CBS-3 was there for the final strut, when cruel winds and Arctic temperatures were no match for the warmth and love that escorted Jimmy's ashes along the South Philly streets he'd loved and called home.)

But the column needed a soundtrack - something sweet and optimistic to balance the somber mood of the Passio family these days. Not only have they lost Jimmy Sr., but last month they also buried Jimmy's 82-year-old sister, Antoinette.

And this morning they will lay to rest his sister-in-law, Angelina Colma Norton, 87, who died just three days after Jimmy did.

In honor of all our wise, departed elders (including my friend Frances Gordon, whom I blogged about yesterday), let's give a listen here to one of Jimmy Sr.'s favorite songs, "Happy Days Are Here Again" (sung in fabulous duet with "Get Happy").  In the new year, may we all know know well its most hopeful line:

"Your cares and troubles are gone; There'll be no more from now on."

 Be well, everyone. Happy days in 2010 to us all.

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