Happy Father’s Day, Pop

My dad’s pocket knife.

“All what we have learned about manhood is what we have seen and what we have heard from our fathers. My father was my hero.” ~ Bruce Springsteen.

Been trying to do this post for a few weeks now.

But, work got in the way.

Life got in the way.

Things got in the way.

Or so I told myself.

Tribute posts are tough.

Tribute posts to the person who quite possibly molded and shaped you into much of who you are are really, really tough.

Not sure how this will go, but let’s give it a try, on this Father’s Day 2021.

Last month, on May 4, my dad passed away.

I hadn’t seen him since March of 2020. That length of time did not deaden the impact of the phone call, from my Mom, when it came it.

I’m also 51. I knew Pop (he was Dad for 85% of my life. At some point, in my 30s, maybe, I started calling him Pop. Not sure why. But then my kids started calling him Pop. So, he’s Pop.) was in decline these last few years.

The quadruple bypass surgery a few years ago decimated him. He never fully recovered.

It was a slow wind-down. And the clock struck zero on May 4.

I was ready for the call, to be honest.

I want to say he had a good life, but, honestly, I don’t know.

I mean, he had a loving wife (and caregiver) for many long years. My sister is doing well with her family. He had five grandkids that love him.

But, did he set out to do what he wanted in life? Was he happy? Fulfilled? Content?

I’m sure he had dreams and aspirations.

I’m not sure I/we were ever privy to what they were, though

Vince Krajnak did his job in this life. He worked a challenging, stressful job but never brought it home.

Didn’t drink, didn’t smoke.

Cut the lawn on Wednesdays. Went to church on Sundays.

Ate what was put in front of him.

He was a lunch-pail guy. He toted it and did what he had to do to lead a good life and support a family.

He wasn’t a Springsteen fan (did like Sam Cooke though), but after he passed, it dawned on me he WAS like a character in a Springsteen song.

The type of man Bruce describes in during his Springsteen on Broadway rendition of My Father’s House (click the link above) > blue collar, doing what he needed to do to help his family, no fuss, no muss.

Just a man living his life. And, hopefully, one that made him happy.

Dad’s pocket knife – no idea where he acquired it from – hung in our shed for years. He used it when the time came.

I coveted it, and often, he told me “Go ahead, take it. I won’t use it again.”

I always said “Nope, not until you won’t be able to take it off the hook anymore.”

That day came on May 4, 2021.

I went home, then, for a few days, to help my mom out with things.

Later that week, coming back to New Jersey, I brought the pocketknife home with me.

A pocket knife as a metaphor for my Dad:

Low key.


Able to help out no matter what.

Depended upon.


I can’t write a good remembrance, Vincent P. Krajnak, a man of few words.

Too much to say. And I’m not good enough to say it.

But on this Father’s Day, I’m just remembering Vince.



The biggest influence on my life.

Bar none.

Rest in peace, Pop.

Thanks for handing over the pocket knife.

I’ll do my best with what it represents to me.


© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2021

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7 thoughts on “Happy Father’s Day, Pop

  1. Beautiful tribute to your dad, Mark. I’m sorry for your loss. My dad passed in ‘90…he was only 53 years old. Quadruple bypass—then lived another five years. RIP to all the great fathers. Happy Father’s Day.

  2. That is some beautiful writing about your pop. I wouldn’t be able to hold it together so soon, let alone write so eloquently. Happy Pops day to you too

    On Sun, Jun 20, 2021 at 1:09 AM JerseyStyle Photography wrote:

    > Mark posted: ” “All what we have learned about manhood is what we have > seen and what we have heard from our fathers. My father was my hero.” ~ > Bruce Springsteen. Been trying to do this post for a few weeks now. But, > work got in the way. Life got in the way.” >

  3. Beautiful tribute to your Pop. Treasure that pocket knife and have it ready for one of the boys to have one day (far, far from now)! I didn’t know your Pop, but I can say a father’s dream is always to see their children grow up to be good people. And you are truly a good one! Sorry for your loss.

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