Every father seems a big man to his daughter, and mine was no exception. Big, as in hero. Big, as in physical size. Big, as in larger-than-life persona who dominated any space he entered.
Later, after he died, and when I was grown up, I discovered that my childhood perception of his physical size was not a matter of perception but of actual fact. A friend and I were going to a Halloween costume party. My mother kindly loaned Joe my father's white dress naval uniform—the one he wore at the Metropolitan Opera—so that we could go as Lieutenant Pinkerton and Cio-Cio San from "Madama Butterfly." Joe was a big man, but even so, we had to stuff the front of the jacket with a small pillow to keep it from hanging off him like a limp rag. My father was a big man.