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Monday, June 3, 2013

Tribute to My Father

 With Father’s Day around the corner I felt the need to render a tribute to my wonderful father. Going as far back as I can remember (probably the age of 3 or 4 years old), I remember feeling comfortable and safe in the presence of my father.  Whatever I wanted, was readily available to me.  I also remember that my father was not big on expressing his love with words.  I was 42 years old when he first said I love you (to me).  It was significant enough that I remember the moment to this day.  I was at the Ontario Airport, ready for my return flight home from one of my annual visit.  I had already crossed the security gate so I couldn’t even react properly.  I recall that it was a long walk to boarding the airplane, and I just kept replaying the moment in my mind over and over.  I had always known that my father loved me, but this time he actually said the words.
In any case there was much more to my relationship with my father (see Post: Father and Son Reunited,  My father and mother separated and soon after divorced when I was 8 years old.  I didn’t see my father again until the summer that I turned 16.  Within a week of the reunion it was like we had never been apart.  I never lived near my father, and I visited whenever possible never letting any more than a couple of years go by without seeing him.  I called him 3 or 4 times per year.
After I divorced and remarried my wife and I discussed that life goes way too fast, and with her support and encouragement agreed that I should visit my father at least once per year and twice where possible.  I personally wanted to make sure that I didn’t have regrets later in life at not having spent enough time with my father.  I even arranged for my father to come and visit us in the Northwest after he retired.
I am in the process of writing a book (working title: East Lincoln) and the following is an excerpt from that book:
As a toddler, I remember that my family's favorite past time was to go for walks around the midtown plaza. It seems in Mexico every town of decent size has a central plaza where people visit to relax and enjoy either as couples, family or even individuals just to read or people watch, as a way to pass the time of day. Plaza Globitos was our plaza. Our plaza was a city block square with a kiosk at the center, concrete paths that crisscrossed, and benches strategically placed so people of all ages could enjoy their time at the plaza. Vendors sold helium filled balloons, corn on the cob churros, mangos on a stick, and more. Shoe shine boys were everywhere plying their trade. You could see young men and women courting, walking hand in hand enjoying their time together.

Across the street was my mom & dad's favorite movie theater. When we tired of hanging out at the plaza we would cross the street and catch a movie. At the time the popular movie stars were Pedro Infante, Maria Felix, Jorge Negrete, and many others but these were definitely among the "A-List."

One of my fondest memories as a toddler is that we would go for long walks on the beach (Tampico is a city on the Gulf of Mexico), and whenever I got tired I would simply run a few steps ahead of my parents, turn around and raise my arms over my head and either one would carry me the rest of the way. For some reason life has never again been that simple or accommodating. Trust me there has been many times in my wonderful existence when I wish I could just raise my arms over my head and someone would carry me at least for a while.
This year marks the 10th anniversary that my father passed away, I miss not having him a phone call away.  “Happy Father’s Day,” to my hero, my dad.  The best is yet to come…

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