Today is my father's birthday. He would have been 92 today. It has been thirty-four years since his passing on May 7, 1981. He was an imperfect man just like the rest of us but he was a good , decent and honorable man. Despite the years since his passing, he is still missed by his family. There is still a void in the space he once occupied. My mother is old and tired now and talks about my father often. Her heart is ready to be with him. “That” I tell her “is up to God!”
Our family, like every family, has gone through some changes since his passing, some good, some not so good. He set the bar high for me as a man. I was lucky to have a man like him as my father. I have tried my entire adult life to be the father and the man that he was.
Once,when I was young, and had my first car, I stopped to get gas at the 76 gas station on the corner of Rosemead Blvd & Washington Blvd, in Pico Rivera. In those days the gas was about 30 cents a gallon. I asked the gas station attendant for two dollars of gas. When he was done he came up to the window and said “That'll be four dollars” ”Four dollars? I only asked for two and that's all I'm paying!” I felt justified.
I walked through front door at home and as soon as I saw my father I said “I got two dollars of free gas today!” “You did?” “How did you do that?” He asked. I told him what happened. “And you didn't pay him?” Don't you know that they're going to take that out of his pay?” All the smug joy I got from that extra two dollars of gas was suddenly gone. My father was angry at me, even worse, he was disappointed.
I went to my room for a while and when I came back out I asked my mother “Where's dad? I could see she was a upset with me too. She said “He went to the gas station to pay that extra two dollars! I don't know if I ever felt more ashamed of myself. My father never mentioned it again but I did learn a lesson that day.
This is just one of the many ways in which my father, a humble man, taught me about life. He was a good, decent and honorable man and father, no more and no less. Happy Birthday dad!!