I’m dead serious about this. Ask anyone who knows him or has spoken with him for more then 10 seconds and they will confirm that he is the greatest human being on the planet. First of all, he’s Cuban and was born in Cuba. When he was about eleven and living it up in a mansion complete with a maid and car service, Castro decided to take over and start killing people in the middle of the night for no reason…oh and he decided to take all their possessions and freedoms so my grandparents thought it best to get the hell outta there.
They actually escaped, thriller-movie style, in the middle of the night on a small plane. My father had to be put in a storage trunk (to get through airport security) and could only take a few personal items. Worst of all, he had to leave his dog Rex behind. When I was eleven, I threw a fit if I had to leave my house for 30 minutes, without at least three toys in my hand! Not my dad, he sat quietly in the carrying trunk until it was safe to come out, at which point they boarded a plane and flew over the ocean (my grandmother would later claim that she swam to freedom but that’s another blog…) until they reached the Florida Keys. My grandfather had a friend in Hartford, CT so they slowly made their way north. They were dirt poor for a very long time, never re-gaining the wealth they once knew in Cuba…not to mention they didn’t know the language or the American culture.
So, now you know just a touch of my dad’s history, and the reasons below will prove the title of this blog. And, if after reading it, you’re still clinging to some notion that you know a better, kinder, happier human being…then you’ll just have to meet him.
10. My mother died of cancer when I was 17 and my brother was 19. My father was completely devastated and became both a mother and father to us and did a better job then most fathers I know. To this day, 20 years after my mother’s death, he can’t talk about her without crying. Not tearing up but crying. He’s ALL heart!
9. When I graduated from college and wanted to move 3,000 miles away to California his heart broke at the thought but he told me to go! He wanted me to experience everything that I wanted to do. He has never been a selfish father (quite the contrary) and is the living embodiment of “if you love something, set it free.” He did, and I came back.
8. He smokes Cuban cigars (of course!) and drives a black convertible Mustang on the weekends. He will happily share his cigars to anyone who asks and will do the same with the Mustang. To my dad, possessions are just that, and he loves to share. I’m hoping this trait rubs off on the twins soon…minus the cigar smoking.
7. Jesus once asked himself “What Would Alex Do?”
6. Since English is his second language he often gets confused with American slang. Once, when he was feigning anger at my uncle he said he was going to “go down on him.” Um, nope, you’re not doing that. He also told a business customer that they should have a “three-way” with the customer’s wife at an upcoming dinner. Um, if you do that, I don’t want to know about it.
5. He never swears. I’m not sure where I got my truck driver mouth but the worst thing my dad says is “balls!” or “son of a bingo!” He actually yells it and pounds a fist on the counter. This is the only way we can tell he’s really upset. It happens about once every decade.
4. Last year, I asked him (pleaded, begged and argued my various points!) to vote for the presidential candidate I wanted, as we were not in agreement. He did it and afterward told me it was the “worst day of his life.” Please see #10 where my mother died in his presence. The point is that he will do absolutely anything for me, even if he doesn’t agree, when he knows I’m passionate about something. It’s just another way he supports me and this is one example among thousands!
3. My dad hands out gift cards like candy, especially at Christmas. He’s the type to tip everybody and he especially appreciates those who have thankless jobs because he’s picked tobacco and worked at Radio Shack. This past Christmas a co-worker of his told him that because of his generous gift card, her kids were going to have a better Christmas. He cried telling me this story and said it was such a gift to him to hear that!
2. His dream vacation was to go with his entire family, and especially his four grand kids, to Disney World. That dream came true this past January. Everyone on the trip, at some point, wanted to get on a solo flight home because we were with four kids under the age of five at freaking Disney World! Not my dad, he loved every minute and he is a hands-on grandfather.
1. I know this as a fact: My dad loves me unconditionally. There’s no better feeling in the world. He recently sent me an email saying that the twins were the greatest gift I could have ever given him. I can’t make this stuff up!
I could count 100 more ways but the point is, every single day I am grateful for my dad. Who needs Father’s Day? And, because he is super human, I’m convinced he will live forever. Happy Day Dad! I couldn’t love you more!
If you know my dad – give a shout out. If not, tell me why your dad is the greatest!