Friday, November 16, 2018

Eulogy for My Father


My father was a pain-in-the-ass.

He was argumentative, opinionated and loved to be right.
In this respect, I am his true heir apparent.

My father was an inspiration.

Her left NYC’s Spanish Harlem a poor 10th grade dropout
and went on to get both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

I don’t remember a time growing up that he wasn’t studying
for something.

Education wasn’t some lofty ideal for him—it was a living,
breathing concept.

He read the classics and taught himself proper Spanish
grammar and vocabulary so he could write fluently in his
first language. He wrote textbooks and his autobiography
in both languages.

My father was passionate.

Hardly a week has gone by since I left home almost 40 years ago
that I haven’t spoken to him. Much of our conversations were
about politics, religion and philosophy.

We mostly agreed on things.

My father was a maker.

I learned to love craftsmanship by watching him build or repair
things. Of course, since I was a girl it took him a little longer to
realize that I didn’t
just want to be his go-fer.

I treasure all of the tools he has given me. They are my family
heirlooms.

Finally, my father was my friend.

He gave me of the gift of his trust and respect. If you knew my
father, you know what a big deal that was.

The last time I said goodbye to my father, one week before
he died, I took his face in my hands and gently scolded him,
“Now, Dad, you behave yourself, okay?”
Even in his weakened state he managed a classic Ralph eye-roll.

I’ll treasure that look forever.

Te quiero Papi. Voy a extra├▒arte tanto.


Rafael Leonidas Torres 
November 29, 1934 – April 7, 2014