And now, dear brothers and sisters,
we want you to know what will happen to the believers who
have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13 ~
This is a two-part tribute to my dad, a gentle, quiet, and imperfect man, who at the age of 81, by the grace of God, has been perfected and now resides in the heavenly places.
Though I do not remember much of my childhood with Dad, the photographs I have reveal that he was present with us. Most of my memories of Dad begin after we moved from Texas to California to join him in 1966.
I remember Dad had a thirst for knowledge and learning that never ended. In one of our conversations, Dad told me about a heartache he had when he was a child. Dad loved school and was a diligent student, but his father thought he was like his older brother (who did not like school and was a trouble maker), so he pulled him out of school when he was in 5th grade and put him to work; Dad’s dream of being an engineer or architect was quenched. He said that after he married and had so many of us that it was impossible for him to go back to school.
But Dad’s thirst for knowledge spurred him to learn English, history, higher mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus were like candy to him), and electronics (especially television and radio). He had many academic books and his work area always had televisions and radios in various stages of repair; he loved showing me how his oscilloscopes worked (which came in handy in college); and sometimes he would allow me to touch the big vacuum tubes that came in the televisions and radios. His other love was teaching others mathematics and about electronics.
At another time I asked him what he did when he lived in Mexico. He told me he was in the Mexican military for a short time, and was a barber (he always cut my hair and those of my siblings; but he never cut Mom’s hair!). Dad gave me this picture of him in his military uniform; no wonder Mom was attracted to him!
We were a noisy bunch, but around our parents, especially Dad, we were respectful and quiet. Whenever we celebrated a birthday, holiday, or a special event, he would participate with us, then slowly fade into the background. Sometimes I found him in a quiet room reading a book, the paper, or napping. I think that is why I enjoy reading so much (there are little girls who want to be like their daddies!).
Though many saw him as a serious man, Dad had a sharp wit, true humor, and a great laugh. When they were in high school, my brother and sister decided to paint the dining room. Dad was wearing his pajamas and had placed something inside the back of his pajama top so that he looked like a hunched back man. He was standing behind them, pointing a finger at them, as if he was scolding them; I think they had that “deer-in-the-headlights” look. Whenever I think of that picture I always have a good laugh. (Sorry, I could not find the picture!)
Dad had a softer side which I did not see until I was an adult: Children loved and enjoyed him. Perhaps it was because he was quiet and gentle that they loved him; when he held them in his arms they relaxed.
He held all of his grandchildren and enjoyed playing with them. Sometimes they preferred him over another. My niece, Luisa, refused to leave his arms when Grandma wanted to hold her; Mom was surprised by the fact that Luisa preferred Grandpa’s arms over hers. That image is imprinted in my mind and is a testament to Dad’s ability to make children feel comfortable and safe in his arms.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about him; tomorrow I will share more of my experiences with Dad.
Father, thank You for Dad and my life with him. I know that he is enjoying heaven and rejoicing in the salvation obtained for him by our Savior, Jesus. I am looking forward to seeing him again when we are gathered into Your presence. In Jesus’ name, I ask that You minister to all of us as we grieve his passing from earth into Your presence; amen.