Monday, March 17, 2014

Doughnuts, Baseball and all the memories in between...

I woke up Sunday morning and wanted a doughnut. 

And this made me think about my Dad.

It's funny how something so simple can remind you of something else entirely. 

And the thought of this reminded me of Sunday mornings when I was a little kid, waking up and always seeing that pink box that no doubt had my favorite, a chocolate old fashioned doughnut, inside waiting for me.

My parents worked all the time, often times early in the morning and until it was dark outside. I can clearly remember being literally carried (i.e.- dragged... See also: "hurry up boy, we are going to be late") down the stairs ( I'm sorry but a 5 year old legs don't work properly at 5am when he's tired) as they dropped me off at my Mamo & Papo's (my grandparents) house before they went to work. It was at Mamo & Papos house that I slept a few hours and Mamo ( later my Uncle Bobby) would take me to school. 

To say my parents worked hard would be an understatement... But Sunday was usually a day they had off together.

Now, as an adult, I realize you just can't turn off your internal alarm clock and though you don't have to, you still find yourself waking up early for some god awful reason ( as I type this it's just past 7:20 in the am on my day off).

So most Sundays my dad would get up before my mom and I and pick up doughnuts for the morning. 

 Don't get me wrong, this isn't the only thing I remember about my dad. I remember a bunch of other things about him... Being in the car as he drove, Waiting with him, for what seemed like an eternity at Bart, to pick up my mom... going to see wwf wrestling at the cow palace and later, when he worked a second job as a security guard there, telling me all the inside info of what the wrestlers were like backstage (" that George "The Animal" Steele is really smart, he signed this paper for you. And The Barbarian got drunk and tried to pick a fight with another security guy... I wasn't there but I heard about it."). 

 In the more than 20+ years since he passed away I, sadly, seem to forget more and more of him... I can't remember the sound of his voice or if he liked to read as much as I do (I'm going to assume I get that from my mom, who can tear though a huge novel in a few hours). The memory of those doughnuts and dozens of other little, small, memories I have, I hold onto. And treasure. They are all I have left.

My dad passed away on March 12, 1990... A year later, March 16, 1991, my family was gathered together in a memorial service for him... And it was on this morning that my Papo died.

To say my Papo was a larger than life character, at least to me, would be an understatement. I'm fortunate that, to this day, I still get to hear crazy Papo stories whenever my family gets together ( which happens less and less now). It seems he was always into something when he was younger. By the time I came around, he was older, walked with a cane, but we still managed to get into mischief. 

(both he and my dad, I think, passed away thinking THEY were each the first ones to give me my first sip of beer)

In the years before I started school (the years I can remember at least) I spent every day with my Mamo, Papo & Uncle Bobby, at their house, playing with my toys and making a mess. They never complained.

 I would also help Papo tend to the garden in the backyard as it was my job to stomp on the snails that were messing thing up ( I don't know HOW they were messing things up, but it kept me busy). 

More than anything else though, I remember being really little ( maybe 4 or 5 years old) and Papo turning on the tv and showing me the game of baseball, San Francisco Giants baseball to be specific. He and my Uncle Bobby explained the rules and all that and how The Dodgers were bums ( still are) and I was hooked. From then on, the Giants were my team. Sadly, he never got to see The Giants win that first World Series in 2010 but as they recorded that final out, I thought of him and all the other Giants fans that didn't get to see this and how they were there in spirit.
The love of the game, the love of the team... THAT was the greatest gift my Papo ever gave me.

I went back and forth all week, deciding if I was going to write something about the anniversary of their deaths. And if I did write something, would I even share it. I write this for nobody other than myself. 

Last week marked the anniversary of their deaths. And though the time I got to spend with each man was not nearly long enough I'd like to think they'd be proud of the man I've become, the man my Mom & my Uncle Bobby raised me to be... The life I've made ( and am still carving out for myself) and...  last but not least, I'd at least get a high five or a slap on the back from both for the beautiful woman I've found to love and who I can't wait to call my wife. 

I suspect they are doing just that, high giving and, okay, maybe having a few beers, and still looking out for me from above.

I love and miss both of you more than simply writing a few memories down could ever express, 

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