This is a retelling of one of my earliest posts. I am reposting it in memory of my grandfather’s birthday.
My grandfather, Antonio Lopez, known as Abuelito, was in his sixties when I was born. His driver’s license listed his birth date as 06-13-95. Years ago when going through a box filled with old papers, we found a copy of an affidavit of his birth. He was born on a farm in Mexico. The date showed 1893! I was surprised to think he would have been 100 years old in 1993 instead of 1995.
I’ve seen a picture of him in a military uniform. He was a robust young man. I never knew that part of him.
To me, Abuelito’s hair was a silvery crew cut. He had a twinkle in his eye and a quick sense of humor.
As a little girl I would follow him around the house. I remember watching him mowing the lawn while I sat on the porch. I loved to spend time with him.
We would walk down the street to wait for my grandmother as she came out of work. I often tried to convince him to buy sweet bread from the nearby Mexican bakery.
At night, when we were supposed to be asleep, my siblings and I would crawl on our hands and knees into my grandparents’ room to surprise them.
Eventually we’d say good-night and make our way back to our own rooms.
Even though they acted surprised, my grandparents knew we were there and they just played along. We didn’t figure that out until we were much older!
In the spring birds would build nests in the patio beams. My grandfather would pick me to look at the little eggs. I could never convince him to let me keep a bird after it hatched.
When it rained we would watch the storms from the patio. Being with him I was never afraid of the lightning and thunder.
He used to take Abuelita, my sister Rose, and me shopping downtown.
Abuelita was an incredible shopper with amazing stamina. She would bargain shop for what felt like an eternity.
We would often get tired and whiny, then pester to go home. My grandfather always waited for us in the department store’s coffee shop. He would always be there reading.
Early in my high school years my grandfather’s health began to decline. He spent his last days in his home, our family’s home.
My grandfather died when I was 14. The ache I felt lasted many years.
Now, when I hear the sound of thunder in the distance, I think of him and I smile.
Happy Birthday, Abuelito. In loving memory.