Grains of Yesterday and Open Seas

First of all, I wanted to thank all of my friends and family that have reached out with a kind word and an offer of much-needed prayer after my father passed away last week. It’s times like these when you’re reminded of folks who really care enough to make an effort and lift you up in the tough times.

Thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart. You are cherished.

I don’t mind saying that this week has been torturous at best but what has comforted me the most are the warm thoughts and hugs from my family and friends. I’m especially proud of my daughter. We were driving home from karate one night when I couldn’t hold back the tears. After holding my arm in the front seat for a few minutes she turned on a song that had a disco beat to it and started dancing hilariously. She always knows how to make daddy laugh.

Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, built in 1540

Dad’s memorial service was on Sunday but my plan for a service will be separate and a little different. He had wanted to be cremated and I have honored that. Last night I got the call that his ashes were ready so at the latter part of this month I will take them to the northern part of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico right by what is known as  Castillo de San Felipe del Morro.

There I will scatter them into the sea. We both love the ocean so every time I look out into the vast blue horizon I will think of him. I’ll also have a place to take my family in the future and honor his memory as well.

I think my dad would get a big kick out of reading this post primarily because he was always good for a laugh even at his own expense so in light of that here’s a mix of things my dad used to say and thing that really got under my skin. He was a trekkie as well (which I inherited from him) so I’m sure he’d love the visual references.

Listening to us talk to each was pretty funny because when he did speak English he had that thick latin Ricardo Montalban or Antonio Banderas accent. He’d get tired of sounding as such and would resort to responding to me in Spanish while I maintained the conversation in English.

I’d speak in English and he’d speak in Spanish. We did just fine.

“Lazy people work twice as hard.”

It sounds better in Spanish to be honest but that was his way of saying put all of your effort into doing something right the first time so that you wouldn’t have to do it again….and again…and again. I learned this valuable lesson when I had to clean out the fryer in his restaurant. Every day.

“A man with no money isn’t worth a dime.”

This one really upset me when I first heard it because I took it as me not meaning anything. I was in my teens when he said and I was so angry that I hung up the phone. Lucky for me, he called me back to explain what he meant and what he meant was that I should always be willing to work hard for whatever I get and not lean on handouts or for someone to come save me. We all need a helping hand from time to time. A “net”, so to speak. But all in all what he was really trying to encourage me to do is work hard and make my own way.

How I Learned to Drive

I would never ever never recommend this to anyone. My father taught me to drive in a stick-shift van in the mountains of Puerto Rico. I remember trying my best to shift that old clunker into gear and looking outside of the driver’s window and seeing that 100 foot drop off the side. It was the first time I had learned to take my fear and clamp it shut.

How I Learned to Swim

In the deep end.

How I Learned to Play the Guitar

Dad hired a Latin guitarist to teach me. He played left handed and upside down which means I had to transpose everything he was doing in my head. Once I almost transposed my guitar on his head because I thought that was a stupid way to play a guitar. That drove me nuts.

How He Would Wake Me Up (at 4am)

By placing a pine cone on my face. If it fell off he’d put it right back on there. My daughter’s a brown-belt. I’m pretty sure if I tried that on her I’d be spitting toe nails. My first job was a ten-hour day working at his restaurant. I worked 6 days a week and on the 7th day we stocked the restaurant until noon and if there was something good showing we’d go catch a flick. Then it was back to the grind.

Yup, Dad was tough. And it was good. He worked hard and never retired and I plan on doing the same. From him I learned to look to the open sea and think outside of the box always learning, seeking and yearning to be more tomorrow than I am today.

For short moments here and there I’ve been able to work on Jupiter Chronicles so ext week I’ll send out an update. I got to see the working cover last night and it’s looking very cool.

Chat soon,

Leonardo Ramirez is an author of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Please visit http://leonardoverse.com and sign up for the blog.

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