I received word this afternoon that my uncle had passed away after a long illness. I cried a lot, I prayed a lot, and cried some more. He was a special man in many ways. He was a victim of a hit-and-run accident while he was helping someone stranded on the road. As a result, he was mentally handicapped (he never did like the “challenged” description, so there), but that never stopped him from living Life. And as I grieve, I am remembering how he grabbed Life by the horns, twisted its neck and threw it down yelling, “CHUPATELA!!!*”
Some of you may know of my credo of being happy every day. I’m not happy ALL day, mind you, but I do find something to be happy about every day. I learned that from him. He had a zest for life that made Zorba look like a piker. I remember once his sow lost a few piglets during birth. We were all sad, until he told us he “planted” them snout up, so the tree would grow and give us more piglets. I kid you not. And then there was the time when someone ask him to call them back, so he breathed in the word “hello” (because it was air going in, not out). Oh, and one time he decided that he wanted to sleep under the stars, so he got a photo of Marisol Malaret (the first Puertorican to win the Miss Universe title) and taped it to the ceiling. He was unstoppable.
He wasn’t perfect, but he was an inspiration to all of us. He is preceded by his oldest son, and I know they are both in Heaven, laughing at the rest of us who still have to wait to get to the party.
Because he was the party.
Te quiero mucho, Tio Papo. Esperame, que vengo con chismes y con ron de barrilitos 😀
* The equivalent of saying “SUCK IT!!” And the last sentence: I love you very much, Uncle Papo. Wait for me, because I’m coming with gossip and single barrel rum. 😀