Papi was a cowboy.
It has been a while since my dad rode horses or wrangled cattle, but he still dreams of a small cabin in the countryside where beast and man can feel at home. I love the look on Papi’s face when he tells stories about those days…
On Father’s Day, he told my Piano Man one of my favorite Papi stories. “My little girl was always fierce,” he said. “When she was still in diapers, her mom would send her to bring me coffee. Cold coffee in a huge aluminum mug. She treaded through grass taller than her, and fought anyone who tried to take the coffee away. I mean she fought with tooth and nail. Biting, scratching and screaming like an imp. The coffee would be all over her belly by the time she got to me. I pretended to drink from the empty mug. And she would grin, still yelling nonsense at anyone who teased her.”
That memory continues to make me grin like a happy idiot. Papi does that to me. He is one of my weaknesses (I can’t say no to my dad) and my biggest strength (Papi has always made me feel like I can do anything). Like any human child, I’ve done things that upset him, but Papi has never turned his back on me. He wasn’t thrilled when I left college to join the Marine Corps, but he supported my decision. The day a family member (who was extremely important to him) treated me badly, he left that person behind and chose me.
The latest trial was my little brother’s funeral. The general chaos… The unwanted opinions… The criticism coming from people (relatives and strangers) who felt that I wasn’t handling things the way they ought to be handed. When I was half-losing my mind, worried that all the mess was going to affect Papi, he told me, “Forget about them. Let them talk until their tongues fall out. We are his family here. You, me and [your big brother]. I don’t know how to do what needs to be done, and your [big brother] has a soft heart… I trust you to do the right thing.” That meant the world to me. It still does.
Last Monday, he told me, “Your [Piano] man has a big heart, a really good heart. I like how he looks at you. The way he makes you laugh.” That is the kind of person Papi is. A gentle soul, a giving heart, a face that needs no words to say: My little girl can do anything she puts her mind to. I’ve always believed him, and worked hard to keep his beliefs true. His trust has been the ever-flowing magic that empowers my endeavors. I’m a lucky Witch, and an even luckier daughter.
the Little Princess drawing, while my niece watches Papi through the window
Papi waiting for my Piano Man to bring him a cup of coffee
life is good… ;-)