“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Immediately it struck a chord with me of my beloved father…
In memory of my Dad… He knew how to communicate all over the world with so many languages. I will never forget when we were transferred to Sicily and he spoke Italian – all of us, including Mom, were surprised and impressed.
As we approach my Dad’s birthday, I feel his presence in both heart and mind:
1. Dad’s sense of first seeing the good in others
2. To be forgiving of someone’s bigotry and prejudice with extraordinary kindness and prayer for changed hearts
3. His hard work ethic that provided us with a great Catholic education and dance/piano lessons
4. His creativity in the kitchen that made our family meals fit for admirals and heads of state – and he would extend that same gift to his kitchen staff with delicious treats/meals
5. His pride of becoming an American citizen and earning his GED by the age of 22 – leaving his family at age 17 and 96 lbs. to honorably serve the USA Navy as a way of giving back for the American commitment and sacrifice in the Philippines during WWII
6. His deep and passionate love for Mom and his unconditional love for his children
7. His incredible faith witnessed by him “walking the walk”
On his one day off per week (never on Sunday after he retired from the military and was a chef at a restaurant), it was more important to him to spend time with the family in the summer on the beach with fantastic BBQs. On Sunday, Dad was also one of those people who sat in the back pew of church so he could quietly rush to a 12-hour workday after communion. When my younger brothers and sisters were at Christ the King School, this amazing chef would humbly volunteer weekly for lunch duty (before going to work)…
In looking back, Dad took time to be grateful in faith, family/friends and country. His resiliency and gratitude stemmed from being a child in war-torn Philippines and all that implies (which I still have not been fully able to grasp or understand). He was and IS my hero.