My dad likes to refer to Father’s day as “el día de los perros” (The Day of the Dogs) because fathers, he says, don’t get the same kind of love and respect as mothers do.
My dad is the epitome of the old-school Dominican father.
While I was growing up, my father rarely exhibited affection, but worked tirelessly to put food on the table and to keep the lights on. When he arrived home after a long day of work, he ruled the house with an iron fist. Whatever anyone was watching on our only TV was immediately changed to the Yankees game. If my pops came home drunk, which was often, back in the day, all bets were off.
No matter the time of night, he would stir up my mom to heat up some food for him and then would blast his music “a to’ lo que da” and awaken the rest of the building.
My pops, drunk out of his mind, would dance a few songs solo and then fall asleep on the toilet without even looking at the food my mom prepared for him. It never failed but the next day he would awake at 5:00 a.m. for another day of work.
With that being said, I love this man dearly. I even enjoyed when my pops was drunk because that was when he was at his most generous.
My father was crazy tight with money when he was sober but when he was drunk, I could get five bucks easy just for taking off his shoes.
He would do a lot of stupid things when drunk, like starting fights with just about anybody.
The worst was when he ignited a whole pack of firecrackers in his mouth, in front of my building one Fourth of July, for no apparent reason.
My friends on my block never let me forget that one.
I realize now that I am a husband and a father, I do a lot of same things he did – minus the fireworks and the falling asleep on the toilet.
I too, aspire to the rule the house like a dictator.
I attribute my love of music at ungodly levels to him.
More importantly, I learned that being a man entails hard work, sacrifice and never-say-never determination. I now understand that once you have kids, your needs and wants are secondary to theirs. Ensuring they have a better life than mine has become my mission.
Thanks, Pops, because even though you weren’t perfect, you were there.
And that counts for a lot.
Happy Father’s Day.
Check out: About that man | Manhattan Times