Tomorrow this whipper snapper is 100 years young. My grandfather who has outlived most of his peers, all of his siblings and many more will be feted today like nobody's business. As I type, my mother and most of her siblings are in Santo Domingo rigging up wayyyy too much delicious food for a birthday party this afternoon. People have flown in from out of the country, driven into the city from the outskirts of Dominican Republic and if I know my family like I know my family then they will be partying way past my grandfather's bedtime (which is a very early 5-7pm mind you).
I'm hoping one day someone actually sits down with him to cobble together my grandfather's life story. From sitting around trying to catch the grown up gossip as a kid I've picked up a few interesting tidbits. Hopefully in revealing them I won't be disowned. *kidding!* I know he's been married three times (the last was my grandmother with which he had 6 children). He lived in New York as a young single guy then returned to Dominican Republic, the cosmopolitan man having been to the big city of dreams. Abuelo was involved in developing agriculture with the Dominican government. My mom tells me that before it was cool to be organic he had a set aside plot on the land he managed, just for his family's produce that the workers were instructed to not spread with chemical fertilizers or insecticides. He said even back then that those chemicals would be the undoing of agriculture.
He has 13 children and even back in the 80s/90s we would all keep count of the dozens upon dozens of grandchildren he had. Now we're keeping count of the great grand children instead. I also know that my grandfather was known for his hot blooded temper and that it only slightly calmed down with age and diminished hearing (which I imagine would pretty much calm down anyone). He loves baseball and politics, two subjects which are a sure way to unleash that healthy temper on anyone daring to disagree with views. Until his eyesight got worse he was the most avid reader of cowboy novellas I've ever known, devouring many a week then exchanging them for new ones at the local shop.
He's made about as many mistakes as we can all make on a journey 100 years long. Yet, he was always willing to extend a helping hand to anyone in need many times in discretion to preserve a person's dignity, grew up with a shrew of a stepmother that shipped him off to an uber strict boarding school yet while strict did not transfer that to his kids. He's been loyal to a fault, both to family and friends. Most of all he loves his family fiercely. So today he'll be surrounded by the seed he sowed and I can only hope to get to such an advanced age surrounded by family and friends that see beyond my imperfect human nature to what God has been able to accomplish through that life.
Happy Birthday Abuelo. Felicidades Abuelo y que Dios lo bendiga con muchos mas.