I did learn from my father that he was an affectionate and tender man because I still feel the warmth of his love. Even though it has already been a lifetime of not having him in my life, I know that he loved me. When I was younger I used to see him as a god who could do no wrong. Then I grew up and I had to accept the reality that my father was a sinner just like me.
My sister Salome shared a story with me that helped me to see him more realistically; she said that he had purchased a new toilet for our house and he brought it in to the house then he left because he had to go run an errand. Meanwhile he warned all of us to stay away from it until he returned. Salome could not resist and her curiousity finally triumphed over her will to obey Papa's command. She lifted the top to the water tank and following the natural course of events, the heavy lid fell from her small awkward hands and it broke right in half. Then all the older kids tried as best as they could to prop the lid back in its place so that Papa would not notice it when he returned. When he returned, the first thing he did was to work on installing the toilet; as he looked in disbelief at the broken top the look on his face showed that he was about to fly off the handle. He lined all of us up and determined to find out who the culprit was that had disobeyed his order. We all stood quietly looking at our bare feet not wanting to give our peer away. One by one, he would look us in the eye and ask,
"Tu hiciste esto?" "Did you do this?" He went on down the line,growing hotter by the second until he reached Salome. When he looked in her face,Salome's knees were knocking so hard her body language told on her before Papa had the chance to pry the truth out of her. The minute they made eye contact, Salome broke rank and ran for her life; she made Papa chase her all over the place and when he finally caught her,she told me in her own words,
" I got the whipping of a life time."
This is a picture of my Papa...
Copyright Eva Santiago 2009