There’s a picture tucked away somewhere within the hundreds of photos that my parents have stored away in a few boxes. It’s a picture of my father holding me as a newborn, resting on his arm. You could see the way he’s looking down on his first born son, how proud he was.
The fact that I was his favorite photographic subject for the first several years of my life would give off that vibe as well. At 23 years old, what an accomplishment! Thirty-four years, and tons of headaches later, nothing has changed. Looking back on my childhood, I remember calling him mean when I didn’t have my way. How thoughtless I was then.
If I’m ever half the father he was and still is, I’ll be one hell of a papa. He, along with my mom, made countless sacrifices, and dealt with so many headaches and sometimes a bit of embarrassment due to my antics as a teen, and yet I was still given a childhood that is taken for granted by many. The only one working, he made sure we had all we needed to survive and then some. When it came to discipline, his words were stronger than the correazo. To this day, I will remember those lectures that I now repeat to young ones that seem to be going astray. One of the most important lessons he ever taught me that I still try to practice…”The convenience of others come before your own. If you’re gonna be an inconvenience to someone else, find another way.” My father was, is, and always will be my hero. As I know your father is yours.
I was going to write about the artist, Piero. An Italian-born, Argentinean singer, mostly known for his classic Mi Viejo, which happens to be this week’s Flashback. Instead, I’m going to write briefly about the song and let you listen to it and take it in. This song will definitely tug at your heartstrings and you will want to call your dad afterwards so have your phone handy.
The song itself is a very simple one, with very minimal instrumental accompaniment. All you have is a guitar and the occasional choir humming ever so faintly. This causes the listener to focus on the singer who practically whispers the song as if recalling memories of his own relationship with his father. The lyrics themselves are very melancholic, describing his father, his slow paced walks as if walking against the wind, his aged stance, the somber look in his eyes. The fact that he has aged without any pomp and circumstance and instead how it has suddenly crept up on him. He calls him “Old man, my beloved old man.” To be quite honest, this writer is getting a little choked up at the very moment in which I’m putting this article together. As my father reaches retiring age, his hair practically all white with only a few patches of gray left, I’m forced to succumb to the fact that he is in fact aging and isn’t the same person that used to play catch and rough house with me as a kid.
It’s a part of life, mi gente. One day, if God willing, I have my own kids, they’ll have to endure the fact that their papi is getting old. Hopefully, they’ll look up to me as I look up to mine….and how you look up to yours. This one goes out to all the Fathers, dads, papis, papas, and padres out there. As well as the mamis who are forced to play the papi role. Esta es para ti.