On a quiet Saturday afternoon at the age of eight I happened to find myself sitting next to my father who was reading the day’s newspaper in peace.

My chores were finished, dinner was minutes away from being served, my sisters were away enjoying the Berenstein Bears and for a moment the house sat still.

I can’t recall studying him so intently ever before but at this one opportunity  I took time to make a mental photograph of my father as a man.

For a few uninterrupted minutes I looked him over.

His mustache was thick and plentifull and each manicured bristle bore a brown sheen that in years later would fade and turn uniformly gray. His gaze was focused and his brown eyes darted back and forth with purpose as he scanned the headlines. Occasionally he sighed and I found it odd how similar his chest heaved in response to no-matter what was on the page.

His profile was stern. Like the clean lines of a hood ornament on a classic car who cut through the incoming wind with grace.  His upper body strong after years of hard work in a variety of jobs and thorough physical conditioning during his time in the Mexican police force.

Some impulse cause me to dart out my hand and take his. I needed to see it in contrast to mine, take note of its weight and feel the roughness of his work-man fingers.

For less than a minute I had my father’s hand in mine and then he gruffly pulled it back to turn the page.

My son sits at my side some times.

He enjoys placing my hands on his and brags that one day he’ll be taller than I.

I afford him the time he needs.

It is time I cherish too.


I am sitting at a funeral service of a man I did not know well. A person who lived across the street from me for years but who I shared almost no words together.

A few rows in front of me a happy young man is holding up a piece of paper asking us to remember the life of the deceased. There’s a picture of him on this sheet and it would appear to me that this is the image his family has chosen as the best depiction of his person.
I can’t help but think of the future and what a document about me look like. What image would my loved ones choose as showig the essence of who I was?
What if I got to choose my own photo?
Of the hundreds of images that exist and the myriad of photos to come, which is the best example of my life as it was?
It’s inconsequential though and borders on the egotistical.
Still, I hope they choose a good one.