Today my maternal grandfather, Albert Sanchez, aka, Abuelo, turns 83 years old!
Don’t worry about being offended. If you know my grandfather, you know that “Goddamn” was appropriate there. 😉
Abuelo is my only living grandparent and believe me, he’s just as spunky (and crazy) as he was when I was little.
To know my grandfather is an adventure. As a ex Navy drill sergeant, my grandfather is never at a loss for words. And those words are LOUD. I remember a story my paternal grandmother, Abuelita, would tell me about a time when her brother first met my grandfather. It was my parent’s wedding day, and my grandmother’s brother, my great uncle, was hired to do the photography. Both sets of grandparents only lived a block away from each other, so my grandmother and my uncle walked over to my Abuelo’s house to take pictures of my mom and her bridal party getting ready. As they walked down the street, my uncle grew concerned. Apparently my grandfather’s booming voice frightened him. He thought my grandfather was upset, as it appeared as though he was screaming. My grandmother laughed and laughed at her brother’s concern and explained to him that this was “normal” behavior, and just how Albert Sanchez is!
Those who know him, get this. Abuelo is loud, outspoken, opinionated, but he’s a hell of a story teller. His favorite tales? Stories that end with “and that’s the Goddamn Navy I was in!” Those who know him also know what a fan he is of cheap corner store cigars, sweets, good pizza, and all things fishing. My mother and her two brothers, Marty and Glenn, group up fishing as a family. My grandfather had more boats than one can count on two hands, and spent hours upon hours fishing for snook and other salt water fish in the Gulf. My mother would tell me about all the childhood adventures (and misadventures) of learning to fish with my grandfather. If there’s one thing she learned, is that you don’t question Abuelo when it comes to fishing!
My grandfather also loves welding and has a huge shop (that he built) in the backyard where he tinkers, fixes and creates everything from an anchor mail box to fish signs that he hangs throughout his house. I remember spending so much time in that shop with my cousin Glenn, exploring, playing and getting yelled at for not putting things back in their place. Abuelo’s shop is beyond organized. He knows where every last nail is; and knows if something has been misplaced!
Although my grandfather is a rough and tough guy, he would do anything for his family; especially his grandchildren. When he married my grandmother, Josie, aka Abuelamom, he refused to have her work. He believed that her work was at the home; raising happy and healthy children. He maintained three jobs to keep the family afloat, while Abuelamom worked as a stay at home mom raising her three children all the way through high school. Abuelo also has a crazy sense of humor and is never at a loss when it comes to funny stories and jokes. When he tells these tales he gets into these uncontrollable laughing fits that barely allow him to get through the entire story!
Later this afternoon, a big BIG group of us are getting together to celebrate Abuelo on his birthday. We’re going to his favorite pizza joint to laugh, talk, nosh and sing in celebration of my grandfather.
It’s doubtful that Abuelo will ever read my blog. He doesn’t believe in technology, will barely even talk on the phone and thinks the Internet is “full of crooks out to steal your identity!” however HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABUELO! I hope your day is fantastic! 🙂