Friday, January 9, 2015

When he wakes up it's already 9:35 at night. The kids are asleep, the wife is awake, the coffee is brewing, and breakfast is served. He puts on his boots, green pants, button shirt, green jacket, and looks in the mirror. His gun is holstered, eats with his wife, drinks his coffee and leaves for work embarking a 45min drive to Avenal. The kids don't see him until 6 am.

He met his wife at Olongapo City in the province of the Philippines. This was the northern region where most of the poor reside. He went to school, made small peso's shining shoes, but worked up to enlist in the military. He was a Naval Officer. He met her at school. They fell in love had two kids. They partied. They got drunk. They move to the U.S.

Still enlisted his wife wouldn't see him for months at a time. They would move around California. First Long Beach. A boy is born. Second was the Naval airbase. It was a daughter. Then Lemoore. Another boy. Months would pass. He would be on a boat. He would retire.

Five kids and a wife in a small house. He doesn't know what to do. He works at a Wal-Mart for awhile to pay the bills. He stocks boxes on graveyard shifts. He decides to go to school to become a Correctional Officer. He leaves for a couple of months. Comes back with a degree. Comes back as a graduate.

His long drive ends. He's at the prison walking the beat, monitors the inmates, making sure things are in order. It's 3:00 am. No one is alive till 5. He sits there and makes sure things are well and over.

It wasn't easy for him to do these things. Making sacrifices, making choices, and not seeing his wife and kids in the years that mattered the most. He was a stranger and father to 5 kids he barely knew. But he did it and this is who he is today.

I woke up at six in the morning as his Camaro drove up to the garage. I waited for him and opened the door. I saw him. He looked at me. The only thing I could tell him was this.....

"Dad... what would you like for breakfast?"