On this Father’s Day 2017, I’m sharing two tributes to my late father, each of which was read aloud at his funeral two months ago.
My wife, Lori, couldn’t be there with me in Silver City, New Mexico, when we buried my 91-year-old dad. But she did share memories of her father-in-law, which I was proud to share with family and friends who attended the April 6th funeral Mass at the Catholic parish that Dad and my stepmother Ora attended.
Separately, I offered my take as the son of an extraordinary ordinary man.
Here they are:
Words For Dad | Lori Rede
I have had the privilege of being the only daughter-in-law to a gentle man named Catarino.
I proudly called you “Dad” for some 42 years because you were like a father to me in every sense of the word. You always warmed my heart when you called me “mija.”
I lost my own father twenty-five years ago. Having you in my life was a joy for me.
You were a hard-working soul, a man of integrity who took great pride in all of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, sincerely interested in all of our endeavors.
I know you were especially proud of your grandsons who served in the Armed Forces. That pride gave me comfort when our youngest son, Jordan, was deployed to Afghanistan.
Always supportive, always understanding, you watched as your family moved around the country and pursued our interests. You instilled the values of independence, responsibility and self-reliance in all of us.
Wherever we lived, you and Ora always made it a priority to visit us and we appreciated that.
One of my fondest memories was watching you garden and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Not only would you grow a variety of peppers, but you would can them and cook with them, remembering to save a jar or two for me.
Up in Oregon it’s almost time to plant some peppers, and I will think of you when I garden.
There will be much to miss about you, Dad. We are the individuals we are because you had a hand in shaping us. This is a part of the legacy you leave behind.
A couple of others are:
Your silly jokes that George continues to repeat.
Your funny pronunciations of Spanish words. I think I will forever call “tortillas” “torpeders.”
I know my parents are happy to see you again up beyond those pearly gates.
A son’s remembrance | George Rede
A father holds a special place in a son’s life. He can be a positive influence or a negative influence. A role model of what it means to be a man. Or an example of how not to be.
I am fortunate, so fortunate, that my father was someone I could look up to and learn from and love.
I could talk for 30 minutes about Catarino Rede but I’ll try to take just three minutes.
First, the short version: My dad was perhaps my biggest supporter. As someone with a grade school education who made his living with his hands in a variety of blue-collar jobs, he provided an example of taking pride in his work, in showing up on time, in performing at a level that he could be proud of. Likewise, he encouraged me to push myself and aim for opportunities he never had himself. He supported me in every job I took, in every move I made (in a geographic sense and in a career sense), and as fellow parent and husband.
Second, we shared a love of baseball, too. I will always appreciate that my dad volunteered to be a coach, and then a manager, of my Little League and Pony League teams. While other dads sat in the stands or maybe didn’t attend the games at all, my dad was one of those who stepped up to be there not just for the games but for the twice-a-week practices. We played catch in the backyard — a timeless pastime enjoyed by fathers and sons throughout the ages — and it paid off when I became a pretty successful pitcher as a 15-year-old.
Third, let me tell you a simple story that illustrates how a gesture can mean so much more than money. I must have been 8 or 9 at most when my dad took me to a weekend flea market. We strolled between the aisles of used merchandise, much of it worthless, much of second-hand, much of it forgettable. But it was there I got my first baseball bat. It bore the signature of Willie Keeler, a turn-of-the-century player who played for the New York Highlanders and was known as one of the best hitters of his time.
The bat was long and heavy, so much so that a skinny kid like me had trouble swinging it. It had black tape around the handle and, if I remember correctly, a small nail embedded in the lower end of the bat. My dad paid 50 cents for it. And though it was used and endorsed by a player who had died in 1923, some 40 years earlier, that bat occupied a special place in the corner of our garage. Much like my father occupied a special place in my heart.
If your dad is still alive, give him a hearty hug or at least a phone call to offer your thanks. (Texts don’t count.) If you are a dad, embrace the responsibility. Anyone can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad.