I never realized until you were gone how much you have influenced me, how much of your tastes, outlook on life, hobbies, amazing hair, and the ability to find humor in almost anything have poured over into me. I owe my love of giant monster movies, sci-fi, action movies, boxing, Jack Daniels, and old Clint Eastwood movies all to you. It’s hard for me to see your old stomping grounds around San Francisco that you told me to visit once I moved there, including the port where you worked as a longshoreman for thirty years because it makes me think of you and all of the great times we’ve had together. I think back to times like when you were recovering from a hip surgery and I spent the day with you because you were home alone and we watched the movie Alien together. I still have all the VHS tapes of Planet of the Apes and the Jurassic Park movies that you recorded for me. It’s going to be hard not being able to sit with you at family gatherings and cap on everything with you or listen to your funny stories and advice. I’ll never forget when we were at my cousin's wedding and you grabbed me by my tie and yelled at me to man up and go ask one of the girls sitting at the table across from us to dance. You always had the best advice to give and you always gave it in a funny way, including the time you told me the reason I was getting killed while on the high school wrestling team was because I didn’t know how to turn and that turning is the key. I thought you didn’t know what you were talking about until I went to practice the next day and got yelled at by my coach because he said I didn’t know how to turn. I miss you and think about you everyday Poppa and I’m especially going to miss your birthday phone calls that were always exactly two days late. I love you Poppa and I’m happy that you blessed me with a great head of hair and years of funny stories and advice that I will never forget.
PS: I’m going to take your advice and instead of getting a reliable commuting car I’m going to get a 1966 Pontiac GTO like you told me to.
BENNY RODRIGUEZ (1931-2018)