Ten reasons why Papá Chepe is awesome:
1. Let’s start with the physical. You can’t deny that he’s always been a handsome man. (Photo taken in 1958.)
2. He was a gardener for many years and knows all sorts of stuff about working the land. He was planting “urban gardens” and growing organic fruits and vegetables before it became trendy.
3. He tells funny stories and has a mischievous streak. Just check out how much he made Mamá Toni laugh here.
4. He dances. A lot. I have a dozen photos of the women in my family all taking their turn dancing with Papá Chepe at some family party.
5. He can rock a Tejana with a three-piece suit with no problem at all. The man knows how to dress.
6. He registered to vote last year — a few years after becoming a naturalized citizen — because he wanted to make sure he could vote for Obama.
7. He can chug a beer with his grandsons at a Dodger game.
8. He was bracero for many years and separated from his family as he worked in the US and they lived in Zacatecas or in Tijuana. However, you’d never know this as our family is very close and he’s been married to Mamá Toni over 66 years.
9. He let us tag up his cast after falling and breaking his knee in March.
10. For many years, he’d dress up as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. He’d hand out gifts to all the cousins. We loved it, even if we knew he was in the suit.
Today is Papá Chepe’s 89th birthday. I hope we get to celebrate many more.