I was so moved by Lori Jakiela's March 23 First Person piece "It's Over Before You Know It" regarding her last memory of her father. All day, I had been thinking of my own father who passed away almost seven years ago from Alzheimer's disease and, on a whim, I picked up the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I was meant to read Ms. Jakiela's words. My own beautiful father, Hispanic, a hard worker, a powerful man with a mighty voice, stood 6 feet tall and wanted me to think of him. I was wishing I had had lunch with him, just the two of us, to ask him about his life, his goals and his disappointments. Then I remembered that we actually did have that lunch.
I was about 8 years old and we had just moved to the United States from Puerto Rico. I knew very little English and was thrust into a second-grade classroom. He brought me lunch one day. A sandwich, a fruit and milk. It was not unusual for a Hispanic child to drink milk out of a baby bottle until the age of 7 or 8. He wanted me to know that he had placed the milk and sugar in the proper quantities meant just for me. I vividly recall him pouring the milk out of the bottle and into the cup to spare me embarrassment or teasing by the other children. And we had lunch together, father and daughter sharing food, sunshine and warmth.