Today was my Dad’s Birthday

Happy Birthday Dad

The irony of Val’s Post regarding today’s date. August 13 is usually looked as the birth date of a decrepit tyrant. To me, this date has always been my dad’s birthday. He would have turned 85 today. Since his untimely death in 1994, I would always commiserate about my dad on this day with my mom. Now for the first time in my life, I no longer have her to commiserate with. As an only child growing up it was essentially Mom, Dad, the Cuban Abuelos, and me that lived together. As the years went on, my grandfather died in 1977, my grandmother in 1988, my dad in 1994 and my mom in 2008. Now I’m at the top of the heap as they say.

The irony of it all is that while a good man born on that date lived only to see his 69th Birthday, an evil man born on that day is still around with blood on his hands and with room for more.

If there is a Heaven where all the souls are hanging out and partying and what not, then I know that my old man is celebrating today with my mom. I’m sure she’s playing the piano for him which he and their old friends are enjoying once again.

As for me, in the words of Beatle George Harrison, “All I have is a photograph and I realize you’re not coming back anymore.” It’s a good thing I always took pictures. It’s the one bit of advice I can always give anyone. Even if you’re not a photographer, always take pictures of your loved ones and friends. In everyday settings, not just holidays and special events. I took this photograph in 1978 on B&W film as a teenager. It’s always been one of my favorite pics of the old man. My grandmother’s reflection is in the image too. Probably one of my most treasured images.

So rather than expend energy on the evil tyrant today, I’ll toast the old man. Salut!



16 thoughts on “Today was my Dad’s Birthday

  1. That is a beutiful picture Mike. What you said about taking pictures is so true. My only memories of my father are pictures that my mother took. She knew he wasent going to live long after me and my brother were born. So she took pictures of him holding me. That is all i have and i cherish them with all my heart. I’ll give a toast to your father too. Slainte! ( that is a toast in Gaelic). God bless you and your family.

  2. From now on, August 13th will be your Father’s birthday for me instead of remembering the evil one. I am sure today your father is up in heaven listening to your mom playing the piano and being proud of you. Thanks for the advise, my mother is 90 and my dad 84 and I will certainly start taking more pictures of them, not just on holidays.

  3. You made me a little fahrklempt, chico. I’m sorry for your loss, and I know both of your parents are up there bragging about their talented son. It makes me realize how short life is and how we should treat those we truly love with love and respect while they are physically with us.

    Spend today recalling happy, fun thoughts about your dad.

  4. One day we will recognize that this was the greatest generation of Cubans ever…. Keep up the fight… you dad would be proud….

  5. Hi Mike, this post totally crushed me. Here’s to your Dad!

    Thanks for the advice, I will always make sure to have my camera on me.

  6. Congratulations on your wonderful family, amigo. Thanks for sharing.

    Alas…I also thought Photograph was by Ringo, circa fall of 1973. (didn’t know about George’s authorship?, unreal)

    And those Keith Richards (circa Nov.1969, right before Altamont) t-shirts available from

    Of course they look best on a good model:

  7. CMike,
    Hermano, my best to you. I share your sentiments igualmente. We came from Cuba when I was 8. My grandfather died in 1978, my dad at 69 in 1994, and my mom in 2008 at 82. May the Lord bless all of our relatives’ souls that were not able to see a free Cuba. So, like you, I am also now carrying the ‘eternal torch’ for them.

  8. Beautiful picture.
    He looks like Richard Armey.
    Not only should you take pictures, but you should always tell them you love them.

  9. Hey man, I’ll drink a toast to your old man tonight. I’ve only my mom left, too, to remember her husband – my dad – I don’t look forward to her inevitable departure from this living world. Salut! y Viva Cuba Libre!

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