Celebrating My Dad … With a Small Latte, and a Box of Betty Crocker

30 Jan

It’s a big one today. The BIG 6-5. He would’ve been 65 today.

Happy Birthday balloon and flowers for dad.

Happy Birthday balloon and flowers for dad.

We definitely would’ve had a party, complete with fancy table cloths and napkins. Not the paper kind, I suppose. And steak, definitely steak for dinner, followed by a cake. A special order one from the Cuban bakery down the street, not my annual  homemade cake from a box. We’d  be surrounded by family, friends, a special slide show/montage of his life through pictures and maybe even a speech. And in truth there would also probably be all kinds of stress because of the festivities and my crazy control-freak sister. But instead I spent it with a small latte and a box of Betty Crocker.

Many people need it. They wake up in the morning in a horrible, ready-to-beat-someone-up mood, but then they smell it. It’s in the air. The aroma. It catches them and then there’s a deep breath … a sigh of relief. It changes everything. And then when they taste it … forget about it. Coffee. For some people it’s the X Factor of the day. Me … I hadn’t had one in over a year and before that, fifteen years ago when I tried it in college at a one of those “cool” coffee shops on the corner and all it did was give me a crazy, horrible stomach ache and prevent me from studying that night. I ended up with cup of Sal de Uvas. I’m a tea person myself. But today …  today I ordered something called a latte, and then another one, for my dad. A simple coffee, black with two sugars.

“Let’s have a cup of coffee and talk about life.”

I said it in times of sadness or stress, mostly to make him laugh. And it worked. I don’t know where I’d heard it, probably on TV or something.

“Thanksgiving coming around. Stressed out about all those turkeys and inventory at the store, huh? Let’s have a cup of coffee and talk about life.”

“My sister’s getting married and not just moving out of state, but way to the other side of the country, like by the Atlantic Ocean. Hmph. You wanna have a cup of coffee and talk about life?”

The Sopranos is ending, huh? Let’s have a cup of coffee and talk about life.”

“April 14. 11:50 p.m. Haven’t filed taxes yet, huh? Let’s have a cup of coffee and talk about life.”


I was a tea drinker, but it got him every time.

My Dad hanging out with us back in the day.

My Dad hanging out with us back in the day.

So today in honor of him turning 65, there was no fancy restaurant, no fancy trip, no presents, and no family or friends, but there was cake. I woke up early, made a trip to the VONS, walked over to aisle 2 and grabbed a box of Betty Crocker Yellow Cake Mix. The Super Moist kind. Whipped up the simple recipe, looked at my own slide show, remembered old stories, and then headed over to see my dad.

But I made one quick stop. I bought myself the latte, and then bought him his regular coffee. I headed off to the cemetery to have that conversation. I’ll have to admit … it was a little one-sided, and the deer or gardeners will probably drink the coffee I left for him, but I still enjoyed the visit. I just missed his voice. His voice and his laughter.

But the cake … the cake was good. Chocolate frosting of course. I ate both pieces. Feliz Cumpleanos, Chito. 




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12 Responses to “Celebrating My Dad … With a Small Latte, and a Box of Betty Crocker”

  1. 76sanfermo January 31, 2013 at 2:43 AM #

    Luckily , I found you, again!
    I was moved by your story , cumpleaño feliz , to your dad!

  2. adinparadise January 31, 2013 at 10:33 AM #

    Lovely post, TG. Brought tears to my eyes, but the memories you have are really good ones. It’s nice to celebrate even when our loved ones are gone. Hugs to you.

    • The Guat January 31, 2013 at 11:38 AM #

      Thanks for the hugs, most definitely needed them on that birthday. But you’re right, I’ve got a lot of Dad stories, trying to write them all down so that I don’t forget 🙂

  3. marydpierce January 31, 2013 at 4:49 PM #

    Your dad sounds like an amazing father! I read this, and then I read the linked post from last year. I could ‘hear’ his voice, and his laughter. What a great guy. You tell his story well. I wish he were still here for you.

    • The Guat January 31, 2013 at 10:18 PM #

      Oh! I so wish it too. He had his ups and downs like everyone else, but he definitely was a very cool dad. I’ve got lots of stories that revolve around all kinds of holidays, including birthdays and Super Bowls of course. Thanks so much for the kind words and for reading the other link. 🙂

  4. lameadventures January 31, 2013 at 7:05 PM #

    Lovely tribute Guat. A good guy father is very special. I still have mine, but he’ll be 86 in a month and he’s not in the greatest health. Sorry that you no longer have yours, but when you think of him, it sounds like have many wonderful memories. I’m a tea drinker, too!

    • TheGuat February 2, 2013 at 12:57 AM #

      It’s so great that you still have yours, but I’m sorry to hear about the health part. Maybe you guys can have a cup of tea together, herbal does wonders 🙂

  5. Cayman Thorn February 1, 2013 at 4:05 AM #

    Another beautiful tribute to the man you know and love.

    • TheGuat February 2, 2013 at 12:59 AM #

      Thanks 🙂 He was definitely one of my best friends.

  6. dunelight May 1, 2015 at 5:57 PM #

    I am sorry for your loss.

    • The Guat June 25, 2015 at 10:42 AM #

      Thanks. He was a cool Dad who had his awesome moments and he’s definitely missed.

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