One of the greatest blessings I've had in my life is my Dad. He's a constant that has always been there for me in times when I've needed him and in times that were just fun, he's added to my life in so many ways that they are too many to count.
Growing up as a kid, I didn't have the best life to look forward too back then. I had a beautiful single mom that was always preyed upon by various malcreants. We were poor, living in some pretty interesting places back in those days. My mom had come out of an extremely abusive relationship with my biological father where there was severe physical, mental, financial and Heaven only knows what kind of abuse which was mostly mostly inflicted upon her. The worse was when he held a gun to her head and that is when she decided to get out.
When she met my dad Tony (1964), I sensed his goodness and fell right into his calm demeanor. We became best of friends and I was jealous that he wanted to spend time with my mom instead of me. Well, it all worked out in the end and I was sealed to him and my mom years later in the Los Angeles Temple. I had returned from my mission and was know as Elder Ralph Perez. The folks at the Temple had a hard time understanding why I didn't change my name. I told them it was what I was know as and that worked for me. It took them a while to accept that but they eventually did.My dad took a city boy and taught him how to hunt, fish, and to love the outdoors. He also taught me how to have etiquette, respect for others, especially the elderly and to be accepting of all people and to give more than I ever took.To this day, the legacy of what he taught me, all the good things, all the life lessons, many were taught out in the field or while he and I worked on cars at night while I was kid, lives on and have been taught to my kids. I've done a terrible job of emulating what he taught me but I always had his example to use as a standard. I would do anything to hang around and learn from him. He taught me to be honest and upright. Even though there were challenges in his life, he made sure that we didn't make the same mistakes. This last week my dad had an Elk hunt that he came up for. Despite our best efforts, we just couldn't catch up with them. I watched my 76 year old dad hunt with the same enthusiasm he had when I first met him. He can't seem to go as far or nearly as fast but, he still goes and that to me is important. His words are " I had a great wilderness experience! Chuckle Chuckle Chuckle!" We are still laughing at our funny follies chasing these blasted critters but what is the real plus, is the memories we made and the feelings shared. Tony my son, Gramps and me had another wonderful bonding experience out in the hills. It's barely over and we're already planning the next year! Crazy huh? ha ha ha ha
We love you Dad (aka Gramps)!