Saturday, April 25, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Here’s to our ‘tios’ on Father’s Day

navarrette column sig

By
From page A9 | June 15, 2014 |

SAN DIEGO — Father’s Day makes me sentimental. Never mind that the day plays second fiddle to one with a bigger name. Mother’s Day has been an official U.S. holiday since 1914, but Father’s Day has been on the calendar only since 1972.

On previous Father’s Days, I’ve reflected on my own father, who is about to turn 73, and on my becoming a dad. I’ve acknowledged that raising, with my wife, three children under the age of 10 is the most important job we’ll undertake as a couple. Being a dad is also my most humbling gig, since I go around feeling as if I’m always making mistakes.

Yet, this Father’s Day is a somber one, and so my mind is on something else. Or rather someone else. I’m thinking about those family members who step up and make a conscious effort to involve themselves in the life of a child. Even though they don’t have to, and with no one asking them to, they treat that child like one of their own and become an additional father figure.

It’s time to celebrate uncles, especially those who make the strongest impression on their nieces and nephews and impact those lives for the better.

I was blessed to have a few uncles like that. In Spanish, we call them tios. My father had four older brothers, and they were all attentive and supportive of me and my adventures – or, as sometimes was the case, misadventures. But the one who invested the most time and made the strongest impression was my uncle Waldo, who died three months ago. His birthday is the week after Father’s Day, and he would have been 78.

My uncle had two sons. My cousins were close to me in age, and so I was around them a lot growing up. This gave my Uncle Waldo the chance to look out for me, and he did that exceptionally well my entire life. He did whatever he could to make sure that I was happy and successful. He took my cousins and me to movies, arcades and baseball games to watch his favorite team, the San Francisco Giants. His life changed about 35 years ago, when he was hit by a car and paralyzed. But in the decades that followed, I never saw him wallow in pity or fester with anger.

What I saw was that he became even more involved in the lives of the people he cared about, and I was privileged to be among them. We would visit and laugh and talk for hours, as he delighted in relaying to me his strongest memories – both good and bad.

Born in 1936 in Central California, he grew up in an era when discrimination against Mexican-Americans was a fact of life, and opportunities were scarce. Back then, being a success meant landing a job indoors, in a place with air conditioning. Most Mexican-Americans worked in the fields, canneries or packing houses.

One day, while picking cotton with the rest of the family when he was about 15, my uncle got a scolding from my grandfather, who wanted him to be more like those other young people in the fields who were picking much faster. My uncle responded that he didn’t want to excel in that arena but to escape it.

A few years later, he went to work for the state forest service, putting out fires. He got that job when a kindhearted supervisor, an Italian-American, helped him fill out the paperwork because, he told my uncle, “we minorities have to stick together.” Eventually, he worked as an investigator for the county public defender’s office, where he put his Spanish-speaking ability and people skills to work in defense of due process and the rights of the accused.

I like to think he made a difference. But my Uncle Waldo’s greatest legacy is that he was simply a good dad, and a good uncle. That’s enough.

Today, I’m an uncle to six little ones – the sons and daughters of my wife’s sisters. I spend a lot of time trying to take care of them and make sure they don’t miss out on anything. My in-laws sometimes seem mystified, and ask me why I’m doing it.

I don’t have a choice, I tell them. It’s a family tradition. Besides, I had a great role model.

Happy Father’s Day, Tio. And thank you.

Ruben Navarrette is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Reach him at [email protected]

Ruben Navarrette

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Transportation leaders point to need for funding changes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Together to remember children lost to violence

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Church offers free Southern Gospel concert

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Summer Spare the Air season set to start

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

‘Cinderella’ carries on despite theater flood

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
3 letters to Vacaville may cost $100,000 to answer

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Suisun City police log: April 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: April 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Food often a conduit to something more

By Murray Bass | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

San Francisco Catholics deeply divided over archbishop

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Colleges starting to offer brewing courses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Hate crime charges for homeless beating suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
SFPD to pay for settlement of wrongful termination suit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

16 students injured when school stage collapses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Thousands march to mark anniversary of Armenian massacres

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Man ordered to stand trial for kidnap, rape charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Nuclear launch officers charged in drug case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Supreme Court ruling keeps sex offender registration in place

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Rubio looking to gain support in Iowa

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hep C, HIV cases spike throughout Indiana

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
Obama uses hospital funds to help push for Medicaid expansion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hawaii raises smoking age to 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Gray should have received medical treatment

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Italy police arrest nine terror suspects in sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Yemen rebels ordered to pull back

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

US completing review of hostage policy following drone strikes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

 
Chaos in the primaries

By Thomas Sowell | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

Joy of baseball back in my life

By Deon Price | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: April 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Daughters’ ex is determined to turn their children against her

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

.

Entertainment

Seriously silly, Monty Python reunites for a weekend tribute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

SCC baseball team wins to claim share of BVC title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1, 2 Comments

 
Ynoa, Butler send Rockies to 6-4 win over Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Vikings fall to Jaguars 4-3 in 8 innings

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
After working OT in NBA playoffs, Curry, Rose can earn rest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Scott Dixon is chasing IndyCar wins leaders, not spotlight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ducking the spotlight, some stars decide to skip NFL draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Garber: MLS plan in 6 months to expand beyond 24 teams

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Dortmund, American Pharoah vie for favorite in 141st Derby

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Harden, Howard lead Rockets to 130-128 win, 3-0 lead on Mavs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Olympic sailing events may be moved from Rio’s polluted bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Canadian Henderson shoots tournament record for LPGA lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bowyer and Stewart looking for good runs at Richmond

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Oregon wins distance medley relay at Penn Relays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Goodell: LA projects viable for bringing back team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former Buckeyes teammates Cook, Sindelar top Legends of Golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Swafford, Weekley atop Zurich Classic leaderboard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Logano wins pole at Richmond, his third of the season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Usain Bolt: Gay’s reduced doping ban sends wrong message

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Signups for Saturday, April 25, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B3

.

Business

Winners and losers of the demise of the big Comcast deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
What could McDonald’s do to fix its business?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 2 Comments | Gallery

Durable goods orders up, but business investment falls again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Harley recalls nearly 46,000 motorcycles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comcast abandons Time Warner Cable bid after gov’t pushback

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Cheaper fuel has airlines soaring to record profits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Wynn Resorts shareholders: Elaine Wynn won’t return to board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Ford recalls 390,000 cars to fix door latches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
.

Home Seller 4/25/2015

Ask a Designer: decorating with spring pastels

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1 | Gallery

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage slips to 3.65 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3

Real estate transactions for April 25, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3