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By Led Black

Leds_mom_pops_3 My pops likes to refer to Father’s day as “el día de los perros” because fathers don’t get the same kind of love and respect as mothers do.  With that in mind, this piece is dedicated to all the dads who deserve the title of father, felicidades. 

My pops has never been perfect.  He is the epitome of the old-school Dominican father.  Growing up my father rarely exhibited affection but worked tirelessly to put food on the table and to keep the lights on.  When he arrived home after a long day of work, he ruled the house with an iron fist.  Whatever anyone was watching on the house’s only TV was immediately changed to the Yankee game.  If my pops came home drunk, which was often back in the day, all bets were off.  No matter the time of night, he would stir up my mom to heat up some food for him and then would blast his music “a to lo que da” and awaken the rest of the house.  My father loved his amargue music, Jose Feliciano and Anthony Rios stayed on the record player that we weren’t even allowed to touch.  My pops, drunk out of his mind, would dance a few songs solo and then fall asleep on the toilet without even looking at the food my mom prepared for him.  It never failed but the next day he would awake at 5:00 AM for another day of work. 

With that being said, I love this man dearly.  I even enjoyed tremendously when my pops was drunk because that was when he was at his most generous.  My father was crazy tight with money when he was sober but when he was drunk, I could get five bucks easy just for taking off his shoes.  He would do a lot of stupid shit when he was drunk like starting fights with just about anybody; the worst was when he ignited a whole pack of firecrackers in his mouth, in front of my building one fourth of July, for no apparent reason.  My friends on my block never let me forget that one.   

I realize now that I am a husband and a father, I do a lot of same things he did minus the fireworks and the falling asleep on the toilet.  I too, aspire to the rule the house like a dictator.  I attribute my love of music at ungodly levels to him.  More importantly, I learned that being a man entails hard work, sacrifice and never-say-never determination.  I now understand that once you have kids, your needs and wants are secondary to theirs.  Ensuring that they have a better life than mine has become my mission.  Thanks Pops because even though you weren’t perfect you were there and that’s all that matters, felicidades!

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  1. Reply

    I have always been told that envy is a horrible thing. However, especially on Fathers Day, I can’t help but feel a little bit jealous of my friends whose Dads have been there for them. My Dad decided many years ago that a divorce from my Mom meant a divorce from my Sister and I. One time I was asked by a family member if I missed my Dad. I responded, quite honestly, that what I really missed was not the man, but the relationship itself. Even as a grown man, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to hang out with him. To talk about life with him. To have him kick my ass a few times when I would “get off track”, or come home “con mala nota” from school. I have not yet found the strength to deal with the fact that I grew up without my Dad, and on days like today, I wish I could. So to Led, and all of you out there that realize just what it means to be a DAD….I applaud you, and respect you, and wish you all a Happy Fathers Day.

  2. Reply
    Led Black

    Juan – As always thanks for your insightful comments. The man I wrote about in the piece is not my biological father but he has been my father nonetheless. I only met my biological father once when I was twelve, talk about awkward. I agree with you when you talk about the importance of the relationship between a father and his child. That fathers are vitally important is something that I re-learn everyday with my own kids.
    Led Black

  3. Reply
    Joanny G

    Leo, I must say once again you hit the nail on the head. I feel like you were describing my father, minus the firecrackers and the toilet sleeping. I swear we should make a sitcom with dominican stories.

  4. Reply

    Led elements of your story brought back some massive memories. Thankfully I have had my father in my life all my years, and his tireless hard work and sacrifice for my family; as well as the example he set has influenced me beyond measure.

    I have grown to appreciate my father greatly, especially the older I get. In my teen years it was a constant clash, as I began to establish my own identity as a man, and having inhereted his fire Dominican spirit made us clash even more;BUT STILL ALWAYS “CON RESPETO”.

    It Wasn’t until my mid 20’S that I got away from saying “BENDICION PAPI”…BUT I RESPECT HIM NONETHELESS


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