SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 74: A Good Father

Flu is in the air and I hope I’m dodging a bullet. Not sure yet, two hot showers and the chills stay hold of me. The sun is dropping, and with contracting stomach, I’m not feeling that motivated. Even though it’s rather early, 4:30pm, the thought of being too far away from the sanctuary of the water closet is still not that appealing. I say this with humility, knowing we’ve all walked these trails a time or two.

But with 150 to 300 visits a day registering on my blog statistics, there is no way I can let you guys down. Oh yeah, I forgot, It’s cold and raining too. I’m truly having trouble starting the 365 engine today. So I have to give credit where credit is due. I’m going out for the readers today. “Thanks for the push.

As my father always told me, “Keep a stiff upper lip.” So with his council blaring in my mind, to the door I go for a walk. I grab the doorknob, and before turning it to engage the opening of our house portal, I pause, looking to the sky in plea for a swift journey and settled bowels.

Out the door I go… Oh, not good! The streets are barren, rain approaching, and all are inside. In self abuse, I visualize them sipping hot cider and relaxing at day’s end. Funny enough, due to the stomach woes I’m experiencing, the thought of cider does not appeal to me. Take that self abuse lobe, the last thing I need this evening is a digestive.

I press on, no one to the left, and no one to the right. I carefully stroll and not wanting to accept defeat from a mere stomach virus, I prepare for a long, cold, wet walk. Not fifty steps from my front door, I spy my neighbor of six years. I’ve given him countless nods from my car, quick hellos from across the street, and the occasional wave from afar.

I think for a moment about my wife’s commentary of few days ago, “For The Love Of Dogs,” and realize that I know nothing about my neighbor. He is the only human in sight, Perhaps he is my answer to my heavenly plea.

If all things happen for a reason, as stated yesterday by Molly at the veterinary clinic, then maybe my slowing is a divining rod of sorts in leading me to truly meet my neighbor. One thing is for certain, I’m positive if I were feeling well and the weather was optimal, my path would have been drastically different.

I approach my two doors down and across the street neighbor, and shake hands with my new friend Pedro.

At first we struggle a bit in communicating, having a Spanish/English language barrier. It does not take us too long, however, to find a mutual speaking pace and I am all ears.

Since 2005, I’ve been aware of Pedro, his eclectic front yard (picture a 24/7 garage sale), constant shuffling of projects and curb parked cars in various states of repair. Pretty much all I knew about him, that is, until tonight.

I find out Pedro is a man of great depth and world experience.¬†Originally from San Miguel, El Salvador, Pedro has covered the gamut of careers. “In El Salvador I was a very successful event planner.” He is humble in revealing his full history. Which leads me to inquire a little deeper. Pedro opens up and give’s me a full timeline of his transition to becoming a United States Citizen.

Bear with me for a moment, I have to jump tracks to set the scene as to what Pedro is all about. One word, “Family”

Pedro has an incredible intellect and work ethic, all for one purpose. Not self-gratification, Not riches, but simply for his children. All of whom are successfully near the end of their academic studies. “My daughter is studying to be a veterinarian, my older son is almost a doctor and my youngest son is studying biology at Cal State Northridge.

His work history is secondary, Event planner in El Salvador to University administrator in Mexico to reselling cars and cleaning house with his wife in America. Why such a path?

Again, Family. “I wanted my children to get the best education they could. That’s why I moved.”

Pedro is an activist, “I had to leave Mexico, I got involved in working to expose the corruption in the educational system, so they took away my job.” He says this with a spirit of hope, and I can tell he has the knowledge that he did the right thing.

I ask him why he has so much stuff. The short answer, “My hobby is yard sales.” He goes on to reveal a deeper and more meaningful explanation for his endless inventory of goods. “We are destroying our planet with waste. Especially in America, where so many are materialistic. I see so much thrown away that does not need to be discarded. There is too much trash killing our environment. I save and repair what I need, and don’t buy what is not needed. That’s why I have all this.”

Pedro is a selfless man, Family first, take care of the world and love life.

Of love of life, the proof is in the pudding. All of Pedro’s children are happy. “We are a close family, my house is a very special place, and I’m proud to say that my children have no vices. They don’t drink, smoke and understand, respect, love, charity and compassion. I taught them early about manners and the importance of being a good person. All thing that my mother taught me when I was a child.”

We’ve been talking for an hour now, my upset stomach has mostly been dormant, but feeling it’s rumblings beginning to return, and knowing that I must soon go (in more ways than one), I ask my final question while I accompany Pedro in returning to his task of painting his motor home.

What are you wishes for the future?

A two-part answer.

“My children happy and working as professionals.”


To return to my small town in El Salvador. I miss my culture, my people are friendly. Everybody is happy. That’s the way I was raised.”

Pedro, Thanks for the message. Your right, “Family is First.”