Enrique R. Hernandez
July 9, 1920 - October 15, 2012
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|The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
ďO PAPI, O PAPI, O PAPIĒ
That is what we chanted to you, whenever we wanted you to take us someplace. It did not matter that you were tired from a long week at work, you would always give in. You would take us to the Thrifty store to buy us a five cent scoop of ice cream. Itís incredible that you could bring a smile to eight children with less than one dollar. Or you would pack us into our station wagon to go to Floral drive-in show. It did not matter where we went. What mattered to you the most was that we were all together as a family.
You were a great provider and worked hard to always have food on the table for us. We always had everything we needed. I donít know how you did it to feed and clothe 8 children. But that was not enough for you. You always thought about giving us a special treat. Like the times you saved half your lunch so that you could share it with us after work. You loved to see us race to you, and see who would grab your lunch pail first. It usually was the older and faster children that always had your leftover pound cake and burrito. Once you noticed that the younger or slower children were not getting any of the leftovers. You would come home some days, and you would put the lunch pail under your arm so we could not grab it and tell us you didnít have any leftovers. Then you would go to the younger children and let them have the leftovers. Thatís how you taught us to give and protect the less fortunate.
Unity and love of family was very important to you. Throughout your life you demonstrated that by your actions. Every weekend we would visit various family members. Like the cousins, Saavedra and Hernandez. It was important to you that we kept in touch with the family. In keeping family together, you had the traditional thanksgiving dinner where we all joined you in prayer and food. You also welcomed any new members to the family during this time. You were happy, because you were surrounded by such a big family.
Devotion to God was important to you. You took us to church every Sunday and taught us to be good to one another and our neighbor. You showed us that by having God in our heart, we could overcome anything.
You told us a story, when you were a young man you made a promise to your father that you would take care of your mother for the rest of her life. After a stroke, our grandfather had lost his speech. But, he found a way to communicate to you with his eyes, his wishes for you to take care of his wife once he passed away. You fulfilled that promise by working three jobs here in the United States and sending her money so she could build a home. You told us that story many times so we could also have the same devotion to our mother. Because for you, total devotion and love for a mother was paramount. You told mom, ďI gave you so many children so that you could be surrounded by love and that you would be taken care of.Ē
We thank you because, you taught us the beauty of having God in our lives, the strong bond of family, taking pride in our jobs, and taking responsibility for the choices we make in our lives. You instilled good morals in each of us and that legacy will live on in your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Alzheimerís may have taken your memory and glaucoma may have taken your sight, but nothing could take the love you have in your heart for your wife, your children, your grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. You continued to express that love for children as you did for us, till the very end of your life. That was evident when we brought our grandchildren to visit you and sat them on your lap. You touched their tiny hands and kissed their heads, and that brought a loving smile to your face.
"O PAPI, O PAPI, O PAPI," may your loving soul rest in peace with the Almighty Lord Our God. "O PAPI, O PAPI, O PAPI."