Hello Baby Loco,
My name is ________, and I was lucky enough to meet your dad Mr Loco around the same time you did. You were born into a neighborhood that is pretty special. Everyone that moves into this neighborhood has an opportunity to become part of the ______ St Family. Luckily for us, your parents welcomed this invitation and we quickly bonded. One of the traditions of this block is to meet up weekly towards the end of our work week for some adult beverages, storytelling, sharing updates and tons of laughter. The first time your parents came out to “The Porch”, as we like to call it, I quickly realized your parents were something very different from what we had been accustomed to with other fellow Arizonans. They had a tough/smart/friendly combination to their personalities that was unique and intriguing. Here are a few stories I would like to share with you to give you a better sense of the amazing man your father was-
THE FIRST TIME
The first Porch your dad attended, I did what I always do with newcomers I asked a thousand questions. Your dad shared openly and patiently with us his background. I can’t remember (for reasons I will always deny to you as a young, impressionable young lady) the exact way the topic shifted to firefighting, but your dad and I got into a healthy debate about the internal makeup that firefighters require to do the challenging job they are tasked with. I did not have any idea your dad’s history/training with volunteering for many respectable services including as an EMT and Sheriff! I did know that I had attempted to go through the process of being a firefighter and did not get selected, which in my head gave me all the credibility I needed to debate with your dad. A few minutes into our debate, it occurred to me that Mr Loco was only slightly interested in furthering this debate. Not because he was losing. He most likely did not want to embarrass me in front of everyone. I do remember him looking at me at the end with an expression that said “You are underestimating my experience in life, this is slightly irritating, but I am a gentleman and winning this silly debate is not what I am here for”. I reflect on this moment with great memories, as this reminds me of many attributes your dad had. Smart, extremely compassionate, passionate about everything he does, a heart of gold. I knew this the first day I spent any significant tie with him. Your dad! (By the way, you were in your mom’s belly at this time!)
YOUR FIRST TIME
The first time you met us was under 24 hours after you were born. To compare my kids experience after birth Baby Loco, I wouldn’t let my kids and wife out of the house for 2 weeks. Plain fear. Not your parents. They brought you out, and you were an instant star. J and I started our silly competition over who would be the Godfather (which is ridiculous since we barely met your parents) and we begged for your affection throughout the evening. Watching your dad that evening, how much pride he had in his eyes, his resolve to share you with us, allowing two goofy old guys to pander to your affections, all of those things stand out to me. Most men would be either territorial with their newborn daughter or on edge. Your dad looked like he was the happiest, most relaxed person in the world. He was just in complete bliss, thoughtful enough to share that with others. A man of his people.
As we go to know your dad, he brought his own traditions to our neighborhood. This has never happened before on our block. J (another neighbor you like a little less than me) and I are usually leading the way with many of our neighborhood traditions, including big Halloween and Easter Celebrations with the kids.Your dad started his own tradition. He invited us all of us over to your house and made the most amazing pancake dish (I believe it is called Foster Pancakes? That’s wrong but your mom will laugh and give you the correct name) that we would come over to eat on Christmas Eve. I had the opportunity to experience this twice with your dad. He not only was an amazing cook, he was never the type to do it to impress or for attention. He simply wanted to be a good person doing something nice for others. Because that is what he did. Many, many times.
Your dad was a fierce fighter. He had the misfortune of getting a nasty virus that has some weird French name, I believe. It forced your dad to not only fight for his life, but is also required him to relearn how to do many basic things such as walking and regaining his fine motor skills. This nasty virus never took away his brilliant mind. Or that look in his eyes that showcased his internal strength. I have a lot of practice observing people with the work that I do Baby Loco. Your dad could stare a Tiger down to fight for what he believed in, or for his life. He did it Baby Loco. He kicked that horrible virus’s butt. He did it with such dignity. A man often will rely on his physical strength or ability to feel adequate. Your dad taught all of us men on the block that our body is just a shell of our soul. He got the most out of his body, and when his body failed, he kept on going. This fight your dad experienced was the most inspiring thing that I have ever been close to Baby Loco. I am not overstating that at all. Since that time, I always think of your dad when life feels hard. I advise you that you do the same.He will always instill that for you, just keep him in your thoughts and he will inspire you to great things.
Baby Loco, I have a 16-year-old sophomore and a 14-year-old eighth grader who are both growing young men. Your dad impacted them without spending much time with them. That is not easy to do with teenagers, as you will come to observe later in life. His story is a Hero’s story, legendary. (By the way, your dad would hate that analogy, but that is just too bad! His humble nature would avoid such a label.) My boys were able to be exposed to how hard, and often unfair, life can be from him. They also were exposed to someone who never complained or dwelled on this fact. He just carried on, squeezing as much fun, adventure, and true kindness to giving back to mankind as one can do. I will always carry your Dad’s name as an example to my boys of how to live life. For myself, I am only 43 years old. I too will think of Mr Loco as my mentor in living life every moment, every day, paying attention to how I can impact the world with the inspiration of his memory. Baby Loco, I will always be available to share more of my thoughts with you. I hope this letter will stay with you through the years. If you happen to lose it, I will keep a copy for you. With all of your love, The _______________