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Thursday, March 1, 2012

For my Grandpa

Just because I’m in the Philippines, doesn’t mean tragedy doesn’t affect me.  Yesterday, I was just informed that my Grandpa, Gonzalo Delgado died.  He was 85.  I’m sad, but I know he would’ve wanted me to move on and was proud of me for volunteering.  Let me tell you about him.

My grandfather was a great person to know.  He loved telling stories, taking me to the barber shop, and driving Grandma & myself to the movies, so all three of us could watch them.  His excitement wore off on me.  When I was little staying overnight at their house, my excitement for getting my haircut grew so much that I woke him up at four in the morning to remind him about our visit to the barber shop later that morning.  I think I remember him saying, “Miho, it’s 4 in the morning, it’s too early.”  The next morning he told my Grandma about his wake up call & they shared a laugh together.


He told some great stories, but one that I remember is the importance of reading.  He told me the story of one person applying for job at the factory he worked at.  All this person had to do was fill out the application & he had the job, but he couldn’t read and he wanted to take it home so a relative could fill it out.  However, the job application had to be completed there in the office.  This person wound up not applying because he couldn’t read the application.  I told this story to my students today, but my English is still too fast for them.  They just looked at me with a blank look, huh?  However, I will translate again in tagalog before their summer break, which is coming soon.


Before he was a Grandfather and a father, my Grandpa was saxophone player.  As I write this I put on some jazz music, the band Portico Quartet, album Isla.  There are some great saxophone sounds on this album and I know he would’ve loved it.   While I’m in the Philippines I am learning an instrument, the acoustic guitar, so far it’s pretty slow as I have no time to practice, but I hope I have tune or two down before I leave here.  You'll hear more stories about the trials & errors of learning the guitar soon.


“Grandpa you’re a great cook, you & Grandma should open up a restaurant,” I remember telling them. My Grandma was a great cook herself, I have to add.  One of the items my Grandpa cooked were pancakes and I loved waking up to the smell of those delicious cakes.   It’s ironic that in the last few weeks, I found a place in the market that cooks pancakes similar to his, not as good of course, but a respectable second, another place I know my Grandpa would’ve loved.  It’s as if my Grandpa was sending me a message to check this stand out, there’s a treat there for you. If you knew my Grandpa, please post your memories about him below.  You may also post memories at
Eating those delicious hot cakes Tuesday.


  1. Hey Steve,
    Thanks for your post! My Grandma died two Christmases ago and your post reminded me of her and how amazing of a person she was. Thank you for that :) I'm excited for you to move past the sadness of your loss and move to a point where little things remind you of your Grandpa and all you do is smile at them and remember how much he meant to you.
    See you in a few hours!

  2. Steve- I lost my grandmother last August, so I know how it is. I'm sorry for your loss, glad to see everything else is good.


  3. Gonzalo was a good story teller. When Gonzalo and Hope visited her parents in Mexico on a Sunday, everyone was in their Sunday best. Hope and her Mother and a cousin were adding the finishing touches to Sunday dinner. Gonz and a cousin had to walk to go to the local market and pickup mole' (gravy). They picked up a pot of mole without a lid and it was a good size pot. They decided to take the local bus back. In Mexico the local buses come to a complete stop at a main street and a rolling stop on side streets. Gonz and his cousin had to stand in the bus. There were two young guys sitting with a white shirt in their Sunday best talking about meeting girlfriends and there right next to Gonz. Gonzalo and the cousin are talking in Spanish. Gonz is having a hard time keeping the pot of mole’ steady. Wouldn't you know it the bus driver juked the bus and Gonz can't keep a steady balance. He spills some mole' onto the guy sitting next to him and that guy is doing a slow burn. Gonz's apologizes to the guy in English. The cousin tells Gonz in English to get off at the next stop. The next stop is a side street, so it's a moving stop and Gonz spilled more mole' on himself. The cousin tells him that it’s OK. It’s better than to get that guy’s size 10 boot up their rumps. Gonz said that walk seemed like it lasted forever.
    I wish I could give this story the justice it deserts. Gonz facial expression and hand movements at right moment when telling the story gave it style.
    Gonzalo you did your best. God be with you.

  4. Hi Steve, my deepest condolences on the passing of your grandfather, may he rest in peace.

    I have enjoyed very much reading your blog and I commend you on your work in PI.

    Be safe,
    Kim Borges

  5. Steve, My condolences on losing your grandpa. I didn't know him very well, but what I did know was that he was a nice man. My thoughts and prayers are with you Steve.