This evening, I bid farewell to Edith’s dad, my father-in-law, former-Pastor Juan Quiroz at BWI. After trekking nearly 3,000 miles cross-country from Oregon to Maryland and then touring the Baltimore/DC area these past two days together he now heads to Oklahoma on a different mission–to help the brothers in that area rebuild their roof that caved in due to heavy snow with final destination to Oregon.
From day one he helped us move. He came over last Friday morning to pack, p/u large items that we weren’t bringing to Delaware, sweep, mop and ensure our fire alarms had new batteries, along w/ our friends Jose Ibarra, Cassandra Villanueva, and Christian Cortes they made it happen for us. My suegro waited the entire Saturday ready to depart in the am and when we didn’t show up in the morning he spent the day helping his older sister in repairing her sink plumbing that had flooded the kitchen. Upon us arriving in The Dalles he began checking the SUV fluid levels, packing fruits and bottled waters for the road.
The trip was incredible, and enlightening. We both were excited to get going and made incredible time. He is one of the most practical, humble, initiative-driven and polite persons I got to know better. We decided to camp out in Utah in the SUV instead of a hotel only because it was already 3am (no need for one at that point he said). During the trip I listened to him intently coach and mentor his church base in Minnesota, Colorado, and Oklahoma–their church is national. I learned his leadership philosophy. Instead of telling the Oklahoma church leader, Jorge Garcia, what to do, he layed out the situation. He counseled. Step one. The how. Step two. The when. How are we going to rebuild? How should it be built, ie gable, flat, etc? And, secondly, the when. When do we start? My suegro made it clear that it was Jorge’s decision but that he needed to demonstrate the leadership. He articulated the situation, provided options and clearly paved the way for Jorge to organize his church.
Everytime we sat to eat whether on the road or this past week at the APG dining facility or DFAC, he led a prayer. We prayed for our families back home, for another day to breathe and live, for the food nourishments and for the ability to work and contribute. Prayer is powerful I got to learn even more.
He made me laugh when we both were doing laundry at Swan Creek Inn. Apparently, the base must have run out of monies or pipes wide enough to run the water out so instead some of the washers were jerry-rigged to an old tub and then the dirty water is spilled into a drain in the middle of the laundry room. My suegro demonstrated his expertise when he showed me the pipes and how they should run, pointing each one to me. How could he not? He built his house in the The Dalles almost from scratch and consistently remodels his home while remodeling his two sons and family’s homes as well, from new kitchens, bathrooms, hardwood floors, roofing and patios. Everytime we drove by a Home Depot he either wanted to stop or counseled me that they have classes for all types of learning levels. I told him my Home Depot is Borders/Barnes & Noble. He smiled.
This past week I gave him a tour of the JPED and he was amazed how we take care of our own. I introduced him to the Commander, First Sergeant, military and civilian personnel. Over the weekend, I took him out to DC to tour the White House, Jefferson, Lincoln, Korean and WWII memorials. As we read through Jefferson and Lincoln’s writing my father-in-law would point out the biblical references. “These great men studied the bible and were well versed–we can only hope what we read, understand and implement one-tenth of their work,” he argued. Despite his mastery of the English language, he’d read and re-read the passages outloud as if to study the meaning behind it. We were fortunate to have lunch w/ a friend and former Oregon legislative staffer, Ezra Casteel, who now works at the U.S. State Department. Ezra and I Facebook’d each other and met up at the Lincoln memorial. We walked along the Potomac River by JFK Center for the Performing Arts, Watergate Hotel, and onto Georgetown for lunch at a popular middle eastern pub. We walked a ton and Ezra was an awesome guide pointing out areas unbenown to us.
This afternoon I showed my suegro Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Fells Point and we lunched at Los Arcos. There he told the owner, Nicolas Ramos, “David, le gusta la politica y ayudando a la gente.”
Recently, I was asked if I ever got bored of him or not get along. The truth is it was an extreme pleasure hanging out with him and getting to know him better. I realized this past week the importance of father involvement in the lives of our children; the importance of persevering for our kids, working smart and giving them a better life. When I first met him years ago, he told me to take good care of his daughter. Today, prior to him going through the BWI security gate and a big hug he told me to take special care of his daughter, Edith, and his granddaughters Maya, Paloma & Citlali. He said he would find out otherwise now that Maya is talking. I smiled and knew he was right. Being away from home, he and I both would get a kick out of it when we saw their pictures online and heard them talk through my BlackBerry.
I promised him not to worry the girls are and will always be in the best of hands and wished him God Speed in his next mission in Oklahoma and would see him soon. With that we bid farewell and now onto waiting for the girls pending arrival.
Cheers from APG, Maryland, David
Update: he arrived safely in Oklahoma and has now started work on rebuilding their church. Previously, I wrote a post on their church in The Dalles, how he brought it from Mexico City and how it expanded in the U.S.