My grandfather loved hummingbirds.
He especially loved hummingbirds when they would visit his garden
and feed from his string bean vines in full bloom.
I’m sure that if I ask my grandmother if she remembers this,
she would tell me that she does not.
But my mama remembers.
One day, I asked my grandmother if she remembered that my grandfather used to take coumadin for his heart.
She told me that she tries to forget those things. They were in the past.
She tells me to wait until I get older, and see that I will forget too.
But I don’t want to forget. And therein lies the difference.
Until the day I die, I shall speak their names and remember.
How could I forget the way my grandfather looked as he was being wheeled into the operating room, with a confidence that he would survive that defied all logic.
He made it out alive of 4 open-heart surgeries.
He had a big heart, both literally and figuratively, but more importantly, figuratively.
I remember how he tickled so well that it was torment, your stomach and cheeks hurting from so much laughing.
I remember that he liked Reese’s peanut butter cups.
I’m glad that I was able to enjoy a cup of coffee with him.
And I’m glad for the times when he would tell me stories of when he was growing up in Bicol during the War.
My grandfather and my grandmother were both born in 1933, he in April, she in October.
My grandmother has never been much of a storyteller.
I keep wondering what she’s been trying to forget all these years.
To the point of forgetting that I am her granddaughter.
But today, I remember anew.
A hummingbird fed from the salvia on our patio.
And I remember my grandfather.
Roy Jonathan Briza Alvarez.