Today seems to be a day of letters. First the one I shared by Keith Woods on NPR to one of his mentors and then I encountered Peter, Paul, and Mary’s polite-yet-compelling letter asking NOM to stop playing their version of “This Land is Your Land” at rallies. I’m all about the three’s and being able to take care of your own destiny when you can, so here’s my third letter reference today…one I write to my mentor Bobby Salcedo who passed on in late December, the victim of senseless violence in the escalating violent war on drugs south of the American border.
Did you know you would get a freeway? It seems natural when you put it together with the fact that you filled both sides of Mountain View High School’s stadium, that the church couldn’t even hold the people who wanted to come through to pay their respects, that you didn’t just have any American flag but one that was sun-lit and held up in the sky by firetrucks, that there were doves that flew for you, that there was a seemingly endless procession of cars that led you to where you lay… But did you know you would get a freeway?
Did you know your Dad would get to throw the Honorary First Pitch at the Dodgers game last week? Did you know that he did so on the shoulders of over 1,000 people who bought tickets to that game, who sat cheering for you at that game, who probably all believed – like me – that you were why the Dodgers managed those consecutive home runs? They won one for you, and we’ll continue to win for you. Because of you, we believe more strongly in a better future, in the scholarships those ticket sales will fund, and in moments as magical as honorary first pitches at games played by your favorite team.
I was reminded at last week’s game that the last time I was at a Dodgers game, I was with Sister Cities and you were there. You made that silly hat of cardboard trays to protect yourself from the girls throwing peanuts at you. Betzy sat next to you laughing. I have a video of you dancing with that cardboard hat – striking Y-M-C-A poses like no one was watching while you knew very well that everyone was watching. I miss moments like that. I miss you.
Months have passed since you’ve been gone, but you’re never really gone. There are reminders of you everywhere: honors, awards, and scholarships in your name. Even though you’re gone, your goals and dreams live on. There are students who may never have been blessed to know you, but they will be blessed by you and the legacy we welcome the burden to continue on.
Do you know how much you make me believe – that anything is possible?
Did you know you would get a freeway?