Saturday, December 23, 2006


my sweet, sweet grandfather passed away yesterday. i'm devastated.

my peruvian grandparents (mis abuelos), who pretty much lived with me my entire life, were the one sole reason why i delayed moving out of kansas until my mid 20's. they always seemed so fragile even though they were always remarkably healthy for their age... neither spoke a word of english, neither ever reached 5 foot tall, neither ever got anything beyond a second grade education... i spent the majority of my adolescence and early adulthood fearing that every day was possibly their last. while living in lawrence, ks during college i would drive the 35 minutes to their house as much as i could to take them to dinner, watch spanish television with them, translate mail for them, anything i could to spend more time with them. in return they'd tell me stories, sing to me, drink bottles of wine with me... when i finally moved away from the midwest, the ocd-style fear started to dissipate but never really left. i still feared early morning phone calls from my mother or father would inevitably rear bad news. but no, they lived, and lived and lived on. my grandfather, at the ripe old age of 91, was still walking almost a mile a day and was as sprightly and enthusiastic as any man 40 years his minor. he was a troubadour, a dancer and a lover of the good things in life -- good food, good friends, taking care of his family, live music, dancing and getting boozed up. i am so happy i got to come home a week early for the holiday and so unbelievably happy i got to say goodbye to my abuelo. he died peacefully and quickly. he had a beautiful life.

here is the obit to run in tomorrow's kansas city paper:

"Juan Pedro Calderon, 91, Shawnee (formerly Lima, Peru) passed away peacefully December 22, 2006 after a brief illness. Juan was a kind, generous man who never acted his age and never met a stranger. He loved music, food and his family. He leaves behind a loving family, wife Emilia, son Pedro and wife Cheryl, grandchildren Ana, Sara, Daniel and Maria, great-grandaughters Chloe and Ava, and his family in Peru. Friends are invited to a celebration of his life at the Calderon home December 27 starting at 7:00 p.m. Arrangements: Charter Funeral Home."