Thursday, March 02, 2006
At the memorial service, I was asked to share amusing moments from Victor's life. The following is a written version of that address.
Those of us who knew and loved Victor, know that he had two speeds: Fast and Stop. He was either all there or not there at all. For example, Marta shares that when she got a positive read on a home pregnancy test; Victor was asleep. She tried waking him; he resisted. In response to her announcement, he grunted. Finally, she got his attention. He jumped out of bed, jumped up and down, danced around the room solo. Then he grabbed Marta and for the next 10 minutes they jumped and danced around the room together.
He was very quick at learning English and wasn't afraid to use his newfound knowledge of language. Victor told the story of visiting an elegant restaurant in Miami during his first week in the U.S. He was with an American couple. They were waiting for the maitre'd to find seating, so he took the time to look around. On the wall he saw a word that he recognized, "Pull". he said to himself, "I know what that means. Pull means halar." So he pulled on the handle above the sign.
Immediately there was a loud commotion. Restaurant employees were running frantically, obviously searching for something. Victor tapped his friend on the shoulder and whispered, "I think I did something wrong. I pulled that handle over there. "
"Why would you do that?" puzzled his friend.
"It said pull," replied Victor. "I knew that meant halar. So I pulled."
It was a fire alarm. Apologies were made and accepted. No arrest; no cops.
Victor was fortunate that way. It was probably his charming smile. On a singles outing several years later, he was pulled over for speeding. While the cop was examining his license, several black-and-whites went by, sirens blazing. The police radio summoned this cop to the scene too. Victor was simply told to slow down.
He loved staying up late. Sometimes they'd watch horror movies at Rodney's mom's house until the wee hours. Or they'd drive to Chicago on a whim at 1:00 a.m. to try an ethnic restaurant.
Victor was also patient. Marta says that on their first date, he waited three hours for her to get ready. They first met September 27 when she was 15 and he was 26. Sixteen years later they were married.
Marta reports that his patience was called on after marriage because she couldn't cook. For several months she says that he was here guinea pig while she practiced cooking. She also ruined his favorite shirt with bleach.
Speaking of housework, Victor joined our household in Elgin in 1982. He was appalled when I showed him how to use the washer and dryer. He said he didn't think he could learn to use them. Our household was full; I was working fulltime, going to school, and we were pastoring the church. So I told him he could wash his clothes by hand in the bathtub if he preferred that to the machines. He learned to do his laundry in the machines!
But he didn't enjoy housework and avoided it whenever possible. A few years he joined a friend who had purchased a house. The deal was that Rodney would cook; Victor would wash dishes. But Victor wouldn't fulfill his part of the bargain. Finally Rodney just wouldn't wash the dishes. They piled up for a week before Victor decided to do them. After that he washed dishes regularly!
I also showed him how to cook: He never got past a hamburger and rice. Except that he discovered he could pan fry a steak just like a hamburger. After that I had to change my habit of buying steaks on sale and freezing them for an appropriate moment or Victor would eat them.
Victor loved meat. One summer I was on a salad kick. We had chef salad, cobb salad, taco salad, spinach and beef salad, etc. Then one night I cooked a pot roast. Victor whispered in an aside to Rob, "Finally, a real meal."
One year, we took the Youth Group on a trip to Mexico. Victor was one of the adult sponsors, but at that time he still had a Peruvian passport. We discovered at gate that he needed a visa from the Mexican Counsulate in order to board the plane. So Vic stayed in Chicago an extra day to get his visa. We arranged to meet him in Guadalajara.
However, he didn't make it for 36 hours and by that time we were on a very bad bus ride to a Rancho somewhere in the mountains between Guadalajara and Mexico City. We returned four days later to Guadalajara. Victor had been at the hotel where I had made arrangements for him to stay. But since he had spent most of his pocket money obtaining a Mexican visa, he was able to buy only rice and beans for the three days in Guadalajara. When we were all together again and sat down in a restaurant to eat, I asked the group what they would like to eat. Victor's reply became a cliche' at JCC: "I wanth meath."
Victor was an exemplary Couch Potato: King of the remote control and a master at Channel Surfing. It was an Olympic Sport with him. He could watch more programs at one time than anyone I've ever known. It occasionally got him into trouble. One cold winter morning he started the car to go to work and came back in the house for his two minutes of Channel Surfing. When he stepped back out to the curb, the car was gone, stolen! It was found perfectly intact in Chicago a week later. Someone had just taken it for a joy ride.
He was also competitive. He had been a young phenomenon in Peru, playing professional soccer while still a teenager. That drive to do his best followed him his entire life. He taught Rob and Brad to play soccer, showing them tricks, scrimimmaging with them. Rob says that he rarely let them make a goal and never would let them win a game against him. They were four and five.
That drive served him well in other areas of his life. He served God with all his heart; he preached fervently; he sang passionately. He loved family and friends wholeheartedly, and he was completely devoted to his wife and son.
Victor, we miss you. We miss your quick wit, your sense of humor, your joyous smile, your quiet spirit, your loyalty. We'll always have with us the intensity of your love for family and friends. Our lives are richer for having known you.