VovŰ Was A Badass

Devin Meireles

© Copyright 2021 by Devin Meireles

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

My grandfather, VovŰ, was an unyielding man that carried himself with a heavy stick. He was a badass akin to the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, or Tom Hardy in todayís modern age. Staying true to himself, he didnít need to act tough, he just was but you wouldnít know it at first glance. 
He dressed like a gentleman, never needed to impress anybody or put on a facade, yet his presence was felt when he stepped into a room. More silent than outspoken, you knew what it was when his words hit, still he didnít need to say anything because you felt his sentiment. His aura was palpable. 
Cigarette in mouth, his steely gaze was a deep abyss that told a story of a thousand chapters. He grew up in a time when actions spoke louder than words, you just donít mess with a man who has that much awareness. 
He was respectful of other people, rules, and property, never breaking stuff or starting fights. He never made enemies or exploited the weak, to be well-revered among his peers as well as employers. They wanted to have his support as a member on their team. His calm and cool demeanor made him likeable among those he met. 
While he minded his own business, he walked a straight line to achieve what needed to be done within the confines of his conscience. You wouldnít know of his deeds directly but probably would have heard tales from those who thought highly of him, an honorable man does not flaunt what theyíve achieved. 
Honest and forthcoming, he never wanted what didnít belong to him. In the eyes of god he only took what was earned. Once he returned to the grocery store that gave him too much change for a purchase. Full bags in hand almost reaching home, he made me turnaround with him to do the right thing. My arms were sore but the lesson stuck with me, a man is only as good as their word. A badass does not care about what others may think, as silly as it sounded, they just do it. 
Never giving up when faced with adversity, he overcame obstacles that others gave up on. Still, he knew his limits and mapped out a strategy to do so, playing the long game. When Portugal was desolate and impoverished he worked harder for his family. The hustle kept him going even when no job provided security, he had to be nimble and adapted to change as it happened. There was no time to complain or blame the system, he made the system work for him. 
Growing up underprivileged made him realize that what you put out is what a man gets in return. Even when results were staggered, he stayed on course until those blessings came twofold. When it rains, it pours. 
Never seeking validation other than from those that he loved, he was an exceptional subject of the typical immigration story. Those values were embodied in his character as good man which were instilled on his family, including myself. 
I admire what he was able to accomplish and as I build a family of my own, set out to attain where he left the bar at such a high level. I can only hope that I am half the man he was- A lone wolf in the hunt with a starving pack waiting on their meal ticket, he got it done. He was a badass. He was my VovŰ.

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