Yesterday, a couple hundred of us gathered at Saint Patrick's Church in Rodeo, California to bid farewell to our beloved Uncle Oscar Santos. It was a beautiful funeral, with a tender eulogy from his pastor Father Larry and sweet remembrances from my cousins Reena and Vicky.
Uncle Oscar was a powerful bass singer, and a member of several church choirs during his life. So it was fitting that a choir sang some of Oscar's favorite hymns during the ceremony yesterday. As my cousin Reena quipped, the bass sounded a bit off without my uncle there to pitch in.
While I did not know Uncle Oscar as well as other family members, I was always impressed by how energetically he embraced life, whether it was through his flashy and countless outfits he wore to all of our family functions or his delicious dishes that he fed us with, particularly his salsa and pasta. You never forgot his booming voice, his passionate opinions, or his bear-like embrace. He was a force to be reckoned with, whether at home, at work and at church.
I was honored to be asked to be one of Uncle Oscar's pallbearers. We agreed as a group to look as fly as possible, to reflect how fabulously Oscar always dressed. Each of us got to wear one of Oscar's innumerable flashy ties. His typical outfit was a matching suit ensemble, with lots of "blingy" jewelry including tie pin, cuff links, a heavy gold chain with a cross, and several earrings — all gold. He almost always had dark shades on, even indoors — I'm not really sure I remember seeing his eyes ever.
So all of us pallbearers did our best to look as fly as we could. This was my best attempt I could muster. I think he would have been proud, or at least amused. I can hear his thundrous laughter still.