When my nephew Carlos Luis was born I was living in Milwaukee.  The first time I saw him was during our visit to Miami when he was two years old.  His reputation preceded that meeting, but little did I know that it was not an exaggeration.

We were staying at my mother’s and my brother Wichy, his wife Maria and Carlos Luis came over one evening.  Maria told us that earlier that day when she was at a store with Carlos Luis, as she was pushing the shopping cart, he managed to pull a small TV set from a shelf and send it crashing to the floor.  There was no one around so she eased herself out of the store.

We were all gathered in the family room and kitchen as that little bundle of energy ran around looking for trouble.  We had gotten some peaches in Georgia during our trip and the bag was on the kitchen table.  He pulled an overripe peach out of the bag and I asked him to give it to me, telling him it was a peach gone bad.  As I was saying that, he squeezed the peach, the juice and pulp oozing all over his hand and the kitchen floor.  Wichy, in a scolding tone asked – “Carlos Luis, what is that?”  He turned and said “a peach gone bad.”  As I cleaned his hand and proceeded to clean up the mess on the floor, I saw the meat Mima was thawing out, along with the plate, flying off the counter and landing on the floor.  While Mima was picking that up, I saw him head for the living room.  I had visions of Mima’s Lladro angel meeting an untimely demise.  I followed him and caught him digging the dirt from a large plant in the corner.  I picked him up to get him back to the family room.  To my surprise he started scratching my face.  As I held him, I took his two little hands in mine and told him in a tone he did not appreciate – “Don’t you dare do that to me ever again!”  He looked at me in shock and began to cry.  I let him go and he ran crying into the family room.  I kept a low profile the rest of the evening.

Carlos Luis stories could fill a book.  To our great joy (and surprise), he has grown up to be an awesome and responsible young man.  But I can still see that endearing spark of mischief in his eyes.

My wishes for a very happy birthday and love, joy and success always.