It’s funny because as a child growing up, he was just abuelo, a very kind, patient soft spoken, hard-working man. He never stopped working but he always made time for his family.
He took care of all of us. If anyone one had a problem, no matter how small, abuelo took care of it. When I started to work in the family business, my first job was to shadow him. He told me if I couldn’t smell his aftershave and see the smoke of his cigar, then I was too far away. Working and traveling by his side, my appreciation grew immensely. Abuelo did it all, and he noticed everything.
Going to the factory at sunrise, the first thing he would do was say good morning to all the ladies in the front office. He’d ask for his coffee, then go over any accounting he worked on the night before. We’d walk the floor, checking the tobacco, the sorting rooms, the aging rooms and the filler, then we’d randomly check the finished product.
He would tell me, “Liana, tobacco talks to you. You just need to listen.” After that, we’d go through the process all over again. Everyone respected him, his words and his knowledge. Abuelo was “The Man.”