I lost a dear friend on Friday. His gruff voice was the first thing I heard when he answered the intercom as I arrived at the gate for my interview at the MFAH Archives. And he was the last person I hugged as I walked out the door six years later on my last day. Isadore Miranda, I will not forget you.
Here’s something I wrote about him, part of a larger essay on the senses. The paragraphs about Isadore come under the heading Sight.
“Isadore stands a stocky 5’5” or so, with thick bifocals, balding head and scuffed black work shoes. He is nearing 80, but still works as a museum guard. Many afternoons he doesn’t notice when I pass through the lobby leaving for the day. He dozes at the employee sign-in desk, head tilted back and mouth open wide.
Every morning, he reads the Houston Chronicle, peering through thick lenses, then a magnifying glass, leaning only inches from the print. He listens to NPR while at work at the front desk and tells me he’s won more than he’s lost in the state lottery. As he describes his favorite food, he imitates his mother, turning and patting the imaginary dough in his hands, forming puffy tortillas, soft and light.
Matthew, his son, graduates from high school next year, the third boy Isadore has raised, serial sons. Isadore never fathered a child. But he cared for the abandoned boys as if they were his own, and taught them all he has learned in life: that garlic cures cancer; that long, flat watermelons stack better in the back of the truck; and that you find the best Texas peach pie at the little no name shack cafes at the crossroads in the piney woods.”