It was 1988, when I first met “Mr. Shieh” in Bakersfield.   Within about two hours after being there, I asked him if he would mind me marrying his daughter Eileen.  It took him by surprise.  He didn’t say no, but he didn’t say yes either.

I had already let him know that I was high school educated farm boy from the country bumkin town of Los Banos. Probably his worst nightmare come true, other than if he found himself needing to explain to God (if there was an afterlife) how he could prove heaven didn’t exist, which I still share with many to this day.

“Mr. Shieh” firmly believed that he could prove to anyone, including the Pope, that heaven and hell did not exist.  The simple reason was, “There was no place big enough for all the people that have died to stay in!”

Makes me grin every time I think about it.

Now, I can’t say he and I over the past 33 years didn’t have our “heated moment”, but to the dismay of many, we also had our tender ones of mutual respect.

I told “Mr. Shieh” he was a good man, a good father-in-law, and at times a rock head, if he referred to me as a dumb dog son-in-law.  Mr. Shieh became a very close confidant and dear friend that I do and will miss.

“Mr. Shieh” never needed for me to call him Dad, nor did I need to.

I joked with “Mr. Shieh” as we got older, that he may be very surprised in the afterlife.

In that, God had very special spot reserved for him, notwithstanding the place was pretty full.

I always thanked him for the greatest gift he gave me, and that was Eileen.

Love and miss you Skip!