What a sweet, gentle man! He called me "Mi rayito" - my little ray (of sunshine). He never married or had children, so his sisters' children became his own. I remember the story of Ricardo being arrested in Cuba for getting caught with 5 lbs. of sugar that he bought in the black market. He did it so my aunt could bake her son a birthday cake (the charges were dropped after the arresting officers were bribed, despicably, a common practice in Cuba).
I also remember when he came from Cuba during the boat lift that took place in 1979. Castro emptied his jails during this mad exodus, but some very decent, hard working people also managed to get out, my uncle among them. The stories he told of the harrowing 90-mile trip on a storm-tossed little boat were terrifying. The thing is, he didn't want to come. Ricardo was always perfectly content with his circumstances. He came because he felt he had to watch out for his sister, Olga, and that was that. Two days after arriving in Chicago he was working. At one point in those early days, he held as many as four part-time jobs at a time. That is my most vivid memory of my uncle: He was always working.
He gave the biggest hugs. He loved olives. He adored me.
He may not have had children of his own, but those genes will not be denied. My brother's son, Colin, looks so much like Ricardo!