Al and I met in a restaurant of all places. The first time he hugged me I felt all the holes in my life close (physically - long story!). He always treated me like a princess and cared for me until the end. We spend 13 years together and although we had our ups and downs the electricity which connected us never burned out.
He was a car collector, a Chicago police officer who received the highest medal from the department for his service, a father of 5 children and step-father to my two and the toughest yet gentle, kindest man I have ever known. They don't make men like that anymore or cars for that matter.
He was always hunting for the 1957 Ford Thunderbird and could never find the perfect one. Loving him as I did, I was hunting for it too, since I love antiques myself. I came upon the perfect restored 1957 Convertible Hard Top Thunderbird and I bought it for him as my surprise gift for him being the love of my life. Needless to say he was super happy.
The car is stored in South Carolina. Sadly, Al passed away from cancer on 12/11/12. A few months after his death and still lost in the pain, I went to South Carolina to move the car and make sure it was stored properly. After it had been serviced, I drove it from the shop to the new location - the home were we were supposed to retire. As I was driving, I really felt his presence next to me, probably taking the last ride in his favorite car with his favorite girl - the love of his life as he always called me.
Sonia Rodriguez Porrata