Becoming a grandparent makes getting older something to look forward to - all the fun of parenting, without the hassle.
My father, Pedro Baca y Griego, didn’t talk much about his parents. I don’t think it was because he didn’t love them or think of them but because he had to focus too much on the present. He had to be in order to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table for a family of thirteen. Every day was a work day for him. Nothing was easy for a man with little education. Only his skills that required a man with an attitude of “I can do anything that requires a strong back and a fierce work ethic.”
I was born to find and acknowledge my ancestors. I have been intrigued by my ancestors since I was about twelve years old. I still remember my first sentence that started my journey into family history. I remember calling my grandmother just to ask her what her grandmothers name was. Her name was Kizzie Epperson-Sproles and I am so glad I asked her that question. I was able to honor her by naming one of my own daughters with a similar name. When I was eighteen, I was able to see my dad’s favorite person in this whole world. His grandmother was Houma, and this is where my Houma tribal citizenship came from. She only spoke French so my dad had to translate any communication, and my dad warned me before hand that she may not remember me. My connection to her is our birthdays are one day apart, and I’ll always treasure that.
Connected I cannot say that I knew my great grandmother very well. I am the youngest of 15 grandchildren, and my mom is the youngest of the family, so by the time I came along my great grandmother had already passed on. Even though she was not around any longer she managed to make an impression on me in a way I did not expect. She lived in upstate New York on a farm that my grandmother resides in these days. We would usually take family trips during the summer months and as a little kid I would roam around aimlessly in the woods exploring all the nooks and crannies I could get myself into out there.
I am turning into my Grammie. I know it’s cliché, to say you’re turning into one of your matriarchs. It is a well-traveled trope. However, it is a true one. She always used to say things three times in a row, and now I'm starting to do it too. It stemmed (and stems) from low-level anxiety, a need to know that you are actually being heard, above the din. She always moved fast, in everything she did, muttering in triplicate, "I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming," or “I heard you, I heard you, I heard you,” or “I got this, I got this, I got this.”
JUST MY LUCK Ever since Nan died my girlfriend and I visited my Granddad every Wednesday evening and took him down the local pub. This was mainly to get him out of the house and have some social contact to help keep his spirits up. He had lived in the village all his life and was quite a character, everyone would say hello when we walked into the pub. The village pub was a thatched white washed timber framed building called The Royal Oak. It had an L shaped floor plan with the toilets and pub games section in the small straight section and the bar and main seating area in the other longer straight section. The wooden furniture was stained a dark brown and there were some church pew type seats strategically placed in the nooks and crannies to make the most of the space. There were three bar stools along a short and cramped bar that had the usual set of brass taps, a couple of other pumps and one of those soft drink dispensing hose, the sort that spouted mixed syrups and carbonated water when you pressed the button, like a soda stream. On every chair was a cushion covered in red velvet material that you could write rude messages on if you used your finger to brush against the direction the fabric was going in.
My daughter loves the subject of food. She can and will talk about it forever when she gets a conversational partner. It’s no irony that she is the hardworking owner of three restaurants and a catering service in Seattle, Washington.
Now that Christmas is over, all new toys are now old toys.. It's time for new adventures at our house. We have New Years Eve coming up, will we shoot fireworks or have a bonfire.. Maybe both..
Someone that I believe has leadership abilities and is a strong leader is my grandfather, retire Florida Highway Patrolman Walter Kenneth Harsey. He served our great state for 33 years, until he was forced to retired due to his age. To this day he is one of the most respected Highway Patrolmen. He is most commonly known as "The Legend" within the Highway Patrol community, but to me he's "Nandaddy."
Without sounding too cliché, I think that life is simply a compilation of experiences and, in turn, the quality of one’s life is determined by their interpretation of those experiences. So much of our daily lives can be affected by our perspective on the things we encounter and the problems we face. How we chose to deal with certain situations is what molds us into the characters we are.
When I stopped being able to relax, I didn't even notice it happening. Between one childhood summer and the next, I went from walking to places just to be there and watching fish swim in shallow water to having a Purpose. I still knew where to go to hear baby frogs sing and why home-made ice cream tasted better than store-bought, but it stopped being important. Or so I thought.
This year's trials and tribulations with the pandemic raging the nation and the rest of the world makes you realize how fortunate you are to have the people in your life. The New Year is nearly upon us and when you reflect on all the changes that we have all had to endure it makes you grateful for the previous times you were able to spend with an elderly parent or relative. Our elders have had life experiences that could teach us so much about the world around us if we just took the time to listen. The world was a different place for many of them and the lessons you could take away from their experiences are endless.
So here it is! My bowl of vanilla ice cream with sprinkles. No, it’s not my favorite but there is a special story behind it. It’s a humid summer in Long Island. The sky has never been so blue. It’s as if the sea air has washed all the pollution away. So many trees and an endless ocean. A hidden paradise or so I thought. I was with family far away from home. The place seemed magical. Perhaps it was the usual innocence of a child simply being somewhere new or perhaps it was my imagination trying desperately to escape a reality I didn’t quite understand.