Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Isidro Files, Volume 3

I am going to have to fast forward through much of Abuelito’s life or we will be here all year instead of all month. But if you guys know any stories, please share them! My love for Abuelito is absolutely unquenchable and I am sure you all feel the same.

I could go on for volumes about his work because he worked every day of his life and was still shoveling all day long when he was diagnosed with cancer. But that part comes later. If you older cousins are like me you get a chill down your spine at the mention of his diagnosis. You younger cousins may get an idea of why by the end of this month.

Abuelito didn’t want to join the Mormon Church at first. Maria was the first to join, then my mom, and the rest of the family eventually followed. But when he decided to get baptized it was a strange kind of conviction. He said he wasn’t sure if the church was right or not but one thing he knew was that there was no better way to raise a family than within and according to the precepts of the Mormon Church. And he was willing to do anything at all for his family.

He worked like a slave and gave everything to his children. He gave until it hurt and then gave more. He taught them by example and unlike virtually all the other parents in Agua Prieta and Turicachi never beat his children. He told a story you may have heard in other contexts. It is that there was an Indian boy wearing a coat and the sun and the wind had a contest on who could get the coat away from him. The wind blew harder and harder and the boy held to the coat more and more. When the sun came out and warmed the boy, he took the coat off. He always said that more powerful was the kiss of the sun than the whip of the wind, and taught his children to be the same way to the best of his ability.

He loved his children-in-law and he said that his mother-in-law was the best woman he ever knew. To a great extent I agree with that one though I never knew her which is why I named my daughter after her. He gave not only to his kids but their spouses. He gave my father anything he had that my father wanted. He often spoke up for his child-in-law over his child if they were in the right. He obviously was less than the perfect man but he was a loving and fair man.

He was thin but fast and surprisingly strong. Often in his work he had to push wheelbarrows full of brick and other construction materials but he said that when he remembered he was doing this for his family he felt as though he had pillows in the wheelbarrow and not only pushed it but ran with it. Anyone who ever saw him work can attest to his speed, vitality, and tireless passion even under the scorching Arizona summer sun.

He worked so that his children could have a better life than he'd endured and so that in turn their kids could have a better life than them. So Rosalina, though you never met him, he thought of you and slaved in the mortar and the concrete and worked his shovel like lightening just for you. He thought of you, though you were not yet in existence. Jessica, he was working for your baby and thinking of him or her when he got up at four in the morning to be at a job site before five to finish his labors before it got too hot or to get there to prep before another trade showed up. Paco inherited this characteristic to the core.

There is one story I love describing how he dealt with his children when they misbehaved. Alex and Aaron can tune out since Veronica never misbehaved. But Benny got suspended once for fighting. Abuelito had to meet with the principal and found out how his son had (if I recall correctly) thrown another boy over a car. Perhaps Bondy can enlighten us as to what this fight was about. Abuelito drove Benny home stone faced and silent and when he got home he Benny, and Abuelita met in conference. Benny protested that they had no right to suspend him because it wasn’t on school grounds. His parents came back with the rebuke that Benny was a wrestler and shouldn’t be fighting with smaller, weaker boys no matter where he did it. Benny stood calmly taking the punishment, then responded, “Dad, he’s a wrestler too.  And I beat him every time.”  Abuelito had to quickly leave the room to keep from laughing.  Punishment ended.