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Archive for June 20th, 2017

Moving On

Sorry for the delay today in putting out Commentary. I had a family emergency of sorts this morning.

On my Mom. A little gallows humor here. Right after the November election when my Mom was well aware of her deteriorating health condition, she told me it looked like Trump would be president when she would die. In a deadpan response, I told her that she could always check out before January 20 or try to hang on for four more years and she gave me that look.

It was mentioned that my Mom encouraged her family and friends to participate in the political process. My Mom voted in every election. Her last mail ballot she cast was for the Lee College and Goose Creek Consolidated ISD trustee elections last month.   On voting, I will put our family’s voter turnout history up against any other family in the country.

I also now get why in some obituaries, folks thank the staff of hospice care. I get it now. The hospice staff were wonderful to my Mom and help guide us through the final weeks of my Mom’s life.

I will also say that having a strong, loving and caring family certainly gets you through the ordeal we just endured.

Having great friends means a lot in times like these. I won’t name them but they know who they are. I am glad they are in my life.

Here is what my nephew Dave had to say about my Mom at the end of her funeral mass yesterday:

Hello my name is David Lafuente.  On Behalf of my Family I want to say thank you to everyone for being here today to celebrate the life of Alicia Campos. I am the oldest grandson and I’m honored to share a few words and some of my memories about our beloved grandma.

What a wonderful woman she was. Over Her lifetime, her roles were many. She was the daughter of Guadalupe and Ladislao Torres(Cha Cha and TaTa) and was born right here in Baytown, TX on May 21st 1926.

She was a sister to Nina Walmsley and Rachel Lara. She was a Spanish and History middle school teacher, a wife to grandpa….Antonio Campos, a mother to 2 daughters Sylvia and Aida and 2 sons Michael and Marc , A grandmother to 9(Rachel, me, Cristina, Linda, Enrique, Roberto, Veronica, Becky and Miguel) and a great grandmother to 13 beautiful grandchildren. She was a cousin, an aunt, a godmother, but above all else She was a friend to so many different types of people, whether you knew her for a few minutes or for decades she touched so many lives and was adored by all.

She attended Robert E. Lee High School and married her high school sweetheart.

But it wasn’t that simple. Like many brave men, my grandpa was enlisted in the US Army and fought bravely during World War II. He entered the Army as part of the 460th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion and His first jump was across enemy lines in Southern Part of France in August of 1944. Unlike half his battalion, he survived that jump and eventually would fight in 5 major battles, defending our great country. What kept him going throughout it all was his love for grandma. They would send each other love letters and pictures….and if you’ve seen some of the pictures of my grandma when she was younger…well she was so beautiful…no wonder grandpa was trying to get back home.

In August of 1945 he returned home to grandma.

and eventually they were married and stayed married for 70 years and were literally never apart.

They moved to Waco while my Grandpa attended Baylor University and had their first child, my Mom, Sylvia! My Grandma ultimately would graduate from The University of Houston – Go Coogs!.. and both my grandparents both became school teachers. They enjoyed traveling with many visits to see family in Mexico, I was lucky to get to go on some of those trips…I was around 10 or 11 years old…we would leave Houston and drive to Laredo and spend the night at my Aunt Aida’s house. We’d wake up early the next morning and head into Mexico…it was me, my cousin Rachel, Grandpa and Grandma and of course Aunt Rachel. There were no Smart phones, No GPS, no electronics. Just a map and the road. But we felt so safe because Grandma and grandpa had done the trip so many times with so many family members throughout their lifetimes and they were there to take care of us along the way.

Like my sister said yesterday, my grandma was so smart and had a wonderful memory. She told us so many stories from her growing up about her and grandpa, about her parents and about our mom. But she was also very opinionated. She Had an opinion on everything and if she didn’t know about it, all you had to do is tell her and she would tell you how she felt, right then.

She would say…I don’t like it.

Me: Grandma do you want to go to our house for Christmas? Im staying right here. I don’t go anywhere but my house. What about grandpa can he go? He can go…I don’t care…

For probably the last 20 years my grandma would tell us not to buy her anything for Christmas. Me: Grandma what do you want for Christmas? Don’t buy me anything.

But what about, don’t you like….I said nothing……and don’t buy your grandpa anything either….Sorry grandpa.

We of course all bought her something. I always got her some chocolates. She had a sweet tooth.

So many Christmas’s spent at my grandmas house, so many holidays from easter egg hunts, thanksgivings, mothers day, birthday parties, the famous New Years Eve parties. And also Wedding Receptions and even fundraisers in her backyard. No way all of us went to every event there, but the one constant at all these events were Grandma and Grandpa and my Grandmas Cooking.  

Can I get a round of applause for grandmas cooking……

Hands down the best cook there ever was. Her food is legendary… And im not just saying that because she’s my grandma. Everything she cooked up was so good.

Her beans, her breakfast with eggs and bacon with fresh made tortillas and her famous cheese sauce. The roast she would make, or she would make stew or how she marinated and cooked fajitas. The enchiladas she cooked especially the ones she made for me without onions. The cakes she made and my favorite the powdered cookies she made..Her secret was a lot of TLC Tender loving care and I think a lot of butter also.

But nothing compares to her tamales she made over the holidays. When I told my friends that my grandma passed away, the first thing they said was I sure loved her food.

But you never saw my grandma eat first. She cooked for everyone else and sometimes didn’t eat at all.

My dad passed away when I was 21 years old and my grandparents came and lived with me, my mom and brother and sister for about a year. One night some of my friends and I had gone out to have a few cocktails and normally we would end up going through the Whataburger drive through to grab some food. But I knew that my grandma had just put a big pot of beans on and we had plenty of food at my house. So we open the backed door slowly and tried not to wake anyone. As soon as we turned the light on my grandma appeared. David? Is that you? Yes, its me. Do you want me to warm you up something? Uh Yeah!! She served us up some fresh beans and tortillas and rice and tamales.,,she sat and talked to us and we all went to bed with a full belly that night. Her food and her company was the best.

Like my cousin Rachel Said… Her house was always the place I felt the most at home. So much time we spent there watching tv, playing games, listening to grandpas stories and eating grandmas food.  

How I would describe the perfect setting, is us at grandmas, grandpa playing cards or telling stories, Music being played in the background. Grandma making us all some food in the kitchen. We all start eating and like clock work walks in Aunt Rachel to eat.. somehow she knew when my grandma was cooking which was pretty much always.

But now she’s gone and in a better place in Heaven. I believe that when you die, you go to an eternal place. MY Scenario is this. Cha Cha and TaTa are there with Aunt Nina and Aunt Rachel. And off to the side BeeBee is playing guitar. And Uncle Mike is playing bongos saying attaboy…and my dad’s there…probably with the remote in his hand watching the Astros game or playing records. And there are other family and friends there too. And then Grandma arrives in heaven…And she’s walking without her walker or rolling chair. And shes breathing on her own and is in awe of this beautiful place….and then Aunt Rachel is the first to notice her and starts whistling. Everyone turns and sees her and she is reunited with her family and everything is better.

So, Grandma…for your wisdom, your humor, tenderness and compassion, your understanding, your patience, your food, your friendship, your generosity, and your love; thank you, Grandma. Thank you so much. We love you and We miss you.

Nice job, Dave!

I can’t add to what Dave, Linda, Cristina, and Sabrina have said about my Mom except for, I will never run into another flour tortilla that will match my Mom’s – never. Her flour tortillas filled with her refried beans and bacon were the best.

I will be back with the MLB question tomorrow.

‘Stros are up by 12 as they continue to play better on the road.

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