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Showing posts from May, 2013

Never Forgotten

He joined the Army in the fall of 1967.  It was a dangerous time to be male, aged 19-21, unmarried, and not enrolled in college.  Families dreaded the daily delivery of correspondence, knowing it was a matter of time before the summons would come with the news that their sons had to report for duty. There was little they could do to keep them safe from the draft.    Very few of them hurried to get married just to gain a reprieve; others were not interested or could not afford college. Living in Texas, it was ridiculous to consider making a run for Canada. He had no immediate plans for the future, but he was nineteen and very few boys that age know what they want to do with their lives. The Army promised him a career, he said, and if he waited to be drafted he would not be given a choice.  He didn’t want to go Air Force or Marines. He came home at Christmas before leaving for Vietnam.  He promised us all he would be back in one year; he would be fine. He died four

Afraid of the Dark

I’ve always had an overactive and vivid imagination, and am easily affected by all I see, hear, and read.  I pretend bravery in the daylight but am defenseless at night when shadows grow eyes and claws, and the Cucu í (the boogie man) waits for just the right moment to pounce on the unsuspecting. As a child I begged for a night light but was told my fears stemmed from my naughty nature – the guilt from all my sins accumulated throughout the day and manifested itself in my dreams.  I was told to pray for forgiveness and maybe God would keep me safe throughout the night.  I should also consider changing my ways. Even then I knew that my fears were not because I was mean to my younger sister or from all the sass I was storing to unload one day on my elders.  My nightmares came from the world around me – in what I witnessed in my family and in the nightly news. I realized early that children are not immune from torture or death. I saw that many married couples lived togeth

Breaking Up with Baby

He cried that first day for five solid hours, from the moment his Mommy left the house until he tired himself out fifteen minutes before she returned.   I never told her because she was having a difficult time separating herself from him. I didn’t want to upset her more.   He didn’t exactly cry – he screeched and wailed.  The neighbors probably thought I was torturing the little three-month-old, but I spoke to him in a soft reassuring voice and held him the whole time.  He missed his Mommy so much and felt abandoned; I was not going to reinforce that by laying him down in his crib and letting him cry it out. I told him then that he needed to trust me.  I would feed him.  I would change his diaper.  I would love him so much that one day he would love me back.  We would have our own private language and jokes, we would become best friends, we would miss each other on weekends. The rest of the week went a little better.  He cried only half the time, but then we came to a wee

Cheeto Dreams

The bag of Cheetos in the pantry sings its siren song. There is no way to sneak a handful without it leaving guilty orange stains on your fingers, under your nails, and stuck to the inside valleys of your teeth.  You suck the evidence from your fingers, but first, since no one is looking, you pry the sticky mess from between your back molars and the inside of your cheek. You know they are not good for you, but if powdered milk, powdered eggs, and powdered potatoes are allowed to exist, why not a corn puff covered in powdered cheddar cheese? Why not count it as part of your daily calcium intake? You’ve tried the puffs, the balls, the X’s and the O’s.  They come in white cheddar, baked, natural, and flaming hot, but since they were first created in San Antonio in 1948, and you are proud of your heritage - you are a purist! Only Crunchy Cheetos for you! You follow a sacred ritual.  You inspect them, looking for those rare Cheetos that look like famous people (so you can sell