These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Monday, January 01, 2007

the get together

for some weeks before our trip to texas, chave had mentioned the annual get together some members of the class of '89 has during the christmas holiday. i thought it was a great thing but was apprehensive about it since i was never anything big in high school, a wallflower maybe? or how about a nondescript personality who people passed in hallways or sat in front of or behind in classes.

but as time neared for the trip, i e-mailed chave (a classmate whose real name is issabelle). but i got no reply to e-mails, phone calls or instant messages. we left and arrived ther on dec. 22. all i knew was the get together was dec. 23.

as we settleed in for a dreary night that saturday, having chomped on church's chicken, the phone rang at 8:30. it was emy, one of my classmates. she said my friend joey, who's one of my closest classmates and friends i've known since freshman year, was home from lubbock and wanted to see me. i didn't know he was in town and he didn't know *until the party) i was in town. so i prettied myself up, put onmy trench coat, and off we went. i was nervous, not knowing what to expect or who'd be there.

all fears were put to rest as we walked through the doors of the party room. we were immediately surrounded by several classmates, including erica, emy, chave and sonia. joey came up and all was cool.

then here comes whaley (a nickname for rolando g.). he has a beer in one hand and hugs me, saying how glad he is i came. then he starts asking me about my stories and if i had any and what happened to them. the story behind them is i used to write some pretty sophomoric erotic (for lack of a more sophisticated word) stories starting in my soph. year. they were hand-written two or three page stories. i shared them with friends and soon others saw them, including a biology teacher who found my folder that i left in his room by acident. he let me off the hook as long as i didn't bring them to school anymore. (he had a grin ashe handed me the folder).

i told whaley i didn't have them, that i'd thrown them away. he was crushed. he kept saying they were awesome and it was a shame i'd thrown them away.

funny, i hadn't thought of those stupid stories (written by an inexpeienced 15 year old kid) in a long time. but that is how he choose to remember me. oh well, could be worse. he could have remembered me for being the guy who mooned a caraven of cars going out to eat after senior prom.

the rest of the evening was spent chatting and catching up with folks. the triplets were there, all looking pretty much the same (duh, there's triplets). everyone seems taller than i remembered (and wider). only joey, homero and i have remained short.

chave took some great pics. i think she took joey's camera and kept shooting everyone with it.

there was the unfortunate incident with s.t. she didn't graduate with us, having gotten married after her freshman year,but she's attended these get togethers. she didn't remember me and kept asking people who i qwas. they told her, but s.t. had had too much to drink and i guess she kept forgetting.

finally we met up and i said her name. she was so grateful i remembered her and hugged me and said she thought i was tommy. the more i said her name the more she hugged me and was elated that i knew who she was. "i'm sooo happy you know my name. so happy. i didn't know yours. i thought you were tommy." later she thought my name was robert. so if i was to see her again in the streets of S.D., i don't think she'd remember me. oh well. i am a wallflower.

there was plenty of menudo and booze. nearly everyone was drinking. by 12:30 more beer had to be bought to continue the affair. people came back with four or five 20 packs of beer. joey came back with swisher sweets cigars to smoke for old time sakes.

he and i were outside puffing away in the rain. good times.

rene r., one of our classmates who lives in los angeles and in a band, couldn't attend. but chave called him. i went out there and after whaley talked tohim, i grabbed the phone. chave told me to speak tohim in a british accent. i did. he had no clue it was me. we chatted for a bit, then i asked if he knew who it was, he said no. i told him. he laughed and called me an ass. it was fun.

i hadn't used the british accent in a long time. but i whipped it out at the party. they dug it.

the party didnt' wind down,but we had to leave. we were gone by 2 a.m. they said it lasted until 5. i just can't do that anymore. those days of partying until the wee hours are in the past.

but i had a good tme. there were many laughs, shots, 80s hard rock music and a sense of comaraderie i hadn't experienced with my classmates before. despite the drunken state of some people and the silliness of most of us, we were a more mature punch than we were even eight years ago at our 10 year reunion.

i guess time does play a role in growing up.
i can hardly wait until another get together.
chave i'll let you know when we're going back down.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

memorable quotes from our trip

i don't usually pay attention enough to do this type of blog, but there were quite a few interesting quotes, mostly from kids, that i thought i should probably blog some of them.

here are a few from my nephew ricky, who turned 8 on dec. 27.

1) "the ladies love the money." he told me this after i approached him and asked him for some facial tissue to blow my nose. we went to his bathroom and he said he didnt' have any but he said he had something else. he showed me and it was money balled up. he said the above quote while shaking his head and moving his hands back and forth.

2) "keep the ladies looking sexy." one of the last things he said to me when i told him bye before we left. he was watching tv and sitting in a chair, he gave me a hug and kiss and then he told me this. i know it's bad but i couldn't resist laughing and giving him a high-five.

3) "she's pure evil." i don't know if i should put it in but i will because it's so no ttrue. christmas day he and all the others were playing outside and this little girl who's sooooo cute and my cousin's oldest child (she's 4) wasn't out there playing too much because they were playing rough. when asked about her not participating and being left out of playing, he said not to believe that quietness about her and spouted out the above line.

my niece rena, who'll turn 10 in march.

1) "we need to spend quality time together." this was her telling me this on the morning of the day we were to leave the ranch. she mentioned this several times.

2) "that won't drown my sorrows." linda is driving us to pick up our rental car. she and me are in the front seat and dawn, emma and rena in the back seat. i got sick with allergies while in texas. (excuse the image) i had to spit and lowered the window and spit out. some of it landed in the back seat and hit her in the eye. i tried apologizing to her and she told me the above phrase.

my brother in law arnold, who's married to linda.
1) "that lady next to you bites." while playing chalupa, arnold was calling out the cards. he and my maricella's mother got into an argument. she said he was pulling out the same cards and that's why she wasn't winning. they argued a bit. when it was over, he tells celica, my cousin lynn's four-year-old daughter that phrase. the little girl quickly went over to her father who was inside the house and said there was a woman sitting next to her who bites. he had no clue what she was talking about.

my aunt Mine, who's hitting 80 an dwo lives next to my parents' house.
1) "i'm going to take you to Bole's." she insists my hair is too long and wants me to have it the way i did when i was 10 or something. Bole's is a place that cuts hair in S.D. all the old guys go there. i also went there once in a while. it's an old-fashioned barber shop.

my grandfather octavio, who's 89.
1) "quieren bailar?" (do you want to dance) he said to us when we went to visit. it was something my brother robert told me days before the visit that he'd tell us. he had a display of christmas windup santas and snowmen. he wound them all up and they dance and sing. he gets a kick out of it. he tells that phrase to people when they visit.

a little girl sitting behind us on the plane back to chicago.
1) "except when he's driving." sitting behind us was her father, mother and the little girl by the window. by the time we taxied, the father was asleep. her mom said, " your dad falls asleep anywhere." then the little girl responded with that phrase.

2) "this is where jesus lives." the same little girl said this as we broke through the clouds after lifting off in dallas.

oh, and here's one more i should mention, even though i'll put it in another blog.

rolando g., a classmate at the get together on dec. 23.

1) "hey, what'd you do wit those stories?" apparently the thing he remembered most about me was the sophomoric erotic stories i used to write in high school. they were the furthest thing from my mind. he was VERY disappointed when i told him i'd thrown them away. he couldn't believe it. he kept saying they were damn good.

this drunk girl at the get together.
1) "i thought your name was tommy. i kept calling you tommy." she told me this after i engaged in conversation with her. she was so happy i knew her name. she sad she didn't recognize me when she saw me walk in and even though others told her my name, she thought i was tommy. later on, she told me she thought my name was robert. crazy girl.

to texas and back

it's been two days since we returned from our christmas trip to texas. we left dec. 22 and returned the 29.

so many things happened that i thought i'd break up the trip into a series of blogs. this way, i could spend more time on topics instead of highlighting the whole trip.

so here's the synopsis.

it was tough planning what to wear because of temp. difference. though, with the temps being mild in mich., i guess it ended up not making much of a difference in the end anyway.

packed and ready, we zipped over to o'hare, not knowing what to expect, especially with the snows in denver and as we found out, fog delays early on that friday.

our flight, leaving at 3:45, was delayed several times. ultimately, we left at 5:30. we were panicked because our connecting flight in dallas to san antonio was 7::45. our cushion of time disapeared. as luck would have it, that flight was first delayed to 8:40 and finally until after 9. we left for S.A. at 9:30 and my dad and maricella were there to pick us up. we arrived at the ranch at 2 a.m.

mom was still up waitng and we got hugs. my aunt, who lives next door, waited as much as she could before leaving.

the next day brought hugs from my growing niece and nephew, rena and ricky. he's getting sassier and more charming and she's getting prettier and bigger. then it was off to see emma grace. my youngest niece was sick and not herself. she wouldn't be her normal self until a few days before we left. however, she's so beautiful, bright-eyed and all over the place. quite a difference from the wrinkled, frog-legged, bend-earred newborn we saw in april.

dad looks good.he's thin and his hair is white and gray and also thinning. a lot of it is the chemo at work. he also had cuts on his fingers that prevented him from grasping many things, also a by-product of the chemp. however, he's going back for surgery in houston on jan. 25. he will have the same procedure and operation done to him that failed in sept. the docs are optimistic that they can remove 80 percnt of his liver this time. fingers crossed.

we went shopping, got a few items and some popeye's (yummy). it was a yucky saturday, raining and cool.

that night i we went to a small gathering of class of '89 classmates in san diego. it was a nice experience and we had such a great time. joey e. was down for christmas. it was an unexpected surprise, since i hadn't seen him since before we left texas more than three years ago.

christmas eve we went to church. yes, we were there. my brother joked that he was surprised the building didn't fall down on us. i hadn't been in a church in years. i think was mom was happy we went. although, she didn't go because she stayed home with dad. at church i got to see father epi, the older briest who's been around for decades. it was good to see him conduct the mass.

christmas day was wild. i got to see cousins and their children, people i hadn't seen in years. there were children running around everywhere. it felt good to be around them. it was a feeling i hadn't had, ever, i think. as i get older, children become more endearing to me. perhaps it's time to...i dunno.

we had tamales, brisket (shout out to dan!!), turkey (sorry no duck, dan), potato salad, corn bread and tons of sweets. we played a game called chalupa, which is similar to bingo, except in stead of numbers you have pictures on a card. same rules, though. i won three small candles. we played white elephant. i ended up taking my grandmother's gift away. it was reese's cups and she can't eat sweets.

my sister linda had a hard time during those early days of the trip. she'd had her wisdom teeth removed on friday and her cheeks were swollen and she was unable to eat solids.

we spent the next few days visiting my grandparents, my uncle eli, who had a stroke several years ago and is in a nursing home, friends rose and simon and just hanging out at home.

while in corpus christi, though, we stopped by whataburger for a burger with bacon and cheese. it was damn good. i know mark that you'll be salavating at this. it was good. we also had an agape breakfast taco. it was tremendous as always. they're huge.

while at agape cafe i over heard someone say, "we now root for michigan." i stopped the woman and asked if she was from mich. she said yes ann arbor. turns out she graduated two years ahead of me, went to austin to college and is now at u of m. sort of small world.

we wound up our trip with news that my brother and his family might visit during the summer. that is exciting because no one had come up here to visit since my parents did early when we moved up here. it'll be good to show them around and see him since i rarely talk to him because of his job.

after dawn played a three-hour game of monopoly with rena and ricky (who ended up quitting because he's a sore loser) and i lounged and chatted with my dad, we were off to S.A. on thursday afternoon.

we stopped by the place where dawn and i met back in april and may 2001 and then we headed off to the restaurant where we had our reception after our wedding. we got to sit in the same small reception room only feet away from where we sat during the reception. it was great. i kept pointing out where people sat during the reception.

the following morning we rushed to the airport with plenty of time only to get lost and come to realize the rental car place was not exactly at the airport terminal area. we arrived 15 minutes before the plane left. too late. we had to take a flihgt 30 minutes later. we ended up at o'hare one hour after our original flight landed.

it was a great trip, probably the best we've taken. we saw so many people and spent quality time with my family. also, considering my dad's situation, i'm glad we went. it was special.