I finally make it into Lake Worth, Florida and I’m tired. I’ve stopped at every rest area for the last 200 hundred miles - getting out stretching my legs, smoking a cigarette or two or three, did I forget to mention that I took my partners car and couldn’t smoke in it? Yeah, I don’t recommend making that kind of commitment unless you completely feel the need to torture yourself on a 24-hour drive or you’re just an idiot like me. Really.
I called my best friend Erin to tell her that I’m making good time and before we hung up, she asked. “Did you still bring your tools?”
“Of course. I need to fix a couple of things at my grandmother’s house.” I answered, not thinking anything else of it.
I arrived at her house around 6 o’clock that evening. Smoked a cigarette in the driveway and grabbed my bag. I passed the beautiful gated outside courtyard and came face-to-face with a Dr. Seuss screen door. You know the kind, it just kind-of hangs there threatening to fall off the hinges if you so much as look at it. I’m amazed that it’s still holding on for dear life. My partner would have had me put that door out of its misery at the first sign of trouble.
I stood there shocked as Erin swings open the rickety, creaking, screaming door and held it open for me. I am afraid that the door will fall on me as a last ditch effort to get repaired and I decide to replace it before I leave. I had a wonderful evening at Erin’s, ate dinner, took a much needed shower and headed to bed early after all, I was going to see my family the next day.
Before I get to the nitty-gritty of the Alvarez Clan, let me start by making some introductions and by saying that I love my family. You know who you are…
We’ll start with the Matriarch, my grandmother Mima. She’s 92 ½ and don’t deny her the half year. According to her, if you get to live that long, every bit of time counts. Mima sits in her recliner watching and listening, taking mental notes, assessing everyone’s life, then she gets you alone and speaks her peace.
I arrived and like an idiot, I said, “Heard you had 2 strokes and a heart attack. What’s that about?” As the words left my mouth, I knew I had set myself up for her candidness.
“Well,” she said, “What did you expect? If I flip cartwheels at my age, I’ll break a hip then I’ll really be screwed. I didn’t raise an idiot, you have to think things through, my love. You’re getting up there in years yourself.” Mima had lovingly spoken her peace, Puchy laughed and I knew I was home.
Mima loves a good joke, loves to eat and always gets her way, not because she rules with a strong hand. Oh no, at 92 ½ she’s learned how to work this dysfunctional family into submission. Yeah, that’s my Mima. Go Girl!
My aunt Puchy is the youngest of the three sisters and is the one who takes care of Mima on a 24-hour basis. Puchy is about as tall and thin as a string bean and as my uncle would say, if she turned sideways, the wind would carry her away. She’s also the most stubborn of the group but is one of the most caring people I know. It kills her and I quote, “It kills me that people don’t take better care of their animals. That’s how I ended up feeding 15 kittens, 3 adult cats, 2 dogs and a blind chicken.” At first, I thought she was kidding because just like my Mima, Puchy has a sense of humor. A blind chicken, really? Yup! The poor thing has to hand fed every day. When I suggested making chicken soup, Puchy screamed at the top of her lungs. “No! She’s our baby.” God bless Puchy’s caring heart.
Come back next month to meet the rest of my clan…