I spent a few days in the San Antonio area to visit an ailing aunt and celebrate the 84th birthday of my uncle. More than that, I spent time with my parents. They had asked me to help them…help them make arrangements for the hotel and drive them around, but in the end, they are the ones that helped me.
I have not been to Texas and to see family for over twenty-five years. I have lost uncles and aunts in these years…cousins, too. Work, finances and even a little of what I would call disconnect, contributed to my not making any effort to travel back to the state where my relatives live. None of that was relevant, as I found out in my journey back.
My first impression upon visiting the area in Lytle, Texas, where we stayed, is that I have not seen so many brown faces since I left California to move to North Carolina. Everyone who waited on me in the HEB stores or even Starbucks was brown, like me. It was heartening in a way I can’t completely articulate, but nonetheless, I was inspired at all the shades of brown Hispanics are. Seeing the Spanish influence in the names of the streets and restaurants reminded me again of California and how strong the Spanish legacy is in this state, as in California.
My cousins laughed at me, because I kept calling the wild bluebonnets, bluebells. That was the other thing, the wild flowers were in full bloom, filling meadows, bordering the highways and roads, and dressing up the orchards of mesquite trees. I kept teasing my mom, that I was going to get her pillow and sit her in the middle of the blue bonnets and take a picture.
I will write more and post pictures in future posts. The emotions are still pretty strong, not just the visit, the reunion with my cousins and seeing the elders, but the significance of traveling with my parents, the contrast of traveling when you are a kid versus when you are an adult, and the bittersweet aspect of the journey of life. They say you can never go home again, but I know you can get pretty close to it.