I was very fond of my Dad and we were very close. For several years on my birthday, he would tell me this story about the day I was born. My Dad was tall and thin. His name fit him well. He was dark olive complected with very black hair. He was very handsome. He was a happy go lucky man. He always appeared to be happy. He was the kind of man who would come in dancing or singing. He always seemed to live in the now. He lived life the way we all should live life, in the present. It is said living in the now means “that yesterday is gone, so don’t worry about it and tomorrow is not yet a reality so don’t worry about that either.” I think my Dad had some deep seated emotions from his past that he held inside, yet he never let anyone know.
His character was one we should all learn from. They also say that laughter can cure anything. He was always happy. That’s why I loved him so much.
So on my birthday, my Dad would call me and say “Did I ever tell you about the day you were born?” I would say “Dad”, and he would go on with his story:
It was winter, January 1948. It had been snowing and it was very early in the morning, still dark. Four or five in the morning. Your mom, wakes me and says, “Seco,” short for Secundino, “the baby’s coming.” I then jumped out of bed and told her I would go start the car. Because it was winter, everything frozen at night in Colorado. As I got dressed, she got her things together. I went out through the snow and started the car. I wanted to heat it up before she got in. Well, he would say, I was driving down the road very fast. I’m so worried that she might have the baby in the car so I decide to drive faster. As we’re going down the road, a motorcycle cop comes after me. He stops me and says “Seco, why are you speeding?”
Rocky Ford Colorado was a very small town. Everyone knew each other by first names, even the police. My Dad loved that little town. It’s where he grew up. It’s where he married, had children and enjoyed his youth with happiness and joy.
It was the late twenties and early thirties.
It was also where he met my mom and fell in love. It’s where he had me, his favorite daughter. No matter what mistakes my Dad made, I loved him very much.
Seco was born in Guantajanto, Mexico. He came to the United States when he was 6 to 8 years old. They had migrated to this small town during the early 20’s when the United States had developed a program called the Prasedo Program, which allowed immigrant farm workers to enter the United States for a while and do farm labor. My grandfather came first and several months later sent for my grandmother, Dolores and his three children, Seco being the oldest.
Now imagine Seco, this jolly man saying to the cop, “my wife’s having a baby. I got to get her to the hospital.” The cop says “Oh, okay Seco, lets go”, gets in front of him and turns on the siren and takes off with Seco in his car, behind him, speeding down the road with sirens. Seco would say “that’s how we got you to the hospital and that was the night you were born.”
Year after year my beloved Dad would tell the same story.
I took my Dad to the emergency room on my 48th birthday. He told me the same story as we waited for the doctor.
My Dad would never go home again.
So now on my birthday, I share this story with anyone who wants to hear it. It’s become a tradition.
About Guest Blog
It is said that sometimes the universe connects you to others with purpose. That randomly, for reasons you may not even understand, you cross paths, and are inspired, to do something different, try something new, or even just to continue on the path you’re already on. Such is the case with my guest blogger today, the gifted and wonderfully inspiring Dolores Guerrero. We met online recently, talking summer heat and memories, her in the mountains of California, me in the humidity of Texas, and what resulted from that initial conversation, and subsequent others, was her granting me permission to share with you this very touching and poignant personal story about her father. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
About the Author
Dolores Guerrero is an artist and writer living in California, whose artwork has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Loyal Marymount University Gallery, The Mexican American Museum in Chicago, as well as featured in several books such as Triumph of Our Communities, Four Decades of Mexican American Art, Chicano Art of Our Millennium and Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art.