Saturday, February 5, 2011

" Don Felipe" - A Remarkable Man......

He Loved his goats
During my life time I have met many a good man, but one that has stood out to me was my late father in law, Juan Flores Jr. Known as Felipe to his friends was a man of principals and rules, his rules. He raised and supported his family of 11 children on his salary which he made working for a bread company as a handyman.and painter for "Rainbow Bakery, in Harlingen, Texas. To this very day I have no idea how much money he made. All I can say, it was not a lot of money for sure but he made it work, how he did it I do not have a clue. As long as I knew him, he never ever called in sick and worked for the company for over 30 years, until the day he retired, where he lived out his life on his 2 acre little ranch. The ranch to him was more like a !0,000 acre ranch to him, he was in his element, raising his family and his goats, he loved his goats. What is so amazing is how he was able to provde for his family. Hell, I worked 15 years for the railroad raised one child, supported my wife and barley made it on my salary as locomotive engineer. It was just flat out amazing how he did it. I do know that his wife, known to me as Grand Ma Licha had made all of the kids clothes, including underwear, made out of flour sacks. I always referred to Mr. Flores as "Pa."

I remember the day when I told Mr. Flores that I had proposed to his daughter, Ida. He told me, "mijo" (son) their is only one thing I am going to tell you, he said to me...." if you ever decide to bring my daugther back for whatever reason, you better bring her back, in the same manner in which you took her." Of course he told me that in Spanish. What he was saying was, do not take her and ever beat on her, or hurt her in any way and just dump her off.  He was dead serious when he said that, he looked me square in the eyes when he said it. I got the message. After the approval, I got the speech form each of the 6 brothers. I understood the message loud and clear.   I knew that I had married into a family that was not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but a family that was rich in love and family values, a family that was rich in Patriotism, as most family members served in the military and served over seas and fought for our country. All of the values I have mentioned was instilled by the Patriarch of the family. "Pa" was a very soft spoken man, and was very gentle and a loving man. One of the things he did was take care of a cemetery called the "Los Muertos" (the dead). He kept the cemetery manicured like it was his own yard, and never took a cent. "Pa" was a man who was revered, he had a multitude of friends from all walks of life.  I could probably never tell you all of the stories about him, I will say this, if he were still with us, he would be belly aching about me writing anything about him that would draw any attention or shine any light on him, he did not like that at all.
Sitting Loreta, Ma Licha, Olivia,
standing Ester, Johnny, Ramon & Danny

I guess what drew me to write this little piece about him is all of the violence I have seen within the family units, and as police officer, I have seen  a lot. Familes that just do not make it financially for what ever reasons.  Juan Flores Jr. made it, they did not have alot, but they had a nice little home, and huge family full of love, and a family that anyone would be proud to call their own, I am saying just that, I learned a lot from Juan Flores Jr. he was a rich man, in all since of the word his word was his word, you could count on it.

Juan Flores Jr. was a remarkable man and I was richer for having known him.

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