Father Wolf Turns 80

My father and I, Easter Sunday 1967.

My father and I, Easter Sunday 1967.

Today my father, George, marks his 80th birthday.  As I stated last month when my mother turned 80, that’s still a remarkable accomplishment.  My father was born and raised in Dallas; the middle of seven children.  On his father’s side, our ancestry dates back to late 16th century Texas; something we’d known about for years, but which he’s confirmed through his extensive genealogical research.

As you might expect, my father is kind of old school.  He comes from an era when family was sacred and hard work was revered.  People took care of themselves and their loved ones in his day, and they didn’t play the victim when things didn’t work out just right.  He worked hard – too hard – all his life and, along with my mother, built a comfortable middle class lifestyle.  He also a typical dad; doing things that only a father would do.  When I was about three months old, my parents ran out of baby formula just as a major ice storm hit Northeast Texas.  My father simply got dressed and walked a couple of blocks to a nearby convenience store.  He thought nothing of it; what else was he supposed to do?  He also thought nothing of standing on his feet several hours a day, slaving over hot printing presses in a dingy shop in downtown Dallas for more than 40 years.  He’s paid for it with bad knees and gnarled toes.  But, that’s what men of his generation did.  They worked hard and took care of their own without question.  Society doesn’t seem to produce men like my father anymore – at least not in great numbers.

Like most Hispanics growing up in old East Dallas, he had it tough.  Classified as “other,” he was occasionally complimented with comments about his fair skin and good looks, as if that made him different, or better.  He told me he once actually got into a fight with a dog in the neighborhood – and won; returning home with a tiny piece of the dog’s ear hanging from the corner of his mouth.  I didn’t know whether or not to believe him – as if I had any reason to doubt him, knowing how mean he could be – until his mother and oldest sister confirmed the story several years ago.  That’s one of those ‘only-my-dad’ type of stories.

So, here’s to my father!  Happy Birthday!  You mean old Mexican!

My father on his 16th birthday, in a picture he gave to his mother.

My father on his 16th birthday, in a picture he gave to his mother.



Filed under Essays

5 responses to “Father Wolf Turns 80

  1. Wonderful tribute to your father, Happy Birthday to him

  2. arne Kat

    Congratulations on your father’s birthday!

    On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 2:22 AM, Chief Writing Wolf wrote:

    > ** > Alejandro De La Garza posted: ” My father and I, Easter Sunday > 1967. Today my father, George, marks his 80th birthday. As I > stated last month when my mother turned 80, thats still a remarkable > accomplishment”

  3. Hi,
    You write so lovingly of your parents. HAve to say I am jealous. Enjoy them and glad your Dad is a genealogy buff.

    • Yes, my father has been conducting his own genealogical research for more than 20 years. He used to visit a local Mormon Library, since they have a vast archive of historical data. Now, they have everything online, which is perfect for him now that he’s gotten older. I’m trying to savor these moments with both my parents and my dog, as they’re all aging. You never know how much time you have with loved ones.

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