I wanted to start up a series on this blog where I introduce my baby (who might one day be reading this) to his/her family. Since today is my dad’s birthday I’ll be starting with him. I’ll give a little bio of each family member on their birthday, told through my eyes.
My daddy (your grandfather) was born on October 8, 1957 in Brownsville, Texas to Damaso Julio (D.J. or Papo) & Betty Lerma (Mamo). I don’t have too many stories about him from when he was younger, but from what I understand he was a lot like my little brother (your uncle, D.J.). D.J. is a smart kid, but he’d rather be off doing fun stuff than studying for tests and doing homework. Nonetheless, my daddy graduated from Texas A&I with a degree in Agricultural Economics and then South Texas College of Law with a Law Degree. (Yes, I’ll be the third generation of lawyers in our family so you have some work to do, little one!)
One thing I know about my daddy from when he was younger is that he learned how to play the guitar. I found his old guitar sheet music books in the seat of our piano. I’m pretty sure they’re still there. Here's a pic from when he was a kid:
Along with being a lawyer, my daddy is a cowboy. And no, he’s not one of those city-dwellers who listens to country music and drives a big truck and therefore feels entitled to call himself a cowboy. In fact, I don’t think my dad has ever called himself a cowboy, but he is one-- a real one. My daddy was raised on Palmito Ranch, the same ranch that I and everyone else on this side of your family was raised on since Texas was a part of Spain. I’m pretty sure my daddy dreamed about being a rancher full-time, but ranching isn’t always the most profitable line of work. Still, he’s always kept up our ranch & raised cows & other critters. I used to go to the cow sales with him when I was younger. I remember that at the end of the day when I’d lay down for bed I could still hear the auctioneer’s ramblings in my head.
Another thing about my daddy… he’s kind of a big deal. He was the first Hispanic President of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, an association of the premier criminal defense lawyers in Texas and the premier criminal defense lawyer's association in the United States. He was also appointed by Rick Perry to the Governor’s Criminal Justice Advisory Panel. He’s hung out with George W. Bush on several occasions, and Bush even visited his office back when Papo (who was a judge) was still alive.
Other things about my daddy:
- He loves riding motorcycles. In fact, I’m looking forward to buying you a little t-shirt that says “My Grandpa Rides a Harley.”
- He is one of the people behind “Sombrero Festival,” a three-day festival during Charro Days, a holiday unique to South Texas. It is basically a huge series of parties and events that celebrate Mexican-American culture.
- He loves the beach. Our ranch is just a couple of miles away from Boca Chica Beach (called that because it is where the Rio Grande meets the sea.) We have a beach house there and used to go all the time when I was younger. In fact, I was just 3 days old when I had my first Boca Chica Beach day. I plan to introduce you to the beach when you’re that young as well. I also used to go fishing with my Daddy all the time on his boat. Those days were the most fun, especially when all my siblings and cousins were there too.
- Food: He cooks the best steaks and barbeque in the world. As far as candy goes, he loves those sugary orange slice wedge candies. He used to always have some in his office. He also loves Peanut M&M’s (must be where I get that from). He also likes fried chicken (can’t remember whether he likes Church’s or KFC more) and Bologna sandwiches. One of his favorite restaurants was Joe Cotton's BBQ in Robstown, TX. We used to stop there all the time on drives to San Antonio. He used to go there with Papo when he was a kid too. Sadly, it burned down a few months ago so I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to take you there.
- Sports: He likes to play basketball. He used to play with a bunch of my friends’ dads when I was younger, but I’m not sure if they still do. As far as watching sports goes, I think he’s more of a football fan but he probably watches both. His favorite teams are the Cowboys and the Spurs, of course.
- Music: My Daddy loves the oldies. I learned the words to all sorts of oldies songs on the long drives from town back to the ranch after school. Artists like Patsy Cline, Buddy Holly, and Roy Orbison always remind me of him. I guess listening to all that music when I was a kid is what got me into Rockabilly & Psychobilly music when I got older.
- My Daddy likes to travel. We used to go on ALL SORTS of family trips when I was a kid. Those were the absolute best. I miss them so much. Sometimes Mamo and all the cousins would go too. Those are some of my favorite memories.
I was my daddy’s first baby. He’s not big into mushiness and expressing his emotions, but I know he loves me very much.
Little baby of mine, I can’t wait for you to meet my Daddy. It makes me so sad to know that you won’t be living close to him in the first few years of your life. It’s hard enough for me to be away from him. I miss him every single day and it never gets easier. I promise we’ll visit him every chance we get, though, along with your other grandparents and aunties and uncles in Texas. And as soon as your daddy is done with the Marines, we’ll move back to Texas and you’ll get to hang out with your grandpa all the time.