God Bless America

I was taken back in time by an email that was sent to me about the song “God Bess America” sung by Kate Smith. Most people don’t know about this famous person who brought America back from it’s defeatist attitude to a more patriotic feeling during World War 2.

I was only 6 or 7 years old when I heard the song. In school we used to sing it before classes to get us in a patriotic mood. During assemblies at the elementary level, it was sung to an audience mostly Hispanics who started listening to the words and understanding the meaning of American beliefs. I was starting to learn English at that time but after a while I got to learn the lyrics.

Those same people had their sons already in the military and were very worried about what will happen to them. My uncles, Carlos Cortez, who served in the Pacific and Ismael Reynosa who was in Europe had already been drafted. They probably heard it on the radio also.

When I was a little older, I joined the Boy Scout program. During summer Camp at Indian Creek near Ingram, Texas, That song was brought up again to close the evening program. It felt good because by then we were in a conflict with North Korea and I was thinking about my uncle Agustin Reynosa who was a medic during that war.

Is it any wonder why it was brought up again during this turbulent years of middle east conflicts and other mini conflicts that spring up throughout the world and America responding to the cause. Regardless of the situation at hand, we are blessed. We have abundant food, the land, regardless of fires, hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes and every environmental crisis, we get back up and fight. We have people who stand up and become leaders and the rest volunteer to help. We have all the resources that are needed for every fight. 

Yes, we should sing it out loud, “God Bless America”. If you don’t know the lyrics, here it is:

God bless America

Land That I love

Stand beside her

And guide her

Through the night with a light from above

From the mountain

Though the prairies

To the Ocean, white with foam

God bless America

My home sweet home

The Covid Story

OK, so I’ve have not written anything for a while. We can blame it on the Corona Virus and the Winter Crisis. However, I can say that I had a lot of experience with both calamities.

In March of last year, I was looking forward to our yearly Fiesta events. I even bought tickets to the Battle of Flowers parade. Suffice to say that we did not make it. We were alerted to the spread of the virus but, we didn’t know how bad it was. Later they called it a Pandemic.

Now, I saw a movie on Netflix titled “Pandemic”. It was scary! So, when I heard that word on the news, It was more scarier. Unfortunately, most people thought it was a hoax and didn’t believe it. The word was out to start protecting yourself by wearing a mask. The reason was that the virus spread by mouth. Not knowing who was contaminated was scarier still.

All sorts of suggestion came forward. Wear the mask, use gloves, stay away from people at least six feet apart, do not meet with more than ten people at a time. All of that kept people from bars, restaurants, movie theaters and churches. Everybody was hurting economically.

The funny part was the run-on paper products. Especially toilet paper. For weeks the shortage of toilet paper was a crisis. I really did not understand that mentality. The other was masks and disinfecting material. I went to HEB, a major grocery store, and they had a bin full of masks and sanitizing bottles in small and large size. Sometimes they ran out of Lysol.

As the weeks went by, people were still on the edge not knowing or realizing how severe this pandemic was. Everywhere I went, people still didn’t wear mask not trusting the government telling them about the danger. People were dying by the thousands all across the country.

Throughout the year we were on quarantine by ourselves. We stayed home sharing stories about our life together and how we survived other challenges that came our way. The times she was stranded in the airport because the plane she was on lost an engine and had to return to be repaired. The Cuban crisis of her being on the verge of being evacuated from the Republic of Panama, living in a motel for months while I was in Alaska and I could go on and on. So, this Covid did not deter us from enjoying ourselves. We each went to our separate corners and went on with life. Me, writing stories, being on standby with the Red Cross, staying in touch with family members and her doing regular housework, reading her tablet, watching all episodes of NCIS, Star Trek, and watching Facebook.

As the year progressed, we found that a vaccine was in sight. At one time the city and religious organizations allowed so many people in a restaurant, churches and bars. Before that, all restaurants and bars were closed to the public. The city seemed like a ghost town. Very little traffic except for the essential people like doctors and nurses and the workers needed to run the government. (We still had trash pickup).

All the events from March till this year had been cancelled. However, we celebrated the Christmas holidays in our own way with immediate family members. The religious rituals that we normally would have like the “posadas”, were cancelled. It was not until January that things open slightly. Then, the worst thing happened.

First off, there was a riot on the nations capitol that led to a confrontation with police and assaulting the building where the law makers were in session. Then afterwards a major winter storm that paralyzed most of the nation especially here at my home in Texas.

When the power went out, we had a natural gas stove working. We had running water at first. We had cell phones but no electricity to charge them. When the power went on for a few minutes, we took advantage to call family members and charge our phones. On the second day of the freeze the water heater sprung a leak curtailing hot water. We were told to boil our water because it might be contaminated. We filled up several buckets of water and use that for drinking and cooking. We used flashlights and candles for light at night. It’s a good thing that my wife had bought small battery lights that could be hooked up above the kitchen table to give us some light to eat by. We found out that everybody was having water leaks in their homes and the plumbers were having a field day. So much that the plumbing supply companies ran out of supplies. Hardly any plumbers were available to us because there was a waiting list for plumbers. Also, the snow and ice made it more difficult to drive. I had water leaking outside my house for a whole week until I could get a plumber to repair the water heater. It felt good to bathe with hot water!

We are now at the end of March. The governor declared that it’s up to us to wear a mask if we go out to visit the restaurants which are now open. For us, we are wearing mask until all clear is sounded. The Fiesta that we were anticipating will not be held this year. The tickets for the 2020 Battle of Flowers parade are still good for 2022. Looking forward to that.

 The blue bonnets are blossoming. People are out enjoying their picnics. Spring has sprung. Now, if NBC news is true, they tell me that if after two weeks after the vaccine shots we can start meeting with family without wearing the mask. That’s because the antibodies are working against the virus. That’s great because we will be able to attend a baby shower for my great grandson who’s due in July.

I believe that sometime this year we will be back to a different kind of normal. We might still be using Zoom to reunite virtually. Businesses might still have employees working remotely from home. Schools will open but some will teach virtually if it fits their purpose. Maybe this whole crisis was a wake up call to get us together and get back to basics. Something like back in the 1940s when we didn’t have this much technology. Well, we did have a radio with family gathered together to listen to our favorite shows. “The Lone Ranger”, HiYo silver”. Away”.