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”.

Encounters with Jews

The question I have asked myself many times over is why are the Jewish people disliked? I can say that I really don’t know for sure.

My experience with this problem began many years ago when I was living In the barrio on Laredo street. Our barrio went all the way down from the street to a drainage downhill and had about ten shanties’. My family was subjected to paying rent and my grandmother would always say, “hay viene la judea”, “here comes the Jew lady”. I didn’t know what she meant but she was probably exposed to disliking Jews.

Growing up and experiencing life in the military, I have known American Jewish soldiers but they mostly stayed by themselves. In talking to them, they used a lot of Yiddish words which at that time I didn’t understand. Remember that I came from the barrio and I had to learn everything about the outside world including different race of people and their language plus there were ignorant and uneducated people that I had to contend with. Also, they had to contend with me. For example, “if you’re from Texas where are your cowboy boots?

In time I learned the meaning of those Yiddish words. While traveling in New York City, I occasioned to listen to people talking in English but using Yiddish words in between. They fascinated me because I heard Frank Sinatra in his movies using those same terms to describe a non-Jewish person, Like “Goy” or “Oy” to express surprise. I know now that there are many Yiddish words that are used in common every day English. I hesitate to list them because there so many and people don’t even know they’re speaking Yiddish. Words like “glitch” “bagel” “kosher” “klutz” and many more.

After leaving the military and getting some higher education, I learned that a lot of businesses were owned by Jewish families. Here in San Antonio some theaters and downtown stores mostly used by Hispanics were owned by Jews. Quite a revelation to me. Most people here knew that already.

Maybe it’s a hereditarily thing that is passed by people who are jealous of the Jews ability to manage their income and acquire property. Also, a lot of people hate the Jews because they were responsible for the crucifixion of the Messiah. A while back, there were Jews called Zionist because they believed in getting back their own country. All of these things relate to the dislike of Jews.

According to history the Jews were more educated in financial matters and were called upon to work as bookkeepers by the powers that be and became a resource for other countries in the Middle East and Europe. I believe that from those years came a dislike for Jews around the world because they appear more wealthy. It doesn’t matter if a Jew has another profession, they are still associated with the money lenders in Jerusalem.

While talking with my wife and asking her if she knew any Jews while growing up, she remembers vendors who were Jews that came by selling stuff. She also remembers that there was a Jewish school downtown where she used to pass by when she went shopping on weekends with her grandmother.

I think of myself as being tolerant of all religions whether good or bad. The Jews themselves are a race whether they follow their religion or not. If I met them on the street, I wouldn’t know if they were Jews unless they or somebody told me. I would respect them but, If I had any dealings with them, my mind would go back in time and cautiously remember what my grandmother would say, “here comes the Jews”.  Would I follow her thinking?