Whenever I feel brave…
May 17th was my father’s birthday. I went to visit his grave in nearby La Feria, Texas.
Twenty-eight years ago my parents were “Winter Texans” down here in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. My father was cutting the grass on a lawn tractor at Frontier Baptist Mission, where they were helping out. We have to assume that he got too close to the edge of the wide irrigation ditch on the property. He and the lawn tractor tumbled down the embankment, pinning him under the machine and he drowned in eighteen inches of water. We decided to bury him down here in a small, old, rustic cemetery that has always given me peace.
The seventeenth was a Sunday and it was around lunchtime. There is a Whataburger in La Feria that was my introduction to Whatburgers way back in 1992 and has been a tradition to eat at whenever I am nearby. I noticed that the parking lot was nearly empty so I decided to eat before going to the cemetery. As I got closer to the building I realized, of course the parking lot is near empty, the dining room is closed down due to the Chinese Lung Rot. I went to the drive-thru then took my food to the cemetery’s tranquility.
This visit, the place looked rather unkempt. I guess between the Kung Flu and the fact that this small cemetery is underfunded, upkeep this visit is not as it has been in the past. I think it is an almost-forgotten cemetery. The names are Anglo, for the most part, a vestige of the midwestern and southern farmers who came here during the forties and fifties for the cheap land. They worked hard to be able to put their children through college, then the children learned careers outside of farming and moved away.
Last year, a lady who spoke no English stopped to see if I needed help. When I convinced her that I was fine and that I had a purpose for being there, she gave me a bible and her condolences. Well, she gave me a bible, she may have been telling me to make sure I picked up after myself.
I like it down here. I’ve always liked it down here, despite the tragic reason for first discovering the Rio Grande Valley. In this cemetery I always find peace.
Maybe it’s time to put down some roots.
“Now and then I go back to Biloxi,
Whenever I feel brave.
Visit that little country church down there,
Put some flowers on your grave.”