Looking around and watching the leaves change on the trees brings back some childhood memories of Pueblo, Colorado.
In our neighborhood, there was always a lot of action and one event I remember fondly was when the Sena family had a big party at their home. Most of the people in attendance were relatives of the Senas, but since we were good friends, my brother and sister and I were always invited.
On my visits home, I’ve driven through that part of my hometown. It amazes me how the yard where the gatherings took place — that once seemed so large — was not as big as I remember. But there was sufficient room for everyone to enjoy some good times.
There were kids running everywhere, playing games or just talking and laughing together. Rolando Sena would set up a big tub filled with water over a fire and dump a big bunch of corn into it.
The smell of hamburgers and hot dogs and green chili filled the air with such wonderful aromas. Everyone had a smile on their face in anticipation of the great food we would eventually eat.
The boys would gather and put on some boxing gloves to have a go at it. There was a bloody nose now and then and once in a while a black eye from the pugilists who exchanged blows. When a match would start to get too rough, one of the older boys would step in and calm everybody down.
We played tag, hide-and-seek and then would move over to 16th Street for a game of football. Ogden was the cross street and the traffic was too busy for kids to play on.
It seemed like the day would never end and the smell of tortillas coming from the house kept our mouths watering. The wives would chatter and the men would argue about various things from sports to politics.
There were so many kids and we were noisy.
I remember a big tree in the yard that provided shade as the sun moved across the sky. When we needed a rest, we sat down under it and talked about kid stuff.
Music, mostly Mexican music, blared out from a stereo and there was a bit of dancing going on. Of course, there was lots of ’50s music as well and, yes, the adults consumed a beer or two through the day.
What was really special to me was that it was a safe place for all of us. Not a place void of conflict, but a place filled with peace gained through relationships.
We were confident in the love of our parents and even though we three Vigils were not related to the Senas, we felt like we were.
The only thing I didn’t like was Rusty, the Senas’ dog. He was mean and sat on his front porch just waiting for me to ride by on my bike. Of course, at the fall party, he didn’t bother me because there were too many others to sink his teeth into.
The years went by and as we moved from childhood into teenagers and young adults, times changed — like the seasons.
Spend some time this month looking back at your own memories. Then go out and make some new ones for your kids.
Happy harvest days to all and God bless.