Up to about my first year of college, I never considered family to be “important.” Over the years, however, I’ve come to realize that family is all we’ve got in the long run.
A couple of Sundays ago the church celebrated the feast of the Holy Family. This feast typically falls after the fourth Sunday of Advent and after Christmas itself. The feast is a celebration of the new family that is celebrated each Christmas, comprising Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
The feast of the Holy Family can be viewed from many angles, not the least of which is unity, and a devotion to always place your family first.
A few months ago, I wrote in this column how I perceived an acquaintance’s death, and how that death made me realize how precious our time here is. While that statement may seem corny, it’s true. In less than five years I’ve witnessed the death of a grandmother, aunt and great uncle — in that order. I never made an effort to reunite with them. And I regret that I will never be able to sit down with them again and ask about their times as younger people.
Matriarchs and patriarchs are such valuable encyclopedias, filled with knowledge and surprises at every turn. Thus, I made the decision long ago that if I am unable to speak to my family’s particular leaders, I should embrace the family members I have at my disposal and immerse myself in as much history as I can.
This trip I made was taken with the hopes that I would get a lesson in some of that history, however small. For example, I learned that my godfather had a deep devotion to my great-grandfather, whom I’ve never met. I learned that several cousins, along with my aunt, were involved in a minor traffic accident on their way to my parents’ wedding reception, which is why there is no 8 millimeter video of that event, only of the wedding.
My dad, in particular, likes telling me of his boyhood days in Juarez, hanging out on street corners with his friends with nothing but a bottle of tequila to keep them warm.
It’s little stories like these that make me want to ask questions, and at the same time — and even more importantly — learn something about myself.
Get in touch MICHAEL J. ARVIZU is a reporter for the La Cañada Valley Sun, Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader. Reach him at (818) 637-3263 or e-mail michael.arvizu@ latimes.com.