I went to Los Angeles last weekend. Usually L.A. traffic keeps us away, pero I’m glad I didn’t stay away last weekend. We picked up our friends from San Pedro Port of Los Angeles, after a world class cruise in Mexico. We planned to spend the day as their tour guides, except that our East Coast friends were much better informed about L.A. than we were. For many relaxed San Diegans, L.A. is mostly about Disneyland, LAX, smog and traffic congestion. Y para mi, it’s also about my tia Chepina.
Whenever I know I’m going to be in Los Angeles, I’m anxious to check on her. She and her husband, my tio Raymundo, aka Mundo, live alone. He needs 24 hour care and supervision. My cousins work together and help with his care, but she’s the only one who is constantly with him! Es mucho. My Apas hermanita, is now 82. Tia Josefina is mostly known as Chepina. We Mexicans, and Mexican Americans have a love of creating nicknames for people and things. As I investigated the “science” behind nicknames I was hit with words such as syncopation and apheresis, imediatamente! I had nicknames for these words; cinco y fer! Except that they didn’t necessarily follow the rules of the definitions. Por supuesto que I’ll have to do a blogpost about Mexican nicknames and the variations used in my family.
Tia Chepina keeps me connected to my apa and she has been the glue of the Zepeda family, keeping her 3 brothers and their families in California connected to the family at large in Jalisco, Mexico. Honestamente, if it were not for Tia Chepina and my primos, I would avoid L.A. altogether, except for the occasional LAX drive. It turned out to be a beautiful day in Los Angeles.
Our friends had one request for us as we prepared to see un poquito of the big city. George wanted to visit the grave of the man who was instrumental in the Azusa street revival; William J Seymour. Meanwhile Margie, his wife, had wondered about Hollywood and the Walk of Fame. These would be new experiences for us all.
San Diego and L.A had been experiencing a torrent of rainy days, aunque any amount of rain for us Californians is a lot, I was anxious to see our sunny California weather y gracias a Dios it was a beautiful day. We walked along the Port enjoying the sun and breeze, then we headed to Evergreen cemetery in East L.A. It was a solemn moment. We rejoiced and hoped for the day that California would see this kind of revival again and right there among the gravestones we agreed in prayer, asking Jesus to bring salvation, hope and peace to our families.
After the cemetery we decided to go to Azusa street, I didn’t realize how close we were to my tias house, but I had yet to make my request known. I felt silly to bring my friends with me. Derepente! Our car starting making a terrible scraping, scratching sound. Hijole! The brakes were screeching! Ben was confused because usually we hear and feel minimal symptoms to warn us that it’s time to replace them. After he checked them, not really sure which needed replacing, we googled the nearest auto parts store and very carefully drove there. We were in East L.A., we figured Ben would right there in the parking lot do the job. Pero, we had to drive somewhere else to do it, hijole! We didn’t know what to do. Luego, I said “Well I could call my tia Chepina, she might not be too far away.” She was delighted to hear from me. We were all so relieved, but we still had to get there. Again, back into L.A. traffic. Ben was being very cautious, but now we were not hearing the scratching and screeching. Hmm? As soon as it was safe Ben tested the brakes, it didn’t feel good, but it had to be done. No awful sounds, no dangerous skidding. When we arrived to her house he checked them more thoroughly. It was strange, but the brakes were fine, Ben speculated that maybe a small rock had gotten in there somehow. Margie and I chalked it up to God wanting me to check on tia.
It was a beautiful short visit. She had made posole for my primo but he wasn’t coming after all and I was thrilled to take his portion. Ahora si, George and Margie were going to have some authentic Mexican food, they used to think Del Taco was a good place for Mexican food. Neither Margie nor George were very hungry, but I warned them that you cannot refuse a strong latina woman’s food. They were glad they didn’t.
Siempre, when I am with tia, she remembers my apa, that big brother who was so handsome in his blue jeans and cowboy hat. Quizas I’ve said it already pero, I love hearing it. My apa was a handsome vaquero. She loved remembering her own childhood, and I soaked it all in. She was very attentive to my friends, hearing about their travels to Mexico and affirming their love of La Costa, where they enjoyed those famous beach resorts. My tio interjected with his jokes and they laughed with him. It was a sweet moment. Tia needed the break and I needed to see that she was ok. It worked out perfectly.
Los Angeles, The City of Angels, definitely felt like that last Saturday. It was a beautiful day with friends and laced with family. Y pues, we didn’t make it to Hollywood, sori Margie, but for me at least, Tia Chepinas cooking and conversation was better than any sightseeing. Gracias a Dios for his protection and his attention to the details of our lives.