Here is the forward to the book I am helping my dad write tentatively titled "The life and times of a barrio dog." This is a rough draft. Hopefully I can give you all more excerpts of his book in the future.
“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.” Joseph Campbell
My life at this point seems pretty ordinary. I’m not sure if my life has even started yet. My life is a series of calculations. Every situation I enter is calculated ahead of time to give me the desired outcome. I guess you can say I am cheating myself of life. I know life is very unpredictable and can be very overwhelming. I know there are setbacks and victories. I have had my share of both. Half of my life is gone already and I know there is a lot out there for me to experience. By my age my dad had already lived a full and exciting life.
My dad grew up in the roughest part of San Antonio which is in the deep westside of the city. There is nothing luxurious about living in the westside of San Antonio in the 1950's. It was a constant struggle back then. It was a struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table with whatever means necessary. You did what you had to in order to stay alive. There was no fluffy outdoor malls back then. I have grown up in the safe suburbs of far Northwest San Antonio. My dad held several minimum wage jobs with just a GED education supporting a family of nine. It was not until later that he had time to continue his college studies. He later became self employed and then moved on to the corporate world. I have worked a few minimum wage jobs while in college obtaining my degree and have really worked in one industry for the past fifteen years. I have been supporting a family of four daughters which is a completely different story itself. My dad has told my that I have gone through similar struggles that he has gone through. I don’t really believe that. My struggles are minuscule compared to him.
My struggles are sometimes financial but that is usually just panicking and thinking worst case scenario on my part. That is about as bad as it gets for me. I had no "turf wars'' to deal with or guns pointed in my face or knife scars to show anyone. He struggled learning to speak English in school. He struggled to help his mom and dad with money whenever he could. He struggled to keep out of the “turf wars” growing up in San Antonio with little success. He has told me that sometimes the “turf wars” go looking for you. He struggled with personal demons when he had to go rescue his dad from a bar fight while getting a gun pointed in his face. He struggled with himself not to go back to that bar with his buddies and shoot the place up. He knew that was not the right thing to do. That is not what his parents taught him.
My dad has lived more than I will ever live. He has lived that life so all of my brothers and sisters can have a safe, predictable life. His parents passed down the hard work ethic to him so he can pass that work ethic down to us. I hope to pass my work ethic down to my wonderful daughters. In a way I am helping my dad with this book for my daughters and my brothers and sisters so they can cherish this book for eternity. Hopefully my daughters will read this book when they get older and understand the life that my dad had to live in order to give me my values and pass those values and work ethic down to them.