Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 14, 2011

Lines in Pleasant Places

I am back in Mission, Texas, the place where I was born. Located just a few miles north of the Rio Grande River, Mission was the South Texas version of Mayberry — a small but adventurous place for a kid like me to grow up. In 1908, Mission was named after the nearby La Lomita Mission located on the Rancho La Lomita. La Lomita Mission was founded by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a French religious order of the Catholic Church. When the Missouri Pacific Railroad established a railway station nearby, the population of the small settlement began to grow. The first citrus trees in the Rio Grande Valley were planted in the Mission area and today account for a significant portion of the Valley’s economy. I hunted jack-rabbits in local citrus orchards when I was a kid. And, my family always enjoyed juicy oranges and Ruby Red grapefruit purchased directly from local farmers.

My grandfather, Felipe Garcia, arrived in Mission on March 19, 1921. Prior to his arrival, he served as a Sergeant Major in World War 1 and later started the first Hispanic Boy Scout Troop in South Texas. Even Boy Scouts were segregated at that time. After moving to Mission, he met and married my grandmother Lucy who captured his heart. He started a successful income tax and real estate business and served as a city commissioner and mayor pro-tem for the city of Mission from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. He was also a founder of the Hidalgo County Child Welfare Board whose purpose it was to look after the children of men in jail. Through his colorful career he met and sold a car to Pancho Villa, the Mexican Revolutionary general, and met Charlie Chaplain and other silent film-era movie stars. He remained actively engaged in and concerned about the life of the community until his death at the age of ninety-six.

Tomorrow, the Mission Historical Museum will posthumously recognize my grandparents with their President’s Pioneer Award. Our family is here for the occasion which will be attended by a former Congressman who was one of my grandfather’s Boy Scouts and many others he mentored or that were touched by his life. Earlier today I stopped by the museum, where his WW1 uniform and correspondence with General Pershing is on permanent display, to look at the preparations. Although I know lots of my grandfather’s personal history, I learned even more today about my remarkable and beloved blue-eyed grandfather. He deeply cared about his family but he also worked tirelessly to make Mission a better place for his generation and the generations to follow.

When I walked out of the museum where the ceremony will take place tomorrow, I was reminded of David’s words in Psalm 16:6 — “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” I am thankful that my grandfather lived wisely and set an example worthy of imitation for his family. I am also glad that he considered how his choices would impact those who would come after him. It is indeed a blessing to look back on a life well lived and to be the beneficiary of that kind of beautiful inheritance. My grandfather’s example reminds me that I too must live wisely if I am to leave my family a beautiful inheritance. The most spiritual thing that we do on any given day is to make choices because our choices either draw us closer to or away from God. And, our choices have reach far beyond our lifetime and will determine whether or not the lines will fall in pleasant places for those who come after us. I am deeply grateful that because of Felipe and Lucy the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.


Responses

  1. Omar,
    You come from good stock. It sounds like the gene pool is a good one too for longevity. If so, you may be writing this blog in 2050!

    Best always,

    Tammy

    • Tammy,

      That thought has crossed my mind. Yikes! Wonder what version of iPad we will be using in 2050. 😉

      Blessings,
      Omar~

  2. Love this post Pop!

  3. I’ve always been in awe of your energy, your dedication and determination, and the depth of your spiritual commitment. In this posting, you have given us a glimpse into the source of those qualities. You have indeed “done them proud” as my own dad would have said. Blessings!

  4. Thanks Niki and Lanni. I have enjoyed learning even more about those who made my existence possible. Doing so is indeed a good motivation for living wisely so that the chapter I add to our family’s history will be one worth reading.


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