You asked for a memory of your Dad, but he was only a sound in the background because the cousins are what I remember. Margie stayed with the young aunts, Nora, Vangie and Theresa. I hung out with the boys, with Stevie as our leader.
I remember Sunday mornings driving down a dirt road to the white washed adobe house, dust clouds and cars converging under the cottonwood.
The women, Ninfa, Sally, Theresa, and Rachel, maybe Emily and Soila, prepared the meal. While the men, Ben, Jesus, Tony and Prospero, Solomon and Joe gathered on chairs in the front yard with Grandpa. The kids assembled in groups according to age and interests then disappeared from the adults leaving them to talk in Spanish, laughing and teasing each other.
The younger ones stayed with the teenage aunts
some, mostly girls, gathered inside to play dolls
and the rest ran off into the hills to play in the junkyard.
We discovered refrigerators
with the doors torn off, an old stove,
pots and pans and cooking utensils,
an ancient tractor with a metal seat
and a large cold steering wheel.
A favorite item was the Model T
with rusty springs under the front seat
that squeaked and squeaked when
we bounced on them
Wooden crates arranged in the back
helped us climb through the windows
like garden snakes slipping in and out
and onto the roof.
We played with the discarded treasures
pretending we were grown-ups
but when dinner was ready it was time to return.
There was lots of laughter, and plenty of food
always a cousin to play with and something to do.