October 1, 2021
I sorely miss my deceased 100% Puerto Rican mom! Mom stopped attending school in the third grade, loved to hang out with the boys, played marbles for chocolate kisses and got married to my father at age 13. She was street wise, had the heart and spirit of a tiger and sometimes acted like a provoked tiger. There were times when I was a little embarrassed at her failure to speak clear English. She was wise and tough as nails. She would give you her last dollar but beat your ass for a penny. When people would question her due to lack of understanding or just challenge her, she would look them in the eye and say “I’ll splain it to you!”
I just wish mom was here to “Splain it” to me even though I am pretty sure what she would say.
I have had many, many unique experiences. Some blessings didn’t feel like blessings until much later and some were too good to be true or for me to understand. I’d like to share a few with you.
ANTIQUE FEED BAG
I collect American antiques. I really don’t need any more antiques, but I still look for them. Recently I kept going back to a small town antique store located between my ranch and Dallas that always seemed to be closed during normal shop hours. After about five trips to the store, I thought I would try one more time and then give up. I pulled up on a Saturday and saw a handwritten note on the door from my car, so I thought the shop had to be open. I walked toward the shop door and saw two women outside the shop talking. An older lady was sitting in a car talking to another lady on the curb. They said something to me that I didn’t clearly understand as I walked by. As I approached the door, I thought to myself “Lord, why do I feel that I need to go into this shop?” I got to the door and the sign said the shop would be closed for the rest of the month! I was not happy! As I walked back to my car one of the ladies outside the shop announced that it was her shop. I was not real polite and told her that I had come to the shop about five times, and it was always closed despite the posted hours on the door. She then began to share with me some of her personal problems and said the magic words: “the door is open, go look inside.” I felt bad because of her problems and thought that I had better find something to buy. I looked around the small shop and there wasn’t much inventory and nothing that I was really crazy about or needed. I was alone in the shop and thought I should take a second look around and buy something because of the owner’s challenges. Just then I saw something and knew in my heart why I was led to this shop. Pinned to the wall was a Quaker Oats chicken feed bag that was filled in Sherman, Texas. I had spent a lot of time looking everywhere for one of these – online and in shops! I asked the lady how much she wanted for the old sack. She quickly said, “It’s not for sale.” I found a couple of items to buy and asked the lady again, “Are you sure you won’t sell me the feed sack at any price?” She told me once again that it was not for sale. I told her that I would give her $100 for the bag as she was totaling the price of the items that I was purchasing. She once again told me it was not for sale. I then explained to her my reason for wanting the bag. The father, mother and both grandfathers of my attorney of 30 years worked at the Quaker Oats plant in Sherman where that bag was filled. My attorney’s father is still alive, and I knew that the feed bag would mean something to him and his son. The lady who owns the shop was a retired schoolteacher and she responded, “If your story is true, I’ll give you the feed sack.” I assured her that my story was true. After I paid her $150 for items I purchased, she shared with me, “Because of your purchase today, I can now pay my electric bill.” Just maybe there were two reasons it was in my heart to get into the small antique store, but who will ever know for sure?
A couple of years ago I had oral surgery to remove some Mandibular Tori growing beneath my tongue. I went to an oral surgeon who specializes in this sort of surgery. My wife, Barbara, went with me because I needed someone to drive me home. Apparently, things went real bad because I remember very clearly that I saw a white light beam and when I looked up I could see people that were glowing white encouraging me to move up the beam toward them. I remember so very clearly saying to them, “I can’t come. I still have things to do on earth.” Almost immediately after stating that I still have things to get done on earth I opened my eyes. I was staring face to face at the oral surgeon and my wife, who both looked pale with eyes as big as bread plates. They were hollering at me to wake up and telling me that I had to breathe. Once my vital signs returned to normal, they shared with me that I really scared them. Seeing that white beam of light and those warm and inviting people was so very enticing but for whatever reason, I was not ready to join them. This is not a made up story!
About 10 years ago I met a biracial young man through a friend of mine who is a retired United States Congressman and his wife, a college regent. They met the young man at a cemetery where he had a job cleaning the cemetery as he pursued a college education. My friends took this young man under their wing. Over the years the young man would call me about once a year just to give me an update of what was taking place in his life. He never asked me for anything other than to pray for him. I learned that the young man came from an area that is known for its gangs and he was trying to break a life cycle. Over the past year the young man and I spoke more and more because he was getting married and wanted to make sure that I would be present. He shared his challenges with prejudices against him as we focused on lots of good things that will be in his future. He shared with me that the only relatives that he wanted present at his wedding were his daughter from a high school relationship and his mother. Unfortunately, his mother died a few weeks prior to the wedding. About ten days before the wedding date, he called me and asked, “Mr. King, you wouldn’t happen to have a black tuxedo, would you?” He then explained that two of the three groomsmen scheduled to be in his wedding had been exposed to the covid virus and could not attend. He wanted to know if I would stand in his wedding. I told him: “About 30 years ago I purchased a black tuxedo that hangs in my closet today and has never been worn. I just thought I should have a tuxedo. If you’re willing to have an old man in an old tuxedo in your wedding, I’ll be there.” I just cannot help but wonder if this tuxedo purchase that took place long ago was part of the master plan.
I wish that my mother was around so I could hear her say one more time, as she would often say, ”I’ll splain it to jew” as she made the sign of the cross. “Oh Jetty, this is the man up above and you shouldn’t work so hard. I dios mios.”
I am convinced that there are no accidents in life, especially in the most challenging times. There are blessings by the grace of God, if we will only look for them! I just cannot make this up! Take it from a flunky and failure who refuses to quit! Thanks be to God from whom all blessings flow.
Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.