When Ida came into this world a century ago, she wasn’t expected to live. Born several weeks premature, at home, doctors suggested they make her as comfortable as possible.Her crib was an opened bureau drawer. Her mother watched over her, as did her brothers and sisters. Her father had recently moved the family from Bandera, Texas to the bustling oil refining town of Port Arthur. It was hard farming in Bandera and the Texas Company in Port Arthur offered a decent salary and, more importantly, hope.Ida’s father died in an industrial accident just a few years later. Her uncles suggested she and another brother be sent to an orphanage, since her mother would be unable to support the kids. Her older siblings, however, pitched in to do what they could. The family got by. And it wasn’t easy.As Ida grew older, she met a rough and tumble Cajun boy. A rugged ox who was hired by the local energy company simply because they needed a south-paw on the company’s baseball team. Her mother was not happy with her choice of suitor, but he persevered. After 4 years of courtship he was ready to pop the question. Unfortunately, Ida’s mother died, and the two decided to postpone the engagement for a year so people wouldn’t think they couldn’t get married with her mother still alive.It was a strong marriage, though not always happy. The Great Depression came upon the heels of the nuptials. Children of their own started coming, a total of five over the next ten years. Five girls in that little two-room house. Five girls that would later share that one tiny bathroom.Ida has certainly lived a good life; traveling to Italy, Ireland and France. She followed the idea that if you can’t say something nice, it is better to say nothing. And there were days of silence. She has always been level-headed, and if you asked her advice she was kind enough to give it—and always allowed you to heed it or not. Never with an “I told you so” should things go awry. Her children, for the most part, have followed her matriarchal ways with family get-togethers several times a year. Rallying around those in need. Support or sympathy when called upon. Under her, her family truly found the meaning of family.On this day, in 1910, her bright eyes opened upon a world—quite different than the ones she sees now. Today, on her birthday, I salute my loving grandmother, and thank her for sharing a part of her life with me.Mike
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