AUSTIN FAMILY STORIES
Ken

www.XKAustin.com

My mother is the source patient from which I derived the guiding principles of my life.

Ken

David's Stories

I remember when...

Although I don't remember this photo,

Verti and Ken

I do remember the time that I was trying to get a passport (dreaming of going to an exciting place far away). And to get a passport, I had to get a copy of my birth certificate. Well, I went through all the government channels, and the only thing that I could get a copy of was a 4x5 index card from the Mohannans General Hospital (the State office in Austin said that there was no record of me being born). However, I got this in the mail:

Hospital Record

Within thirty seconds of showing you this index card, you were on the phone yelling at some poor nurse in Mohannans, "What have you done? My son thinks he's a bastard!" The truth is that I've always known that my birth father was Martin Luther King, Jr. Right?

Ken and friend
One of my earliest memories is when we lived with Elaine and Johnnie in a small two bedroom house close to Cameron Elementary. I was in the first grade and I hated to go to school. I remember pretending to be sick almost every other day, and of the days that you sent me to school, I would cry. Often times I would just stand at the stop sign next to the school and wish that I was somewhere else. One day when I was standing at my stop sign (dreaming of the comet that would someday take me to other worlds) and, Kim Ray, who was also in the first grade, saw me and said, "I'm going to tell you're not in class." Well that afternoon, she told and I never skipped school again because I'll always remember you chasing me around the block in the middle of the afternoon with Micki and Vicki's toy broom in your hand. I hid behind the trash can in the alley until you found me and spanked me with "the broom". Have you ever wondered why I don't like to sweep the floor?


Ken at work




It was a hot summer day and I was in the fourth grade. The five of us had driven from Pecos to Odessa for the monthly grocery trip. After shopping at Gibson's, we drove up to the "Casba" on 16th Street and West County Road. You and Dad went inside for a "cold one" because it was so hot outside. I remember waiting in the hot car listening to Micki and Vicki argue as usual. We were all three hot, sweating, very thirsty. After what seemed to be an hour or so, I decided to go into the "Casba". Drenched in sweat from the heat and with no shoes on, I opened the door and was engulfed by the dark cool air. Music was playing, people were laughing, and everyone was drinking a nice cold drink. I thought I was in heaven. After a few minutes, I finally found you and Dad at a nice little table enjoying the surroundings. Have you ever wondered why I love a nice "cold beer" on a hot summer day?







I remember when you use to save all the dimes that you made from waiting tables. You use to keep then in a couple of big jars and every few weeks we would put them in coin rollers. I remember using those dimes to go on vacation to Carlsbad, New Mexico. I also remember that you made us clothes that matched when we went. No wonder that I'm a little odd. Only you would dress your son in a pink and white pock-a-dot shirt!

Vicki, Micki and Ken at Carlsbad Caverns

It was Thanksgiving Day 1977. Do you remember cooking these? When my friends say their Mom is a hell of a cook, I say "My Mom is a cook from hell."

Thanksgiving pies

I remember you being at every school event, party, meeting, function and trip. Looking out and seeing your blue eyes and beautiful smile, from the Easter egg hut in third grade to football games in sixth grade to band trips throughout high school to the parades and banquets in college, has made each event that much more memorable.

School Photo Graduation Photo

One lesson in life that I learned is "Don't listen to what people say, watch what they do." I remember that when other people were saying, "nigger, wetback, queer, retarded, Mexican lover, white trash", you treated everyone with great respect. I would watch you. You would be just as friendly to the old, Mexican, female dishwasher as you would the rich, white man that owned the restaurant, and the black man at the service station as you would the oil field boss. In my eyes, you treated everyone as your friend. For that, I respect you and Thank You for teaching me this most important lesson. Likewise, you have always treated all my friends as guest in you home. I'm eternally grateful.

I consider you to be my best friend. You are always there when I'm sad and lonely, as well as, there to share my most greatest achievements. Some of my best memories are with you, Dad, Bryan and I eating popcorn and watching old Hitchcock movies together. Thank you always being there for me and creating such wonderful sisters and brother for me.

Vertie and Ken
















I Love You,
Ken


2011 Update:

My mom is...
     Ceramic ducks in every nook and corner of her
     kitchen to china dolls of every shape and
     color in her living room.
     More family photos than you could ever look at in a
     week to refrigerator magnets from every place she
     has ever visited covering the front of her "ice box".
     Sewing machines, needles and thread to multi-color,
     hand-made afghans for every member of the family.
     Her new prized wooden donkey pulling a cart of
     plastic flowers after her favorite one-eared, old
     Mexican ceramic donkey was beat to death by hail
     one hot, stormy afternoon.

My mom is...
     Saturday morning garage sales and setting in the
     backyard in lawn chairs drinking a cold Coors Light
     on Sunday evenings watching the freshly cut grass.
     The beautiful, aromatic red and yellow climbing roses
     growing in the front yard and driving around town
     with brightly colored, plastic flowers in the trunk of her car
     that she switches out at loved oneís last resting places.

My mom is...
     Cooking over the hot grill at Garlands Steak House in
     Big Lake and waiting tables in the early morning
     hours at the Ramada Inn in Pecos and other West
     Texas cafes for pennies, nickels and dimes for tips.
     Hiding the money she made that she got from
     ironing clothes from Dad and giving it to me to buy gas and a
     hamburger and fries for my drive back to
     Corpus Christi when he was so sick.

My mom is...
     Possum Kingdom, Texas and Rome Italy,
     Caribbean cruise ships and
     small, dusty oilfield towns in West Texas.
     Penny slot machines in Vegas.
     Dancing two nights a week and BINGO!

My mom has...
     Sky-blue eyes and a contagious Smile that makes
     everyone around her Smile.
     Protected us while we slept in the car when we could
     not afford nights at the Mustang Motel to get away
     form the craziness.
     Traveled to visit me in every house I ever lived in.
     Even the one bedroom cabin with no running water
     and a stolen outhouse in Truchas, New Mexico that
     made her cry when she saw it.

My mom is...
     Unselfish, Nurturing and a Caregiver.
     Hard working, Supportive, and Strong-willed.
     Self-sacrificing and oftentimes has gone with out so
     that others can simply have.
     Modest.
     Accepting.

My mom sings...
     "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" By Charlie Pride
     and Lynn Andersonís "I beg your pardon, I never
     promised you a Rose Garden"
     ...... she is always singing.

My mom says...
     "I brought you in to this world and
     I can take you out."
     "Knock it off or Iíll beat the far outa ya."
     "Make sure you have clean undies. If you get ran-
     over by a car, ya donít wont the Dr. look'n at your dirty undies!"
     "When are you coming home?"
     "Just called to say I love you."

My mom is...
     Banana pudding, Frito Pie, Fried Okra and
     Rum Cake.
     Pumpkin Pie, Biscuits and Gravy, Pancakes with
     homemade syrup, and Tacos with shells made
     using glass Coke bottles.
     Beans and Cornbread.
     Mexican food and cold beer.
     Fried Chicken.

My mom is...
     A special mom.
     Someone who loves me as I am.
     The lone individual, the catalyst, that altered the predictable path of past generations for all future generations.

I am...
     Accepting of everyone's differences
     An advocate for the underdog and the less fortunate
     Honest and hard-working
     A caring, compassionate, gentle and loving man
     ...because of you.

My mom taught me to
     "Live the life you've always imagined."

Happy Motherís Day!

I love you!
Ken