I had to go home to Houston to attend a funeral over the weekend. My mom called last week to tell me that my "uncle" from Kingsville died. He wasn't really my "uncle" in the blood relations sense, but that's beside the point.
I really don't know him very well, but I hold fond memories of him and his family. When I first got to the States, my sisters and I spent weeks each summer at their house in Kingsville. Those were the summers during which I was introduced to Americana. I ate meals with the family at the dining table. I swam in the backyard swimming pool. I splashed about in the waves at South Padre Island. I learned to play Uno. I bought a Nolan Ryan glove at the local Wal-Mart. In short, I became more American. For an FOB kid struggling to fit in at school, that meant a lot.
The funeral wasn't a somber occasion, which was refreshing. Most everyone was in good spirits -- a life-affirmation sort of mode. It was good to see all my "cousins" again. I hadn't seen most of them in years.