Getting Lost by Jackie Villarreal Najera

 One Easter Sunday when I was about six years old we went to Cole park. Every year we would go and hunt for eggs carrying our Easter baskets. My father would make a big production hiding the eggs. I was not very interested in doing that because I could never find too many eggs.

In the park was a small creek that got my attention. I was looking for tadpoles. I was so enthralled that I didn’t even know my family had already gone home. My father always counted us as we got into the car.

I guess in those days I was always daydreaming and very quiet. They forgot me. When dad found me, he looked pale and frightened.  I did not know I was lost.

My father picked me up hugging and carrying me to the car. I was surprised because usually Dad just held my hand when we walked.

The following year we came back from Chicago on a train. We were at the depot. I was fascinated with my surroundings. I was looking at the flags that were everywhere. I had been holding my father’s hand. I let go of his hand as I looked at the flags and then reached out and took what I thought was my dad’s hand.

The man whose hand I had taken was not my fathers. The man looked surprised and just laughed.  My father was in panic mode looking for me. I still did not know I was lost. I was still looking around when Dad found me. He started to get angry when suddenly he stopped and picked me up and just sighed.

 My husband tells me that that holding someone else’s hand instead of your father’s hand is common. It happened to him too. He got yelled at by his parents when he got lost.  

I’m so glad I’m a girl. Dad never yelled at me when I got lost. He always said his girls were his love and joy. He always added I love my boys too.

I knew my dad meant it because any time I cried he would give me anything I wanted. I knew that sometimes I took advantage of my dad’s love for me. After I became teenager I decided never to did that again.

My dad has been gone for a long time now. My younger brothers now give me anything I want.  My husband gives me anything I want too. Sometimes when I cry they do not know what to do.

One of my younger brother who is also gone, could never see me cry. He would often go and buy me my favorite food and other things he thought I would like.

I still cry mostly because I miss both them a lot. I really don’t care if I get anything anymore.

Isn’t that the way life goes?


   The Green Car by Jackie Villarreal Najera

One of the worst experiences I had was when my sister Linda was almost kidnapped by a man in a green car. Linda was a year younger than me.

One fall day when I was about twelve years old my mom sent me to the store. Linda came along.  The store was about half a mile from our home.

A man in a green car moved slowly following us. I noticed the car right away. The man opened his door and offered Linda a piece of candy. Linda didn’t know any better.

My sister was about to accept the treat when suddenly I grabbed her by her hand and ran. The man followed us.  I was in a panic mode running and trying to hide. Then it occurred to me that there were houses all around and I started ringing doorbells. A lady came the door and I told her our problem. She called the police. I was never so glad that there were good people in my city.

My city of Corpus Christi, Texas is really a safe place.  Despite of what happened to Linda, I was never afraid to go anywhere by myself.

 I am now old and I think back at my life as child, it was a happy time. My parents always made sure we had fun and were protected. We never had to worry about anything. Dad always said “Have fun, there’s enough time as adults when you will have to work.”

He was never so right about that!

Grandma! by Jackie Villarreal Najera


My grandmother taught me how to cook. She baked bread on top the stove instead of the oven. She made wonderful cornbread. She always said that making cornbread with sugar was almost a sin. All these things I never learned to do.

She did teach me how to cook other Texas style cooking. I remember my grandmother watching me cook. She never said anything to me, she just watched. After I finished cooking I tasted the food. The food was bland.

 My grandmother then said “You forgot the cumin.” “Granma why didn’t you tell before now?” I asked. She did not answer me.

Two days after that incident I decided to bake a cake. My grandmother was watching me again. I mixed all the ingredients and even tasted it for flavor. The cake seemed perfect to me. I put the cake in oven and when it was done I then let it cool.

I then took a knife and went around the outside of the edge of the cake pan. I took a plate and turn it upside down. The cake fell into crumbles.

Grandmother said, “You didn’t add shortening and flour to the bottom of the pan.”

I started to worry that I would never learn how to cook or bake. I was making so many mistakes. I remember that I was eleven years old when I began learning how to cook.

I am now over sixty-five years old and sometimes when I cook I never forget the cumin. I also never forget to flour the pans when I bake. Truthfully, I have never learned how to make cornbread or bread on top the stove.

Now that I think about it Grandma taught me how to cook without saying a word.

Smelly Sardines by Jackie Villarreal Nájera

My dad and I liked eating sardines at night. At least three times a week we would get up about eleven o’clock at night   and eat sardines and crackers.

The next morning after that, my mother would yell:  “You’ve been eating sardines again! You and your dad stink up the house!”

My father and I would never own up to it. We didn’t want to get yelled at again.

However, the next night we would do it all over again.

We loved sardines.

Getting yelled at by Mother was expected. She hated sardines in general and fish in particular. She hated those times when Dad fried fish.

Once Dad and I ate fried fish every day for a month. It drove my mother crazy.

Since Mother hated the smell of fried fish so we went back to eating sardines.

“You are at it again, eating those stinky sardines!”

How did she know since we threw the sardine can in the garbage outside?

Dad decided not to buy sardines for a while. Since I receive a generous allowance from him I decided to buy some sardines.

I was eating sardines at night  when my dad suddenly showed up.  The temptation was too great for him and he sat down and joined me.

“Mom is going to yell at us.” I said.

“I know.” Responded my dad.

I have become much older now. I have become a  pescatarian . All that means is while I don’t eat beef, lamb, pork, or chicken. I will eat fish, especially sardines.

I never thought I was very much like my mother but I guess I was wrong. These days when my brothers make spare ribs or any other meat, I will usually yell:

“It stinks!” and I  run to my room  and close the door.

The Last Laugh by Jackie Villarreal Nájera

 My brothers think it’s funny to constantly tickle me. I have three brothers living in my home. They are Jeffrey, Mark and Mano.  I am the oldest in the family. My family is actually a lot fun, sometimes but the constant tickling can get old.

“Stop!”  Usually means to them that I want more tickles. I have told them “I’m your older sister, so stop!” All it means to them is more tickle attacks.

 I tell Mano. “You are the baby so stop tickling your big sister.”

 His response as usual is, “Yea right.”

 One of the worse things that my brother Mark does is wait until I’m busy and he sneaks up on me and kisses me on my neck. He knows my tickle spot and it makes me jump.

He teases, “So you want be kissed?”

He sometimes jumps on my bed or gets in front of the TV.  If I tell him to get away he stays longer. The way I get back at Mark is to threaten him by saying “panties” or saying “I like skinny dipping.” He runs into his room with his hands covering his ears and yelling, “LALALA! I can’t hear you!”

I can also get back at Mark by laughing at my husband’s silly jokes. He hates that, especially when they are not funny.

Jeff has not recently jumped on my bed. That is just because he had several knee and foot surgeries.

Mano also loves to tease Jeff and me.  He makes fun of the way we walk. Actually, Mano teases everyone about their walking.  Mano is a little different with me. He waits until I’m drinking coffee and then he attacks.

He comes and starts tickling me and kissing me until my coffee is all over the table and then he laughs. He also loves to make slurping sounds when I drink water. He has sounds for everything I do. The way I get back at Mano is by sucking my thumb imitating the way he sleeps. He hates that.

  A friend once said to me “I would love to have brothers.” 

“You’re kidding of course.” I say.  “You don’t know what it’s like to be constantly attacked every day. I can’t even drink coffee in peace. I’m always afraid they are behind me ready to attack.”

“It sounds like you have a fun family.”

“Sometimes it is.” I say.   “Sometimes I can even get back at them.

I do love my brothers very much, they mean everything to me.

The way the boys tease me is kind of the way I teased and attacked my Uncle Manuel during our “war.”  You can read about that here: (

I guess everything that goes around comes around.

Karma! Who knew?