Being Good at Something by Jackie Villarreal Najera

Albert Montez and my dad were close friends. Actually, Dad liked all the Montez boys. They were his favorite nephews. Albert and Dad liked to play the guitar and sing. I remember that Albert had a wonderful singing voice.  

My dad loved visiting his hometown in Texas. The minute Albert found out my dad was in town, Albert would go and find him. They would play the guitar for hours.

Dad had cousins that even recorded music.

 I was never musically inclined. Two of my siblings play the guitar. The rest of them can dance very well. One of my brothers danced so well that he even performed in the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. I cannot dance at all. 

Like I said, I couldn’t do anything. My dad decided to give me guitar lessons, I failed at that. My dad then decided to give me tennis lessons. I failed at that. I felt very bad that I was so inept. I decided to learn to play any instrument.

 In middle school the only instrument that was left was the flute. I started to learn to play the flute. My family left the house so they could not hear me play. I must have been very bad. Only my father stayed to encourage me. His face told me that he was very proud of me. I did learn to play the flute. I wasn’t very good at reading music.

 I asked my dad if I could work at the YWCA.  I thought it would be fun to work at Day Camp. Day Camp was only three hours a day but, I was working five hours a day.

The YWCA director asked if it was alright to paint some picnic tables. I said it seemed like fun. After I finished painting it was time to go home. I had not realized that my dad had been watching me. My dad was so angry that they had ask me to paint. I said I had volunteered to paint. He thought they were taking advantage of me. I said that they were not. That everything seemed like fun to me. When I told him I was invited to residential camp.

 He asked me, “Do you really like camping?”

“Yes Dad, I’m pretty good at it.”

“OK then go for it.”

 He was happy that I had found something I was good at. I learned songs that I taught my siblings. My dad couldn’t be happier that I was finally good at something.

I ended up teaching horseback riding, canoeing, and uphill backpacking where I took the kids overnight. I even learned to cook outdoors. I came home and taught my dad a recipe where you wrap carrots, hamburger and potatoes in foil and throw into the coals. It’s called, “campers delight.” He was so ecstatic that I had showed him something, that he used it whenever he barbequed.

I know my dad was so proud that I finally became good at something. I was happy that I made my dad proud at last.

One thing about my Dad is that he felt that if I became good at something I would become a happier adult.

I did become a happy adult!

























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