A Creative Spirit: In Memory of Donald Garcia

God gave us memories so that we may have roses in December.”

*****Sir James Barrie*****

Every Christmas I cherish the memories I have of my uncle Donald. He was a loving, creative, and kind man with a great personality. I have fond memories of him, my grandma, and her sister. It seems the holidays are a special time to recall some of these. In my post titled “A Smile is the Best Memory,” I traveled back in time to when I was just fourteen years old. In that post I talk about Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s house when I was in my youth. For the time travel piece I said… “Nearby the cinnamon in my Uncle Donald’s spiked nog tickles my nose. He has such an attention to detail. He uses intricate little cups, a fancy bowl and ladle to serve up his yearly concoction. He takes a cup and gives my mom some to try. ‘Tell me what it needs,’ he says. I can hear her smack her lips with a voiceless yum! He knows that means it needs nothing more, and nothing less.” My uncle always took pride in decorating my grandma’s house and her living room for Christmas. She was always so proud of her tree, and the nativity display he religiously put up each year. After he passed, another of my uncles did this for my grandma until she passed away in 2007.

My uncle Donald and my mother Gloria were very close. I always remember my uncle being there for my mom when she needed him- no matter what. It didn’t matter if she needed him emotionally, or simply to help her with tasks around the house. He was a very special person. When he passed away she was heartbroken. I will never forget the night he died because I was preparing to leave the country on my senior trip to Europe. It was 1993. I was told to stay up all night before that trip so that I would not get jet lag from such a long flight. I was writing (of course) during the wee hours of night when my mom received the saddening call. I almost didn’t go on that trip because I didn’t want to leave my mom. I knew she was very sad. She encouraged me to go, and told me that he would want me to go. Later that night, I heard taps on my bedroom window (about an hour after he died). I felt the taps were those of my uncle in spirit. He was sending me a sign that he was ok. I thought of he and my mom often on the trip.

This uncle also had an outstanding knack for creativity, and was undoubtedly a practitioner of aesthetics. I always felt that one of his most impressive feats was his “shack.” That’s what everyone in the Garcia Family called, and still calls his unique creation. “The shack” was basically what people would refer to as a “man cave” of sorts. It was a popular family hangout back in the good old days when we got together regularly. His shack still stands today, but sadly, it is now falling apart. I wanted to capture some of this history before it crumbles and disappears. As a little girl, I was always so impressed with the things he did in there. Looking back, I am almost certain that this shack was built completely of recycled materials. My uncle may have been “green” decades before others concerned for the well being of our planet.

The place was built using New Mexico earth (adobes). Some features of his beautiful creation include: vigas (circular beams) on the roof; drift wood embedded into the walls; adobe benches and nooks; mirrors embedded into the walls; a textured, and a wood panel adorned roof; adobe plant holders built into the walls; nichos (concave spaces); an indoor faux portal (fake entrance); interesting tables; a bar; an adobe fireplace; and a small sleeping area. He had a back door which opened up to all his beautiful flowers and plants, as well as an inventive backyard space. I miss the days I spent in “the shack.” I miss connecting with family. I miss listening to that crackling fire, as well as the adults laughing. I miss having fun together.

Cheers to good memories, and to the memory of a creative spirit in my family that is missed…

A Smile is the Best Memory

Explore posts in the same categories: Connections, Creativity, Digital Photography, Family Photos, History, Holidays, Maternal Line, Memories, New Mexico, Quotes, Spiritual, Worthy Reads

4 Comments on “A Creative Spirit: In Memory of Donald Garcia”

  1. Gloria Irene Says:

    Beautiful writeup. I love the pictures. My brother and I were always very close. We grew up the closest in age.

  2. Gilbert Lujan Says:

    The old place brings back memories of the good times I spent with your uncles. You know that some people that view your photos would die for that type of design on a house. Once again beautiful job on your article.

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