|HARLINGEN, June 15 - My Dad, Basilio, was born in a small rural community in Nuevo Leon, close to Monterrey. He was born a twin. His brother, Silvestre, my uncle, lives in Pharr.
My Dad left us for a better place six years ago. He would have been 77 years old today. My Dad wasn't educated. He didn't even get past an elementary school education. However he was always teaching. He was a laborer, and found his calling driving trucks. His couldn't speak English well, but he understood.
While I was a pre-teen and teenager, my Dad would take me along on trips to Dallas and Houston to deliver produce to the various markets. I remember even going up to Joplin, Missouri and other places nearby as a kid with him. For someone who didn't know the language well, he managed to find the location of these produce terminals. He could read a map, and he usually took me or one of my brothers along as interpreters. I learned early on that being shy was not in the job description when traveling with my Dad.
On these long trips, he would often pass along his view of life and the world around us. His drive to provide for his family made me understand the importance of a strong work ethic. "Never be late," he would say. As a matter of fact, he would actually say if you were on time, you were late. He also said that we should always work hard, and that we should take care of our job. And he lived it. He expected us to wake up early, go to school, and study harder. His expectations were for us to not only do our best, but to learn the job and be the best.
He also expected his five sons and two daughters to share with others, and to give to those who don't have what we have - to support those in need so that they could, in turn, give to others. He didn't label anyone according to political ideology. He did tell us that one could tell a lot about a person by the company that he kept. He was teaching us to make proper decisions.
I could go on with some of the other things that this uneducated man learned and then taught from the school of life, but let's just say I am who I am because of what he and my mother taught me.
Raudel Garza is executive director of Harlingen Economic Development Corporation. The above commentary first appeared in HEDCís June, 2014, newsletter.