A golden anniversary

Julian and Minnie Flores with daughters (standing) Julie, Veronica and Denise and granddaughters Janessa and Mikailah. Not pictured: daughter Becky, granddaughter Janeeva.

My aunt and uncle were in the room with us when Mom died peacefully last fall. So there was no way I was going to miss last weekend’s celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.

Julian and Minnie Flores were the center of attention Sunday in Salinas, California, as they basked in the summer sunshine and the good wishes of friends, family and neighbors. All gathered at the home of Veronica, their second oldest of four daughters, to celebrate five decades of love and parenthood.

Flying down from Oregon Saturday morning meant a quick packing trip, coming just two days after Lori and I had returned home from a weeklong vacation highlighted by our daughter’s wedding off the Washington coast.

flores2Too often, families gather for funerals and weddings and hardly anything else. But I wouldn’t have missed this happy occasion for anything.

Mom had five sisters and three brothers. When she died in October, it left two sisters and one brother, her youngest – my Uncle Julian, who despite his jumbo frame is known to all as Uncle Junior. His dad, too, was named Julian.

I’ve also considered my tio, a retired accountant, to be a rock – someone with great character and integrity who you count on in good times or bad. My tia, Minnie, is one of those kind, gentle souls who makes the world a better place. She is a retired teacher, an expert scrapbooker and a community volunteer active on behalf of various organizations.

They married on Sept. 12, 1964. Together they have raised four daughters, who in turn have given them three granddaughters.

I will always treasure the presence of my aunt and uncle and their second-eldest daughter, Veronica, for being there with my two sisters and me – heads bowed, hands clasped – when our mother passed from this earth.

They were there because, well, that’s the kind of people they are: generous and compassionate.

 

My sister Cathy and my Aunt Lupe, 92 years young.

My sister Cathy and my Aunt Lupe, 92 years young.

This weekend’s party gave me an opportunity to reunite with cousins I see seldom get to see, my godmother Lupe (mom’s oldest sister) and both of my siblings – Rosemary, who drove up from the San Diego area with her husband, and Cathy, who flew down from rural Alaska.

All in all, a good time.

A gaggle of Flores cousins and spouses.

A gaggle of Flores cousins and spouses.

 

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