It was a cool fall afternoon in Floresville when I went to the Ortiz home on Plum St., not far from our house. I had met the sweet couple about a month ago. My friend Liz Lopez took me by to meet them one day. I started out wanting to write a story about El Mesias Methodist Church and it’s origin and had contacted Liz who was the historian of that church. As many know, my grandfather founded the church about 1908 as little mission church. It then joined the Methodist Episcopal Church South around 1914.
I am still working on that story, but I got sidetracked when I met Lillie and Liborio Ortiz that day. They are such a special, sweet interesting couple I had to write a story about them.
One part of the story has already been published in the Wilson County News. The second part is going to be in the paper next week. I wanted to let them look over the story before I sent it in.
Liborio was sitting in a chair on the porch and he invited me in. Lillie and Liz Lopez were sitting at the kitchen table playing cards. The game was like a double solitaire type of game. They finished playing the game. Lillie won, laughing delightedly.
Then we sat for about an hour talking. I read the story to them. They loved it, and I made a few corrections. But in that hour I found out things about those two women, I didn’t know before. Both Lillie and Liz have a mentally challenged sons. I met Lillie's son when he walked through the kitchen with his laundry. He does his own laundry. He is quiet and doesn’t talk much. He is in his 40’s and has a job with the city of Floresville. He loves his job and the city says he does a good job. He drives a car, but prefers to walk everywhere. He walks miles a day. He is such a sweet man.
Liz’s son is autistic. He is about 18, I think. He loves video games and spends his days playing video games. As Liz told me about what his life has been like for 18 years, the challenges she has had with him, and what his gifts and talents are,(they never knew he could read so well, he read the bible in the church and he read it so fluently the whole church was amazed).
As she told me about the time when he was in Head Start, and she found out that he had not been eating his lunch because he didn’t like it and would only eat chicken nuggets for every meal, and was getting skinnier and skinnier, she wept as she remembered that time. But they had not told her that he was not eating. She took him to get chicken nuggets every day at McDonalds. When she found out.
Both Liz and Lillie are such strong Christians and they love the Lord and don’t say, “Why us Lord?”
They laugh and love God and love their family and their church.
As I sat there talking to these women in the warmth of that kitchen I felt so much love and kinship with them.
We walked out to our cars in the twilight and we saw the evening star bright in the sky, and one of them said, “What is that bright light?”
I said, “It is the evening star”.
And they remarked how bright it was and maybe it was a sign that Jesus was coming again and soon.
I said to them, “I feel so at home on these streets on Old Lodi Town, like I am coming home, and I feel a warmth that I don’t feel on the other streets of Floresville.”
Liz said, “Maybe it is because you feel your grandfather and grandmother’s presence here, because they used to live on 2nd St for all those years. (almost 100 years ago).Their spirit still lingers on.”
I think she is right! That Evening Star was a sign for me, that I am in the right place at this time my life.