There's a special man in my life who I used to think was the tallest man in the world. He is kind, loving, funny, strong and giving to a fault. He plays guitar and sings like a dream to me. And even today if you mess with his kids, you'll have him to deal with. His name is Tex William Jewell.
He fought in WWII in Germany and France. He landed on Omaha Beach and was one of only three men from his entire battalion that survived that landing. He tells stories of not even being able to shoot because of having to use his rifle to move bodies out of his way in the surf. The other two surviving members of his battalion died 2 days later in another battle. Because of this, he was assumed dead and got lost in the paperwork. No other battalion would take him without the proper documents. He couldn't even get shipped home.
He Joined the French Underground and fought with them for 2 years. He had three different write-ups in the military paper, Stars and Stripes. When they finally got all of his paperwork in order, he was shipped home and received numerous medals, including a Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters. When he arrived home, he was given a choice of joining a new battalion and shipping out the next day or being honorably discharged from the Army and sent home. He inquired about the destination of the battalion and was told they were selling for Iwo Jima. His response? "You get me out of this man's Army. I'm done."
He was married in December of 1946 and had his first child in September of 1947. A Daughter. He and his wife had 3 more children, all boys. He was a truck driver and a country/western singer for most of his working days. His dream was Nashville and one of his biggest thrills was getting to play guitar on a record with Ernest Tubb. When my mother was pregnant with me, the doctors pinpointed my birthdate as April 11th, his birthday. I was born exactly one week later. I haven't been on time to anything since.
When I was born, there was a fight over what my name would be. My mother wanted Angela Marie (she won), my father wanted Lisa Marie (like Elvis much, daddy?), My grandmother wanted April Marie. He wanted Angela Maria Juanita Consuela Garcia. I don't have a drop of Hispanic or Latino blood in me. To this day he still calls me Angela Maria Garcia. I still giggle like a 5-year-old when I hear it. Every man I ever dated or was ever interested in was measured against this man. He was married to his wife for 57 years before she passed away last year in February. It's the only time I've ever seen him cry. We don't even know how old he is because he lied about his age to join the military and go to war. If you ask him how old he is, his answer is always "Old enough not to have to tell you."
So in honor of this man's life and all he has done so far, join me in raising a glass (or a coffee mug) for his birthday.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa!!!
All my love,
Angela Maria Garcia