By Lynn Moncus
Frequently we discuss colorful characters of the past and tend to think we have few such characters remaining in our county today.
Well, we just need to look around, and we are apt to see a number who are just as much fun and just as colorful as those of long ago.
For instance, we have but to meet Casey Jimenez and Jimmy Rivera anywhere in town and we know we are going to be entertained by some of their stories and by their laughter — that contagious laughter that causes us to join in.
Just this morning, I wandered into KIX on 66 and was feeling just a little low when I looked down the aisle to see those two gentlemen sitting side-by-side and looking as if they were settling the problems of the world.
Those two friends are the kinds of friends we need to meet each day in order to appreciate each day more and more.
Each of them has had major health problems, but neither has let those problems ruin their senses of humor nor weaken their greetings. Casey and I have known each other since 1939 and were classmates at THS. Jimmy is a youngster who was one of my students at THS about 50 years ago.
That youngster always removes his hat as he stands up to deliver a very warm hug to his old teacher, and then he begins telling stories about himself and his friend.
He has an endless collection of jokes and can keep all of us entertained endlessly. He can still be seen at times atop some of the highest roofs in town as he inspects the shingling job in progress. He always scares me by standing up to wave as I drive by because I fear he is apt to hit the ground almost any time, but he knows what he is doing and continues to maintain his balance.
Casey, who reminds me so much of Blas Jimenez, his father, often looks very serious as he begins a story that will have all of us laughing in a few seconds.
He, as was his father, is sort of a village philosopher and can come up with classic sayings that say much about life. His quiet voice and rather shy grin let us know that some sort of mischief is just about to happen and that he is going to be in charge of whatever situation might arise.
Actually, the two are extremely soft spoken and cause the listener to pay close attention to what they are saying in order to avoid missing a word. If either is being serious,we must look at his eyes just to be sure. If those eyes have just the right expression, we know the comments are going to be serious and that we need to be aware that we are about to hear some sort of news. On the other hand, those laughing eyes let us know at once’that mischief is afoot.
We are very fortunate to have such friends in our area because they make each day just a little brighter for their having taken the time to visit with us. We may have lost a lot of those characters from the past, but we still have a good supply of wonderful characters of the present.