OUT OF THE FIELDS
My Journey From Farmworker Boy To Pediatrician
Book Excerpt from the Inspiring Story of Ramon Resa, MD:
Excerpt #2 of 17
RAMON RESA’S BEST FRIEND’S HOUSE HAS HOT WATER AND A FULL REFRIGERATOR-HE LIVES WITHOUT EITHER AT HIS GRANDPARENTS
Other than the TV shows I watch, I have no understanding of how a family is supposed to behave. I don’t see my family as a conventional unit because we’re so varied in age. Some of my aunts are more than 20 years older than I am, but I’m only 9 months older than Joe, who’s like a brother. But he’s my grandmother Ama’s youngest son and my mother’s youngest brother, so he’s actually my uncle. I suppose Apa and Ama were pretty much obligated to take us in because it must have been obvious to them early on that our mother wasn’t going to take responsibility for us.
My friend Eddy Jimenez, who I guess is my best friend, or least he allows me to be his best friend, isn’t in the same predicament that we are. His mom and dad have only four children, and his dad has a full-time job working for the same farmer Apa used to work for until Apa got too old. Eddy’s mom works at the school cafeteria, so she also works full-time except during summer vacations.
Whenever I go over to their house, I’m amazed at all the food and snacks they have. Eddy can go to the refrigerator or the cupboard and get whatever he wants. He’s always offering me sodas, chips, or cookies, and I can have as much as I want. His mother never scolds him for wasting food. At my house, I feel I have to ask for permission to eat anything because almost all of our food is for work or for school lunches. I rarely invite Eddy to visit me because I can’t reciprocate.
“Come on,” Eddy tells me. “What would you like?”
“I’m not hungry,” I say, even though I am.
Mrs. Jimenez says, “Nonsense! You go ahead and eat! There’s plenty.”
So I do. And if they let me, I stay there all day.
Eddy’s family looks like the ones I see on TV – a mom and a dad who live in a relatively nice house and have four good-looking children with clean, new clothes. They have hot water and an indoor bathroom. And Mrs. Jimenez always seems to be in the kitchen cooking or baking cookies. What more could you ask for?