By Dale Buchanan
Stepping from the pews this week is our friend Kirk. On many Sunday afternoons during fellowship hour, Kirk stops by our table and visits. He is always smiley and friendly. We have good conversations and it’s time to go before you know it.
A few weeks ago, Gayle and I had tickets to the Fresno Opera’s production of “Carmen.” Imagine my surprise when I recognized Kirk as a member of the cast. He sang, he danced, and he provided moments of humor and in general served as a link from scene to scene. I had no idea his talent involved him in the opera.
I had been soliciting Kirk to interview for a “Getting to Know You” piece for some time with no luck. He was gracious but busy. I determined to turn Gayle loose on him and in no time at all he agreed to meet with us and here is his story:
Hello, fellow pew members, my name is Kirk and I am honored to have this opportunity to step from the pews and share my story with you. Born in Fresno, my surname is Cruz. I am three quarter Hispanic and one quarter East Indian. The Hispanic part refers to folks who are descendants of people native to Spain, Mexico, or Latin America and speak Spanish. This part of my ethnicity is fairly straight forward. The East Indian slice of my DNA is much more complicated. The term East Indian is used as a name for the people who live in India and South Asia. What I am sure of is that my grandfather was born in India!
Dale asked me to share my earliest memory. Well, I have a good memory and after careful consideration I concluded that the first thing I remember is my rage when the doctor spanked me 😊
Our family home in Fresno was near Hughes and Dakota and I attended Wilson Elementary School. I remember my childhood as a very happy time. No one friend stands out. Instead I cherish precious recollections of my personal Spanky and Our Gang. We roared up and down the streets of our neighborhood on bicycles. We were fearless and in charge. We were innocent and life was good.
As I think back on those glorious times, I guess my mom is my most powerful memory. I cannot think of her without seeing her in the kitchen. She was always cooking and those delightful aromas animating from mother’s kitchen will live in my mind forever with special memories of Thanksgiving feasts prepared by this loving woman.
We moved to rural Clovis in time for me to enroll at Clark for junior high which was exciting, but we had four horses at home and that was a great experience. Dad loved riding and taught me to enjoy riding even though it was not my passion like it was his. The horses, however, provided a bond and link that will always resonate between father and son.
I met Jason at Wesley Methodist Church and he is my best friend. He has a marvelous sense of humor and has introduced me to the power of laughter which in turn gives birth to a sense of family security in our home. He sees things from a different perspective than I do and approaches problems and difficulties with a creative spin. He brings to the table a sense of peace and harmony that seems to make all the differences and problems solvable.
I have faith that my dreams are going to come true. I trust in the evidence of things not seen. I have no doubt that:
- I will spend much of my life working with children.
- I will be an established artist.
- I will be a vocal recording artist.
- And I believe that I will one day have more friends than ever.
All of these goals and dreams are within reach because I have an anchor in a family owned business, Mi Rancho, which was established in 1948 when two Korean War veterans bought a flour machine and began to bake tortillas. My brother runs the business and I am semi-retired. I do the tasks assigned to me dealing with finances and seeking solutions to bottlenecks that occur. This arrangement allows me time to pursue my dreams.
Today finds me a performance arts instructor at ten or twelve Madera elementary schools. I also work as an art instructor for kids at the Clovis Senior Activities Center. At Vernissage Modern Art Gallery across from the Big Red Church, I am a workshop instructor and work with children.
In my spare time I exhibit my art created with sharpie pens on poster board in frames. I speak to art councils and guilds about color theory which is not about art but the science of light.
Today I am still a big kid. I continue to learn and have fun.
Things I love: I love God, myself, Jason, and people in general. I love my chosen field of work, church, my pets, my company Mi Rancho, friends, and I love freedom.
Love is the one thing that will always be. And it is the solution to all of mankind.