CARLA ARAGÓN'S BLOG

Uplifting the Spirit using my voice & talent.

TAKE 5 with CARLA ARAGÓN featuring GEORGE ANTHONY GONZALES

As a journalist, I have scored hundreds of interviews, but the one I would have loved to tape for posterity “got away.” My precious cousin, George Anthony Gonzales, passed away on October 23, 2009 at the age of 51. He had battled cancer for ten years, but most people didn’t know it. Anthony preferred not to discuss his health problems. He would much rather talk about his family, tell a joke, or find out what was happening in your life. It was good medicine to focus on the positive. Besides… Anthony knew with every fiber in his body that it was all in God’s hands.

I had the honor of witnessing that faith and strength throughout his entire life. My Aunt Celine had all boys. My mother had all girls. Officially, we are cousins; but Anthony and the boys are my brothers. We learned how to swim together, ride bikes in Casa Solana, speak proper Spanish (sometimes slang), and recite our prayers. We played in Grandpa John’s chicken coop on Canyon Road, built a fort in the foothills, ate tortilla and bologna sandwiches–and vienna sausage, too. We watched Cantinflas and Elvis Presley movies, rode in Fiesta Parades, danced, sang, and put on skits (with the front porch as our stage). Ok, I know it’s gross– but we lovingly greeted each other by saying, “¡Órale, moco!”(we still do as adults). We did everything together.

My Aunt Celine and Uncle George gave me my first break in radio, but it was Ants who taught me the ropes. We would drive together to Española at 5:00 a.m. so we could sign on for the first shift. Anthony handled the Spanish music on the AM, I did Big Band music on the FM. I was so nervous about ad libbing and tripping over my tongue, but Anthony always put me at ease.

At Anthony’s 50th Birthday party, we roasted my hermanito. There were plenty of funny stories to tell. But I also wanted everyone to know how much respect I had for him. Anthony was a creative genius. Incredible ideas would shoot out of his brain like popcorn in a popper. He was a gifted writer who could capture thoughts and feeling with such simplicity. He had a masterful wit, making people laugh with his jokes or creating imaginary characters like “Juanita Maria” and “El Chicharrón.” His singing voice was pure– powered by passion and sensitivity. Anthony could have a been a star… a Vicente Fernandez, a Jay Leno, a Casey Kasem, or a Dick Clark. At the very least, he could have been a Carla Aragón–he had more talent than me– but Anthony chose to do something more honorable. He insisted on staying home to take care of my Grandpa John and Prima Placida Martin. There was nothing more important. And that was even more evident with his own family–his wife, Gigi, and kids, Bubba, Joshua, and Gianna. Our Dear Lord came first, but they were his top earthly priority. I truly admired him for that.

Earlier this year, Anthony and I had the opportunity to talk about the different paths we’ve taken in life. I had just been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by New Mexico State University. At first, I felt a little embarrassed by the honor and the other successes I’ve had in my life. In his wise and tender way, Anthony told me how proud he was of me–that I was courageous and deserved everything that came my way. It was one of the most cherished compliments I’ve ever received. Ants was the wind beneath my wings.

Anthony’s health did not allow him to attend the May Commencement Ceremony in Las Cruces, plus his daughter Gianna was performing in Santa Fe on the same day. But afterwards, he sent me an email that I saved. I’d like to share it with you. I’d also like to share the quotes my sister, Michelle, saved after she had her own heartfelt conversation with Ants. He was filled with wisdom and we savored every single word.

I miss my brother terribly. And while I wish I could have sat down and interviewed Anthony for hours, I know I will continue to have conversations with him in my heart. He left his mark. I will be forever blessed.

Email from Anthony to Carla, May 12, 2009

Gianna did awesome.

like you she has no fear when it comes to crowds

you are really talented

I know that all you need every now and then

is a reminder of how good and deserving you are

don’t be afraid

enjoy life

treatments are good

love you

ants

Quotes from conversation between Anthony and Michelle Marmion, March 17, 2009

“All the worrying in the world won’t change a thing, all the prayers in the world can make miracles happen.” Anthony

When everything is quiet…I’m left with my thoughts, visualize the outcome and pray”  Anthony

Don’t let the devil steal anything from you!  Don’t give him his due.” Anthony

As long as my kids are ok, I will bare my cross and welcome it.” Anthony


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December 1, 2009 - Posted by | Anthony Gonzales, Santa Fe Hometown News |

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