Maintaining both stops hasn't been easy. The very first month, someone stole the "in memory of Ernest" sign from the Coors Field stop--and as for 20th and Larimer, the trash that collects there is enough to try the patience of a full-time janitor, let alone a middle-aged woman with blood clots in her legs.

"We're in this in-between area; it's full of transients, winos, beer bottles and what have you. On the weekends, these kids come to LoDo just to get drunk," she says. "I can barely lift the trash bags sometimes. A few months ago I was inches from a nervous breakdown. I'm hauling this bag thinking, 'Ernie, you're gone, and I'm still working so hard for you.'

"Yes," she admits, "he was a good person, but I always worried about him so much. If you have young children, you don't know, but you may find out what I went through with Ernie."

The third of her four children, Ernie was the quiet one and possibly the smartest one, Garcia says. At eleven he entered the St. Andrews seminary program, hoping to become a priest. "Naturally, that didn't work out," she recalls. "The priests gambled a lot, and they got him interested, although I can't put it all on them, I guess. Then he got involved with bad kids and got in trouble. He was even in Canon City--my son in Canon, yes!

"And he hid everything from me, because I was a strict parent. I worried he was on drugs, and I would confront him, and he always said, 'Oh, Mom, why do you listen to people?'"

Two years ago Ernie was living in Grand Junction, operating heavy equipment and raising kids with his second wife. "He died suddenly, of an aneurysm to the brain," Garcia says. "People said he was on drugs then, too, but it didn't say that on the death certificate. It said 'aneurysm to the brain.'"

She thinks about her lost boy as she hauls bottles from the "Ernest Talmich" stop at 20th and Larimer. The trash there is getting to be such a burden that she's thinking of giving up the spot.

Not so the stop across from Coors Field. "It's a beautiful, beautiful spot that I will always keep," she says. "The trash isn't as bad there, and the stadium is a lovely sight."

Even if the people who catch the bus at that stop don't notice the reference to Ernie, she says, they can always think about baseball. And that would have pleased Ernie, who thought about it constantly.

"So that's what I do," Flora Garcia concludes. "I don't know how else to keep his memory.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Loading...