Sponsor of the Week- Irma Leal “Leal’s”
Home is where you hang your memories. No doubt, the Leal’s home is full of precious memories of their six children growing up and of two loving parents, Jesse and Irma, who were great examples of courage, determination, and humility. Jesse passed away in 2009 but Irma still lives today in her home on Avenue D in Muleshoe, TX.
In her blog “The Bright Lights of Muleshoe”, Alice Liles shared with me a picture of this plaque and writes, “In 2015, Foodways Texas honored Irma Leal with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution in preserving and celebrating the culture of Mexican food in Texas.”
Alice also wrote, “When you enter Leal’s Mexican Food Restaurant in Muleshoe, you are greeted by a picture of her preparing Mexican food in the early days. Jesse may have been the businessman and face of the restaurant, but Irma was the one crafting the dishes that brought hungry people in to eat in the first place”
A good family life is never an accident but is always an achievement by those who share it. Irma knew the importance of honesty, loyalty, faith, character, and integrity and shared it daily with her children. She was a devoted wife and is a loving mother. She is beautifully elegant lady with style and grace. She is classy, smart, and she always appears composed. What I remember most about Irma is that she always has a smile on her face. She never felt that she and Jesse paid the price for success. Instead, they enjoyed the price of success!
Again, from Alice’s blog that I mentioned earlier, she shared this with me, “I asked the six kids how they would describe their mom. Compassion with a dry wit and fun sense of humor came up her more than once. Brave, strong, and risk-taker were mentioned. All the family mentioned in some way, her understanding, tolerant gentle heart that has time for the outcast. She always tries to do and say the right thing, and spreads hospitality, grace, and love wherever she goes.”
Alice added, “The 87 year old woman who encouraged and faithfully supported the man who was the face of Leal’s legacy never cared to be in the limelight, but, as Victor noted, she relished the role she played helping and watching him accomplish great things. Her Foodways Texas Lifetime Achievement Award is testament to just one of her many achievements.”
Sandra Graves shared stories with me in my office of the love and friendship shared by Irma and her mother, Willie Mae Graves. They would talk daily on the phone- sometimes for hours. They had a running joke that whichever one of them died first, they had to take their cell phone to the grave with them so they could still share those great conversations.
When I asked, “what were some of the things that Irma loved when she was younger?” Sandra said, “Irma loved dessert- German chocolate being her favorite. She loved to play Chinese checkers. No one in the room ever wanted to go up against Grandma Irma. She loved to eat fried fish and she loved to have fun at the casinos. But most important, she loved her children. You only have to look into her face to see the pride and love she has for each of them. Irma Leal has nothing to prove but everything to pass on.”
You know, Irma Leal’s don’t come by the dozen. There is only one Irma and she lives right here in Muleshoe. We are celebrating her as our Sponsor of the Week at the Bailey County Senior Citizens Center. We thank you Irma, for everything you have dozen for us and our entire community. You are a lovely patchwork of womanhood.