Her Heart Beats – Literally – for Garlic
By Chris Riley Chief Photographer
Gilroy – Can you hear it? Thump thump, thump thump.
It’s the sound of Pat Jones’s heart, and it continues to beat today because not long ago, garlic saved her life.
For the past six years, Simi Valley residents Pat Jones and Bernie Haag have packed up their Recreational Vehicle and started on their annual nationwide vacation. The first stop, the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
“It makes sense to come here first,” Jones said.
Six years ago Jones suffered from high blood pressure and took medication to help control it. But, Jones said, the medication never worked very well. Then she met her good friend Bernie Haag, who also had also suffered from high blood pressure in the past, but had found a way around the medication.
“I would take a garlic pill two or three times a day with a glass of orange juice and it seemed to help,” said Haag. “So I suggested to Pat that she do the same.”
Jones started taking the garlic pill a couple of times a day with a glass of orange juice and eventually was able to stop taking her blood pressure medication.
“The next time I went to the doctor,” Jones said. “I told him that I was off the medication he had prescribed. After a few tests, my doctor looked at me and told me to keep on doing what I was doing, because whatever it was, it was working.”
The couple currently cooks with garlic on a regular basis and they love to enjoy all the garlicky goodness the festival food has to offer.
“At first, Bernie didn’t know the difference between a clove and a bulb,” Jones said referring to Haag’s cooking. “A recipe called for two cloves and he put in two full bulbs.”
Haag gave a small guilty grin.
“It was a fantastic mistake and we kept the recipe that way,” he said.
Later that year, when it was time to plan a vacation, the pair looked in their RV guide and found the Gilroy Garlic Festival. It seemed only fitting to them to start their vacation with a festival for garlic, the thing that had made such a difference in both of their lives.
“We come to the festival as a celebration, because garlic saved my life,” she said as she gripped Haag’s hand tightly.
Chris Riley is the Chief Photographer for the Dispatch. Reach him at 847-7228, or at [email protected]