The authors of COLLECTED TALES FROM THE RIO GRANDE are current or former residents of the Rio Grande Valley who know the joys and tribulations of living along a contentious border with Mexico. From this wealth of talent and experience, the Valley Byliners Editorial Committee selected and edited the stories and poems that make up this book. The following is a selection from one of the authors.
A Tejano Country Christmas
Hewing wood, fetching tamales mid December, getting drunk by the garage fire with the in-laws as the Norther rages at all that was and is warm And the women cook, and talk and watch TV inside. Men by common agreement and innate concordance converge apart from the split tails free of female censor and disapprobation. And now it’s time for perhaps the Season highlight! Just as the Jews in the time of Jesus would ritually slit the throat of a lamb, so too the Tejanos had a tradition of La Matanza del Marrano. First it involved the selection and run down of the prize porker by mostly the younger primos. Then the selection of the largest caliber handgun. Then the obvious choice of the Matador de Puercos. i.e.the guy that was most drunk. The varoncitos were called to watch the ritual sacrifice. The women with brains would try to herd the young ones off in another direction with some promise or distraction. It was none too safe. The pig would be shot at point blank range between the ears, but more often than not the great matador would miss. Bam!! There goes an ear. Pow!! Part of a snout. KaboomThat pig will never walk straight again. !! Bang!! Adios primo! Say hello to the virgin and the saints…A wise woman would get her kids out of Dodge prontisimo. No one actually within memory ever died other than the pig.
Family histories would ooze out as viejos left the warmth of the fire flames for the solace of their blankets and the dreams of what might have been. Fronts and face and facades and family dignity drain into the black cold of the night. All that remains is the tale itself. That in its expression, something may be understood, that a thing lacking even one fundament of reason, could make sense in some way. That some one may care, if for no more than for the time it takes to hear. At the least there is a release in the expression. Few ask for more
Many fled Mexico fleeing for their lives. There was no right side to be on. All sides were in the killing business and dios sabe who was going to come out on top. Crossing the Rio Bravo when the moon gave the least of her light. The patron, the patriarch, ruthless more than cruel. Cruel as well when cruelty must be called upon.
The great Ranchos of Texas, their Mexican cowboys. The braceros the mojados, the opportunities, the theft.
The Bachelors, the old maids, those crippled before their prime. Los ninos, like little gods and goddesses, the adoration of the innocent. The twisting of little minds.
The church and the padres.The sisters withered breast and bone. Set loose upon the youths…Deprivation does not kill desire, it engenders a mutant strain. The peoples veneration, adoration, on the other hand, how they were despised..
Lusts and desires and romance and jealousy, tenderness and revenge, devocion y traicion and all the while Santa Claus was on his way. And tomorrow was another day. There would be tamales soon. And fishing in the desague, if the front blew through and out…Making no distinctions, reserving all reservations. Life here was not to be questioned but to be lived.
Both can be done, but not at once.
Happy Tejano Country Christmas to all
Bony Nachos a toros
Have an even better day Tamale
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Born in Houston, Texas and moved to Raymondvile, Texas in 1969. Family bought a radio station and helped with the family business until it was sold in 1997. Since then started an agency and mostly writes about experiences in Deep South Texas. Writers of the Rio Grande founder, editor and contributing author.