Friday, April 25, 2008

The village part II

Papaya tree in gramps backyard. Grown with "illegal" water- according to the village honchos, rationed water should not be used for watering plants. My grandfather, you see, is something of a rebel, always has been, always will be. He unionized fellow workers in the limestone factory before he knew what a union was, he "saved" my "captive" grandmother from her own family with a machete in one hand and my grandma over his shoulder (remind me sometime to tell you this story), after using up his bracero status he purchased a new name and went right back to work. Behold, the fruits of his labor.

The house were my mother was raised. It now belongs to my cousin Martin and the front room has been converted into a convenience store. There have been sightings lately of a young girl dressed up in a old school hacienda outfit. The day this picture was taken, the story was relayed to my grandfather. He said it was my grandmother watching over the house. He said the description fits the same image of her when they were kids. He said he as a 5 years old when he first saw my grandmother Marcelina. That day, he told us, she entered him through the eyes and settled in his heart. That image of her stayed with him until they were married in adulthood.

My grandfather, Apolonio, holding court. He may have been retelling the story of when President Truman called the Mexican president and requested "arms" for the cause of WWII. The Mexican president sent the fabled Fighting Squadron 201. President Truman said he needed more than that, his crops were going to be lost. My gramps answered the call, along with thousands of other Mexican peasants. After saving America's agricultural ass, they were thrown out without even a pat on the back.

My cousin Cruz' other boy exercising the horses. They have been receiving some training to perform in Charro events, but mostly they get rented out to those in need of work animals.

Passing the evening on the front stoop. It's good manners to say "good evening" to everyone who comes by, whether you know them or not. At this time the evening sun is burning up the back part of the house while the front part of the house cooled by the breeze racing dust clouds up and down the street.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


My cousin Cruz' kid bringing home the goats. Everyday after school, Juan goes up the hill to meet his father who is taking care of the goats. Cruz is disabled, having broken his femur in a farming accident and is limited in the kind of work he can do, so he raises goats, horses, and a donkey and sells and/or rents the animals out. Juan is about 8 years old and loves bringing home the animals. After this chore was finished on this day, he found a shady spot outside of his house and settled down to read a book of prayers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Village

My grandfather, Apolonio Robledo, says that when he was a kid there were only 13 houses in the village of Taretan, which everyone calls Tareta. No one knows when the village was founded or where the name comes from. Tareta was born of the hills and river that surround it, just came to life one day.

My grandfather was born on April 10, 1920. That makes him 88 years old. His mind is sharp and his arms are strong. A few years ago he suffered a fall from a ladder and landed on his knees. Any other man of his age would have been put in a wheel chair for life, my grandfather simply walks slower. He takes a cane along with him when he travels to town (Irapuato), but he tells me it's more for show, and he winks at me as he makes a chopping motion.

Tareta has plotted his death, put a curse on him, attempted to steal his lands, and broken his heart. My grandfather, however, is made of tougher stuff and he refuses to give up on this village, he knows it can be a better place

Here are a few shot's of life in the village.

This is Tareta. Most of the village is hidden as it drops down and away. Past the village are foreign owned businesses ( los americanos!!) that refuse to hire the local men and women citing a lack of preparedness. The underground water supply though seems to be good enough to take.

This is the home my grandfather currenlty lives in. Little by little he adds to it, an extra room here, a shower there, etc. It has three showers and two bathrooms, but no water! The nicer brick and tile work was completed by a "maestro", but the rest of the work is my grandfather's. This is the second or third house he has built in the village. He was the first to have a working toilet and shower by the way.

Here is one of the altars in my grandfather's house. No altar is complete without the image of the Virgen, the Pope, or JFK. If you have all three it's a hat trick.

Here's Gloria doing the dishes old school. She is washing up in something called a "pila". It's an old fashioned wash basin that is made of cement and can be mounted anywhere. Since we were living out of water barrels, it was easier to do the dishes and other "water work" outside. The pila faces the backyard which is filled with fruit trees and a chicken with seven chicks, and in the distance you can see wheat fields and the mountains.

Here we are on our way to catch the bus into town. That's my grandfather with his cane/weapon, Herculana, his wife, and some thug that snuck in when no one was looking. Herculana is not my grandmother. She married my grandfather sometime after my grandmother, Marcelina, died after complications during childbirth. My mother was only 3 when Marcelina died, but she has regular visits with her via dreams.

More village pix soon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mexico Lindo y Querido!

The gloworm and I just got back from spending a whole week in Mexico. We were visiting my grandfather in Tareta. Tareta is a tiny village just north of Irapuato, Guanajuato. Guanajuato is a state just north of Mexico City. We spent the first four days day tripping to other cities. I'll post something every other day or so from our travels in the state of Guanajuato.

Here are a few pictures to get us going. As you'll notice, there was a ton of natural light. It was sunny, without a cloud in the sky, in the mid 90's. My bald head was sunburned the first day there. Heat was dry and it hadn't rained in weeks, or while we were there. There was a fine layer of dust on everything, however Mexico's beautiful colors were able to shine through.

A street in Guanajuato (the city).

A passageway through a museum in Irapuato.

Flowers in an alley in San Miguel de Allende.

A door pic for Talia!

Friday, April 04, 2008

We're off to see the Wizard...

...see ya in a week!