Friday, August 21, 2020

Pinocchio: The day my heart broke again

Pinocchio (Pinocho in Spanish) was a duckling who fell as deeply in love with me as I did with him.

Wherever I went,  Pinocho was sure to follow. 

He was a constant companion —until the day he wasn't.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Adiós, muchachos

Adiós, muchachos, compañeros de mi vida,
barra querida de aquellos tiempos.
Me toca a mí hoy emprender la retirada,
debo alejarme de mi buena muchachada.
Adiós, muchachos. Ya me voy y me resigno...
Contra el destino nadie la talla...
Se terminaron para mí todas las farras,
mi cuerpo enfermo no resiste más...
Acuden a mi mente recuerdos de otros tiempos,
de los bellos momentos que antaño disfruté
cerquita de mi madre, santa viejita,
y de mi noviecita que tanto idolatré...
¿Se acuerdan que era hermosa, más bella que una diosa
y que ebrio yo de amor, le di mi corazón,
mas el Señor, celoso de sus encantos,
hundiéndome en el llanto me la llevó?
Es Dios el juez supremo. No hay quien se le resista.
Ya estoy acostumbrado su ley a respetar,
pues mi vida deshizo con sus mandatos
al robarme a mi madre y a mi novia también.
Dos lágrimas sinceras derramo en mi partida
por la barra querida que nunca me olvidó
y al darles, mis amigos, mi adiós postrero,
les doy con toda mi alma mi bendición...

Adiós, muchachos (song)


Saturday, March 14, 2020


My life started in Mexico, where I was conceived, so I'm truly Mexican-American: made in Mexico, and born in the USA!

I also happen to be half Italian-Mexican and half German-American, with the paternal sides of both families coming from further north in the country of origin than the maternal sides.

I was born in San Antonio, Texas, a city I've never lived in—  we left there as soon after my birth as we could travel, although we did spend more time in Texas than originally anticipated. The doctor ended up having to induce my birth when I kept postponing my appearance...

Friday, March 13, 2020

Up the mango tree

I spent my first twelve or so years living in Agricultural Experimental Stations in the subtropical boonies of Colombia and Peru.

These stations were in Villa Arteaga, Colombia (until age 8) and Tingo María, Perú (ages 8 to 12).

This blog is named in remembrance of my very first "bestie" —mi amigo del alma—, a mango tree that lived in the backyard. I spent countless hours sitting in its branches, sharing all that was important to me.

Whenever my mother couldn't find me playing in the house or running around the yard, she'd go to the mango tree and call me. I was usually there, sitting amongst the branches or hugging the trunk.

That tree was my best friend, especially after Bambi got killed.

Bambi: The day my heart broke

One day, much like any other one, a couple of the Experimental Station workers came by my dad's office at the house.

This wasn't so unusual, since my dad was the Station's rubber expert (as in hevea —also called India rubber or Amazonian rubber) and he needed to be kept in the loop of happenings in the field. What was unusual was that they seemed nervous and uncomfortable.

I wondered if it was another complaint about us kids "liberating" the latex that dried along the tapping grooves of the rubber trees, and which they were supposed to collect, measure and track. I happened to be one of the main "liberation" agents...

After the men left, my dad wanted to talk to me. He didn't seem angry, so I breathed a little easier.

But my relief turned out to be premature. 

The men had brought news —bad news—, and it had to do with Bambi, the fawn I had raised since he'd been found as an orphaned baby. 

I had bottle-fed him, and we had become inseparable —at least until recently, when he'd started to grow antlers and he'd begun getting out of the yard and disappearing for hours at a time.

We had put a bright red collar on him, so people who saw him would know he wasn't wild.

But the collar had failed to protect him, and hunters had claimed him. 

The men had come to deliver the news, condolences for Bambi's death, apologies for not knowing it was my deer until it was too late —and an invitation to dinner...

I was devastated.

More than that, I was horrified that my parents were going to attend the dinner and eat him!

My father, and then my mother, tried to explain that they had to accept the invitation in order to show that they forgave the hunters for accidentally killing Bambi.

Of course, they would also convey my regrets for not attending, as I was too grief-stricken to go.

* * *

For the next couple of days, I would only speak to the mango tree.

I would nestle in its branches and hug its trunk while I cried for Bambi and spoke endlessly about my grief, remembering all the good times we'd had, and which would never again be.

* * *

As I got older —much older— I finally left my grief for Bambi behind and understood why my parents had done what they did. 

But it was an intellectual understanding, not an emotional one.

Emotionally, I never did forgive my mother and father for eating Bambi.