Tuesday, September 20, 2005

a memory

when I was a kid, we took a summer vacation to New Mexico. I don't know why. maybe because we're Mexicans. I thought we were going to actual Mexico, but to the newer part. I believe I was still in elementary school at the time so I forgive my own ignorance :)

I loved NM, in spite of the heat. the mountains (mesas) were incredible, so different that the ones we could see back home. it was beautiful! we went to Taos and walked around the ruins. we visited the church and I bought a little heart-shaped mother of pearl necklace.

one of the Native American women started a conversation with my grandfather, asking his name and whether he had an family nearby. he did have a sort of Native American look to him, and possibly some Native American ancestry, so her questions didn't seem at all out of the ordinary.

after we left Taos, though, my grandmother teased him mercilessly about his new girlfriend. not in the funny way you tease your husband when the waitress is really friendly, I don't think she knew how to gently tease. hers was always mean-spirited and constant and made the person she was "teasing" want to kill her. she would fill everyone in on the punchline. and if you didn't laugh, she would make a target out of you, either with malicious comments or her hand across your face, so she always got the rest of us to join in. and this one was a joke she kept telling for years.

on the way back home, we stopped to visit an aunt who lived in Farmington. she had four daughters (which is a terrible story for another day) and a son but as I think back, I don't remember any of her kids being there. hmmmmm, there's one more family secret I'll never hear about.

she had a pool in her apartment complex and she took me and my youngest brother down for a swim. I can't swim and have a great unreasonable fear of water, but I went down with her anyway. she was always very nice to me, which I couldn't get enough of. as we were putting down our towels, my little brother took off running and jumped right into the pool!

we watched him for what seemed like a minute and then my aunt asked, "does he know how to swim?" I answered that he didn't and she jumped in, fully clothed, to fish him out of the pool. I'll never forget the look on her face when she realized what was happening and I'll never forget how grateful I was that she was there. I would have been too terrified to go in after him and he probably would have drowned.

I don't know what made him think he could do that. crazy, fearless little kid! I wonder if he remembers...