Wednesday, November 01, 2006

La Historia

My grandfather was an immigrant from Mexico. When he became a citizen, he insisted the whole family drive all the way to freakin Austin, the state capital, from little Del Rio on the border. He said they all needed to see the capital of their state.

After sight seeing, the family went to a local restaurant. There they were told that citizens or not, the restaurant was not going to serve them because they were Mexican. My grandmother's head almost blew off her shoulders she was so mad.

So what has changed, 60 years later? Mexicans are still the problem, whether we have papers or not. There is a need to build a fence, apparently, to keep out all those people busing tables and washing cars. Oh, one minor detail, stupid ass Bush didn't make sure it was funded. That would require some seriousness on his part as opposed to just giving cover to his buddies. This way they can say they are tough on immigration without really doing anything or having it cost anything. Most Americans won't even know they have lied to on this one, too.

Tomorrow is Day of the Dead for those of us who follow the traditions. So the other day I went to a Mexican store to get some needed items. My mom told me about a fellow who used to work for my grandfather many, many years ago and Jose now owns a store out where I was headed.

Jose was the man who brought the statue of St Jude from Mexico for my grandfather's grave. A few years after the placement of the statue, some thug stole the statue from the headstone, leaving only the feet. It has been like that since.

So I went to see Jose. I introduced myself and asked for his help. The statue needed to be replaced, to honor both my grandparents' memories. He was leaving for Mexico this week. He promised to get the statue for me.

I couldn't stop crying when I talked to him and I have no idea why. Except that tomorrow when I go to clean up their graves and put flores there for them, I know that I will have kept the promise I made a long time ago. The grave will be complete again soon.

My grandfather was the one who took me to see JFK in the JC Penney's parking lot in San Jose. He was the one who lost his job when he was accused of stealing from his job. After all, what Mexicans could afford to send their son to Norte Dame without stealing?

Next Tuesday when I go to vote, I'll remember him when I vote for all the Democrats. I'll offer a kind thought to the man who had enough pride to want something better for all of us and put up with the indignities he suffered for being brown. And someday soon I will see St Jude standing over his resting place and thank him for the gifts he gave all of us.

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