AMOUNT 3 CLIP AND MAIL WITH YOUR GIFT TO LABOR’S MARCH FOR WARM SPRINGS, 402 W. 13TH ST., AUSTIN, TEX. THE TEXAS REHABILITATION CENTER of the nation’s outstanding hospitals specializing in the care of the severely handicapped. TRC urgently needs additional funds with which to carry on its program. All funds contributed remain in Texas to provide needed services to all Texans, regardless of their age, race, or ability to pay. Make your own Christmas brighter by sending a , contribution to Labor’s March for Warm Springs, 401 W. 13th St., Austin, Tex. The Lucky Cow of Tututepec “A Christmas Story” AUSTIN Mexico is a land of hope. It is also a land of hunger, where many of the people never have quite enough to eat. But this is their own fault, as that highly civilized rag, The New Yorker, has demonstrated in its cartoons, its funnies for the sophisticated, which tickle the urbane funnybone of its readers with depictions of the fellahin or coolie class of Mexicans, who are so lazy they sleep in broad daylight by the roadside, covering their faces with enormous hats. Set aside any question as to the truth of this picture, assume that it is based on truth: You must arrive at the conclusion that the sophisticated find killingly funny the idea of people who are so weary, for one reason or another, they are not ashamed to sleep in public. Where is their get-up-andget, their vitamin pills, their energy pills? The distinction of a civilized people is that they never wear their ulcers on the outside. But the Mexicans, no matter how poor some of them may be, have hope, because they have a national lottery. The lottery is run by the government. But never a hint of the corruption that, in the mind of the people, is associated with politicians, has ever tarnished the name of the National Lottery, which shines with an effulgence unknown apart from the Holy Trinity and the saints. Proceeds, after a strict accounting of expenses, go to charity. There are big lotteries and little ones; big prizes and little ones: something for everybody. And everybodythe banker, his chauffeur, the newsboy on the streetcorner, the peasant in the fields buys a ticket or a tiny piece of a ticket. Everybody in Mexico has won, at some time, at least a small prize, and everybody knows somebody real well who knows somebody who has won a grand prize. The Gordo, no less! The Fat One! THE FATTEST PRIZE of all is bestowed at Christmas; each year, several million Mexicans expect to win it. Why are they so confident? Because they have gone about the business of procuring their ticket with scientific care. There are several scientific ways to cinch the winning ticket. One way is to consult a Gypsy; be sure she is a Spanish Gypsy. Nobody, not even an intellectual writer like Hemingway, doubts the clairvoyance of Gypsies. But the genuine imported Spanish article is somewhat scarce in Mexico. Then, find a lucky vendor. It is common knowledge that hunchbacks are lucky, so most of those in Mexico sell lottery tickets. You let him choose the number. You are allowed, without extra charge, to touch the hump; this improves your chances. And then, there is the revelation by dream, when the lucky number appears to you in your sleep. The only drawback is, you cannot know for sure just which lottery your number will take first prize in. I have a friend who played the same number in every lottery for six years before he won the Christmas prize; meanwhile he nearly lost faith; but now he is retired and lives on the rent from his houses. Finally, there is the revelation by hunch. You happen to see a ticket with a number on it that is going to win. A strange feeling comes over you, like true love at first sight. Your head spins, maybe you hear voices. You feel the earth move. On the other hand, the vendor may wave before you a number that is instantaneously repulsive, like a cockroach at the bottom of your tequila glass. You turn on him a stare of cold re proof: “The number does not please me,” you say. That number was not for you. The vendor slinks shamefaced away. But some peoplealas!do not know when a number is meant for them. Just the same, once they have invested in a ticket, even without having observed any of the scientific methods I have mentioned, they are likely to convince themselves that the prize, except for a brief delay, is in their pockets. Not the second or the third or the fifteenth prize. The first prize. The Fat One. A lawyer I knew who had bought a whole ticket for the Christmas lottery hired an architect to draw up plans for a house in the country, complete with garden, fountains, and goldfish. The ticket drew no prize, and this lawyer stalked about for days with the face of a man who had been betrayed by his best friend. You can see the same look on the faces of the spectators in the grand salon of the lottery in Mexico City when the Christmas drawing takes place. That is, as the evening wears on. At first they are jovial, bursting with confidence. They slip their tickets from their pockets and eye them lovingly. While the big wire cages of the lottery machine are in motion, churning the bright red balls that contain the magic Charles Ramsdell and while one of the innocent little boys in red monkey suits and caps bleats out twice the number of each winning ticket, and another innocent responds, again twice, with the figures of the prize, tension grips the crowd. But as soon as the big prizes have been announced, the people begin to leave. One by one. Two by two. The drawing goes on, but who cares? And yet, somebody is bound to win. ONE CHRISTMAS the Fat One fell to a small village far from the capital. The prize was really won by the whole village. The people, who were poor, had scrabbled together what smidgins they could raise to make up a vaca, or “cow” as a ticket owned by many contributors is called. They had each bought perhaps a twentieth of a twentieth of a ticket. But for the whole village of Tututepec there would be one million pesos, if the ticket won. The ticket won. The news came in a wire to the postmaster, who dashed up the street to the store and saloon of Don Chucho, the municipal president, or mayor. Then together the mayor and postmaster took the news to the other shops around the plaza, till the whole sleepy town buzzed like a beehive that had been poked with a stick. Meanwhile little Rag, as they called him, the bootblack, tore off down the road in the direction of his mother’s hovel, fell full length over a sleeping sow that added her squeals of indignation to the growing hubbub, and, as he rounded a corner, ran into the burro of the Widow Cervantes, who was jogging to market with baskets of eggs and cheese. When the widow understood that the “cow” she shared in had won, she toppled off the burro in a dead faint. Little Rag ran back to the plaza for aid, which was offered by most of the male populace, in view of the interesting position assumed by the Widow . Cervantes, with one foot caught in the stirrup and her head in a basket of eggs. THAT FIRST DAY of celebration I was hectic, with toasts to the “Lucky Cow of Tutupec,” and, a little later, impromptu speeches. The second day was well organized, thanks to the planning of the mayor and his council. There was music in the streets, a banquet, fireworks and dancing all night. Nobody worked. The butcher and the baker shut up shop. Even the molino de nixtamal, where the meal was ground for tortillas, closed up. The next days were not so well organized. There were some fights that nobody could explain, with minor damage to eyes and noses. A musician, who had been playing with the rest of the band on the church roof, fell off and was carried home, unhurt and loudly protesting. Nobody worked. The women began to complain about the lack of food. By the fifth day the liquor supply had given out, except for a cache that Don Chucho kept in reserve in the cellar of his store. The town council, to discuss the impending emergency, called a meeting in the cellar, which was attended also by any number of bystanders. The meeting went on, hour after hour, until the women of the town, now desperate for the lack of food, sent a committee, headed by Dona Petra, the mayor’s wife. The town fathers, very happy where they were, invited the ladies into the cellar, but declined to come out. The women, finding their pleas unavailing, divided their forces: Half of them took mules and burros and went to the nearest town for food; the other half took turns sitting on the trapdoor that covered the exit from the cellar. The menfolk, who had refused to come up from the cellar, were now frantic to escape. It was no use. Dona Petra herself, the mayor’s wife, who weighed nearly three hundred pounds, held the door down. Even when her husband plead with her: “After all, I am the mayor of Tututepec.” It was a cry that he was never allowed to forget. Nor did TututepeC ever forget the Festival of the Lucky Cow. It is said to be the one town in the Republic of Mexico where lottery tickets do not sell. It is also the saddest town in the Republic, the town whose dreams came true. Texans send millions of dollars out of Texas each year in response to appeals for support from various charities. This is very laudable because most of these appeals are sincere and worthy. However, TEXAS RANKS NEAR THE BOTTOM of all states in providing for its own citizens needing rehabilitation services. THE REASON: LACK OF PUBLIC SUP-PORT! Surely this is not in the image true Texans! A Christmas Message To Texans Who Care: WHAT’S WITH TEXAS. This message is brought to you with a most sincere wish for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from LABOR’S MARCH FOR WARM SPRINGS 402 W. 13th St. Austin, Tex.
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