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By Nicolas C, Vaca A JOUR La Labor de Las Estacas, Mexico In 1909 my father left Mexico to come to live in the United States and, save for one brief visit, never again returned. In later years, when I was old enough to be curious about such matters, I asked him why. He gave me various answers: he blamed his flight on the Revolution, on personal differences with members of his family \(his mother remarried after his killed and for which he was accused, or on an adventurous desire to see the world that lay beyond his village. Never, however, did he blame Mexico herself. Each reason seemed acceptable to me, though I personally favored the one involving the brawl; but my curiosity demanded an explanation because each reason he had given for his departure would have been erased with the passage of time and because he always spoke of Mexico in the best of terms. The Mexican people, he told me, were more honorable, sincere, and good than those in the United States; the land was richer, the climate like eternal spring, and the food, well, there was simply no comparison. He never learned English, deplored American culture, thought the women spoiled beyond redemption by the America’s political leaders, and thought poorly of its educational system. Yet here he remained. It is true that he spoke frequently about returning permanently to Mexico, but with the exception of a three-month stay in 1943 he never made a serious effort to re-establish himself in the country that to the very day he died he always called his homeland. And I never learned why. I now know why and it had to do with hunger. My fathei never spoke of it though it seemed always to roam the edges of his reminiscent tales of Mexico. Yes, there was poverty, or “poorness,” as my father liked to call it, but it was not a serious consideration. After all, he would say, there was also “poorness” and hunger in the United States. Mexico, therefore, remained for me a place that people left always with good memories and for the lightest of reasons. This image of Mexico would have stayed with me had I not chosen to return to my father’s village. All my life I had heard stories about this villageLa Labor de Las Estacasrelated to me in elaborate detail not only by my father but also by my mother and those sisters and brothers who had been in on the 1943 adventure. I was told about the house in which they had lived, the friends that had been made, the unknown relatives who had appeared from surrounding villages, about personal ‘adventures, but mostly about how different life had been there. I was told that we had been rich then and because of this and because we had come from the North we were looked upon with special consideration and thus occupied THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3