Page 14


as well. In spite of this, when a young man from Klail, say, makes plans to marry a girl from Flora, a commission is charged to ask for the girl’s hand. They become serious and solemn; the about-to-be-engaged couple is nervous: he sweats, and she fans herself. Obdulio Yanez, a relative of mine, lives in Relampago; those who know him for what he is, call him La caballona the He-mare. There’s no such thing, of course; still, he answers to that when called for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The words “shiftless” and “lazy” used to describe him merely reveal the poverty of the English language in his case. Sitting on a backless bench, cue in hand, looking out the window and waiting his turn, he asks for some chalk. Someone has just reminded him that Paula, his latest fiancee, has gone to bed with almost every man in Relampago. He chalks up, and says: “Relampago isn’t that big a town, you know. . . ” He walks around the table. “Two bits says I make the nine ball in the middle pocket.” *Bilingual Press, Eastern Michigan University; to be published April 15, 1983. When Young Murillo told don Victor Solis he wanted to test Estefanita prior to the marriage ceremony, don Victor replied that he didn’t raise his daughter to be no goddam watermelon. This happened a long time ago, and Young Murillo still considers himself quite a card, as they used to say; trouble with that is that at this late date, he still has no idea how many times he’s been fitted for antlers. One fine October day, Pancho la burra gathered every penny, nickel, dime, and dollar bet on the seventh Series and left for Jonesville-on-theRio. The people from Bascom swore ever showed that rat-chewed nose of his in this town. Again. Three months later, there he was: mounted on a thin-tire, royal blue Schwinn with hand brakes, horn, twin baskets, etc., and ready to raffle off a radio or a chance on a bus trip to the shrine of Our Lady of San Juan. As the Argentine once said: Really, now, one can always rely on people not to do anything. In Bascom, people walk softly and carry no stick at all; they go about saying things on the order of: 1. Behave yourself; 2. Keep it down; 3. Don’t do anything that’ll draw the Anglo Texans’ attention; 4. Etc. The bald truth is that our fellow Texans across the tracks could hardly care about what we think, say, or do. Here’s something of what the A.T.s usually say: “Oh, it’s nothing, really; just one of your usual Mexican cantina fan-dan-goes, ‘s all. They drink a little beer, they play them rancheras on the juke box, don’t you know; and then one o’ them lets out a big squeal, and the first thing you know, why, they’s having theirselves a fight.” See what I mean? Draw ing by Ede l Villag omez THIS IS THE LOOK OF TEXAS TODAY and the Texas Observer has its independent eye on all of it. We offer the latest in corporate scams and political scandals as well as articles on those who have other, and more humane, visions of what our state can be. Become an Observer subscriber today, order a gift for a friend, or instruct us to enter a library subscription under your patronage. Send the Observer to name address city state zip this subscription is for myself gift subscription; send card in my name $20 enclosed for a one-year subscription bill me for $20 name address city state zip THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29