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Judy Magers is buried on Boot Hill. photo by Fred Covarrubias VII. Her sons are dark-headed and handsome. Her daughters have auburn hair, their mother’s bright eyes, and her piercingly intelligent gaze. Sequestered from their mother for decades, they grappled with an astonishing combination of grief, surprise, relief, and probably confusion. Nearly everyone they met knew something of their mother, had seen her countless times camped in the swale with her burro. Her coffin had been donated. Someone found boots, spurs, and a hat when Judy’s own could not be located. Flowers arrived. February 5 dawned blue-skied and still. La Reina’s coffin lay in the simple little church alone, adorned with an Indian blanket, photographs of her and her burro, candles, and the sunlight that splashed through the building’s open windows and onto its blue-and-yellow walls. It was a scene of great humility and thoughtfulness, and it was silent. Down at the cemetery, the crowd grew to 150 people. At noon the funeral procession appeared. Followed by a spotted donkey garlanded with flowers and grass, the burro lady’s five children carried her coffin through the creosote to her grave on Boot Hill. Ivey directed the service. “She was the most famous unknown person I’ve ever known,” he said. “There’s something deep down that we wanted to feel sorry for Judyit’s called compassion. But Judy didn’t want us to feel sorry. How can you, for someone who’s doing what they want to do?” He contemplated the sunset on the day he picked up Judy’s body from the funeral home near El Paso. “It dawned on me that Judy saw more sunsets than I’ll ever see,” he said. “And she woke to countless sunrises. I am in awe of this sunset. If I slowed myself down to the pace of a burro, think how much more important that sunset would be.” In the back of the crowd, the spotted burro nibbled on the jacket of his handler. This was not Merle, but a burro representative. He was riderless, and in old military tradition, someone had placed boots backward in his stirrups. People told stories of her, of where they saw her, of her cussed independence and the impact that her strange, itinerant life had on them. Judy likely had no idea she was beloved by so many. Scores of folks had tried to help her over the years, but were thwarted by her resistance. Now that she was gone, those at the funeral tried to soothe the ache of her children. “Please don’t be too downhearted,” one woman said. “Judy touched so many hearts. Be happy for that.” Off and on there was laughter. One man exclaimed that her newly discovered children were now family members to us all, and amens rang out. “Amazing Grace” was sung, and as the crowd got to the third verse, Ivey stepped forward, folded the Indian blanket and handed the children her hat, boots, and spurs. Helpers carefully removed the slats under the coffin and lowered the burro lady into her grave. There were tears. continued on back L MARCH 23, 2007 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 31