Sunday, February 26, 2012

An Alamo Report

I haven't had time to actually write, but I have a little time to catch my breath today. My daughter was down for the past week and this morning we took her to the airport. I was hoping to spend more time with Pence, but his health took a bit of a relapse and he and Vicki headed north yesterday. So, we are more alone except for the birders in the surrounding apartments that come and go. In general they are nice people, about our age, are active and we have a passion for birds in common, which is a natural icebreaker. A typical greeting, "Hey, nice optics."  We are all a little eccentric.

In addition to daily birding hikes, Lorna has been doing her nordic walking and I've turned a few pedals on the McLean. I haven't seen anyone else on what I would call a "real" bike. The Latino locals tend to drive very shiny pickups and don't seem inclined to ride around on what they probably perceive as children's toys. The riding is fine in town, no sidewalks, untethered dogs taking half-hearted runs after the bike, but nothing aggressive. (Just a thought - I grew up in a smalltown time of free ranging dogs. If no one leashes their dogs, vicious dogs are simply not tolerated.) The easily accessible road leading out of town for the seven miles toward the border is flat, dead-straight asphalt, running through huge, beautiful black dirt vegetable fields. The downside is that they are narrow with no shoulders and they carry large trucks intent on getting to town as fast as possible. A good way to die young. Or old, in my case.

Most the locals are Latinos who families have been here for 200+ years. That makes them more American than I am. The other half of the population are winter Texans, down from the north. I suppose I should feel a kinship with them, but they all seem old, and they tend to live in mobile homes and RVs, parked shoulder to shoulder in fenced enclaves with guard shacks. I'm not certain what they are afraid of. Maybe I'm naive, a lot of the locals are poor, some nearby communities have drug issues, but the people here certainly don't seem dangerous. One evening in a restaurant I asked our local Latino waiter how to pronounce an item on the menu. He said he didn't know, he had just started and he didn't know how to speak Spanish. These kids are bright and most speak impeccable English. My feeling, dealing with the young clerks and waiters is that they should all be in college. They tend to be very poor, so that is probably not in their future. Instead we will continue educating the dull-witted sons and daughters of the privileged. This country is wasting a tremendous resource. 

More later.  

1 comment:

Mimbres Man said...

About poor kids...I have always said that about Native American kids on the Rez. You'll always find kids that will knock yer socks off due to their intelligence. However most won't have the opportunity because of various circumstances; mainly their family situation (lack of importance of higher education, etc.)