Monthly Archives: April 2019

¿Que Paso?

By Nando

I was a student at Tucson’s Miles Elementary School, small for my age and dark for my neighborhood.

One Friday after school while on my bike at the playground gate, I was accosted by another student who began raining blows and invectives upon me. He struck me once for each “Dirty Mexican” or “Greaser” expletive he felt had to accompany his blows.

It was awkward for each of us while I was straddling my bike, to be effective in either scoring or evading blows but enough got through, accelerating my wobbling out the school gate, homeward, six blocks away.

I thought I had avoided adults at home until my dad told me my Nana and my Aunt Concha had noticed my bluish facial lumps. Mom was still at work at her Tucson Police Department office, Telephone: 126.

Dad sat across from me, angled his head left and forward, and said “Que Paso?”

I told him I had gotten into a fight at school because this guy was hitting me and cussing me out. I told him about the specific expletives and hate. I asked him why he beat me up.

He nodded, then left and came back with two sets of maroon, maybe 8-ounce gloves, and took me over some of the fly-weight Golden Gloves basics that had served him well about twenty years before. He could stop his sharp jabs as he pleased, never touching my face but getting me to respond and begin to anticipate. We stopped the sparring. Nodding his head, smiling slightly without disturbing his narrow moustache, he said “Not everybody can be Mexican.”

I realized years and years after this 1940’s incident that he had not answered my question, it did not merit an answer. I also realized that he gotten me back on the horse.

Later still, during 2019’s pre-election spate of racist this and racist that, and of victim me and other untruths . . . and beliefs stronger than truth, I recalled the above seven decades-ago incident.

I wondered what had happened to our thinking and values, or how our changes, good or bad, were brought about. And wondered if I was into a senior case of ED, Encroaching Decrepitude, and recalling just the good old days . . . which were not all good, re: above.

My experience was one in which the male child was brought up to forebear, be tough, and macho . . . macho before that term was media recast as a neologism meaning something like violent misogynist. It had back then mostly meant manly, forbearing, responsible, chivalrous, even. So, a macho first-response or reaction was not to wallow in victimhood, or in being less.

The three strong ladies of my childhood house were of the culture and would not adulterate the young male’s upbringing with undue, or even for them, situationally unbecoming, warm feminine caring. For example, my nana or aunt might have said, without showing sympathy, “Que te paso?” Or, “What happened to you?” . . . and not taken the warm fuzzies any further. A too empathetic response from them might have been such as “Ay! Mi’jo! Que te paso?” My Dad said: “Que paso?” or, “What happened?” placing no value or emphasis on human presence, my injuries, or even acknowledging I was his son.

Today, his comment on not everybody being able to be Mexican, well . . . so avant reverse racist? I still wonder what is happening.

April 2019

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Senior Peeing

By Kat

last week something strange happened. twice, upon awakening, i had the normal urge to empty my bladder. as i climbed out of bed, the urge became ur–gent. as i hustled to the bathroom the pressure was overwhelming. oh my gosh, i thought, i might not make it! when i opened the bathroom door and my bladder saw the toilet, i distinctly heard it sigh oh yes and it promptly let go. before i reached my destination.

my own will was worth nothing. i had no control. later in the week i mentioned the incidents to a friend, who immediately said, oh you’re . . . and then he said that awful word . . . incontinent. i was horrified. he went on to tell me that lend-a-hand could give me diapers. gasp. diapers!!!

well, my bladder must have been horrified too; it hasn’t happened again.

April 2019

Into the Woods

“When you bring your body out into the landscape you’re bringing your body home.” the late John O’Donohue, Irish poet.

By Kat

There is healing energy in nature. When we leave behind the concrete, steel, bricks, asphalt and general busy-ness of the city, the body begins to relax and the mind lets go of the constant chatter associated with the stresses of life.

In the sound of gurgling water, there is peace. In the low-hanging branches of a tree, heavily laden with leaves, there is peace. In the warmth of the afternoon sun, there is peace. In the sight of undulating mountains, there is peace.

Silence overwhelms the brain-chatter, easing the breath, calming the spirit. After a time, the soft, sweet sounds of nature join the silence. Soft bird calls, small rodents scurrying through the underbrush, the swish, swish of deer, parading through dried leaves, the scrapes of tiny claws as a squirrel shimmies up a tree trunk.

The sights, sounds, and earthy odor of the woods combine to create a feeling of peace and of coming home.

February 2019

Another Animal Visitor

By Sally

After finally getting a nice day, after many wintery ones, I went outside to enjoy the sun. Walking around a little, I noticed something in the grass. I couldn’t make out what it was, so I walked over to it. To my surprise, it was a turtle. Not a small one, the size of a dinner plate.

As I stood here, wondering where in the world it came from, and where or what to do with it, a couple from the park walked by. I called to them and asked, “Do you know who I can call to find out where to take this turtle?”

The man got all excited. “You have a turtle?”

“Yes,” I said, and showed him.

He picked it up and held onto it, smiles all over his face. He showed his wife, and she, too, was surprised.

I was thinking of taking it inside and keeping it in the spare bathroom, in the tub. But then I thought of my cats. It would send them into wonderland, this new, alive, toy.

I decided it must belong to someone close by, but hadn’t a clue who it was.

After considering the mess I would have to clean up (outside of the cats) and the smell, I asked the man if he wanted it.

His eyes lit up like a little kid with a new toy. “Oh, yes!” he said. So I let him take it home, feeling fairly confident that the turtle would have a good home.

Even thought it was a short acquaintance, I found myself wondering about that turtle, thinking off and on that I should have kept it, but assuring myself that it was a good thing I didn’t.

Miss you turtle! (I think I would have named it Hector. Why? I haven’t a clue!).

March 2019