Monday, February 23, 2004

Time now, 02:45 EST Not long ago, got done telling stories to my daughter, l'il Annie-Franck, who maybe had night-mares, though she didn't know the word. Just,"Papa, I saw the lady, who suddenly made a mouth like a zero, and turned away."

She had me tell stories, about the first horse I rode, a pony, at the Knox County Fair in Illinois; about why we were driving through Iowa in December, looking for the surviving Fox and Sauk who they say, live in Tama County. I told her about the white People, who came with guns and liquor, wanting to settle the land. How it didn't work out, how angry men with guns made them leave, go West across the Mississippi to Iowa, Oklahoma, and other places.

She asked me to tell her more horse stories. I told her about how I rode horses on my cousins' ranch near La Barca, not far from el Lago Chapala, the Chapala Lake, which then had much more water. How a large green and multi-colored parrot, my Ti'o Francisco Xavier, bit my mother's toe. She kicked it across the patio, where it lay still. Suddenly it revived with a squawk and a jeer,"A la porra contigo!" (To the whipping-stick with you!) Am not sure of that translation; should anyone have better, please give it up. Maybe, "To h-ll with you?"

Finally, my daughter slept, while I told her how my mother as a young woman would play so beautifully on the piano the music of Enrique Granados. But I lay, wide awake, wondering what stories would my Ti'os tell about the parrot, the ranch, my grandfather, and struggling to raise their families in the failing economy of the 70's and 80's...

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