On October 29, 1994, I attended a celebration in Honor of Redford pioneers: Teofilo Carrasco and Cecilia Acosta. They had just been reinterred in the old Redford Cemetery. When the reception was over, I found myself stranded because my ride chose to return to Las Cruses immediately. I teamed up with primo Manuel Tercero Prano (then Ojinaga Presidente) and we hitched a ride to Ojinaga. I later spent the night at the Rhuana Hotel. The next day I was picked up by primo Enrique Lujan, who took me to his home. Enrique, who operates his own Taxi, was available to take me wherever I needed to go. Our first stop was at the home of primo Benjamin Nieto. I was sharing some unidentified photos from my mother’s albums with him when, to my surprise, he exclaimed:
“You knew her?” I asked.
It turned out that the Lady in black, was “Mama Lola”, Dolores Munoz. She was the widow of my grandfather’s brother, Valentin Lujan, and therefore, the grandmother of primo Enrique!
Left with three little ones to feed, Mama Lola, who had Chircahua Roots, turned to making pottery to sell across the river in Presidio, Texas. The children, Benjamin, Enrique, and other primitos would go off on a “wagon” to gather soil for Mama Lola. After throwing the dirt on an animal skin to remove rocks and pebbles, they would wet it down and have loads of fun stomping barefoot on the mud! They then rolled the coils that Mama Lola would use to fashion her “Tinajas” (jars)
Benjamin told of how the Tinajas were used to make Tesgüino,
“Tesgüino?”, I asked. “What’s that?”
“It’s an alcoholic drink made out of corn sprouts” he explained.
“Corn sprouts were put in a Tinaja filled with water and set out in the sun to ferment. The resultant brew was customarily served during “Novena Prayers” (nine days of prayers for the recently deceased)
After joking about the nine days of libation that Las Senoras enjoyed, Benjamin continued.
“I still have a couple of her “Tinajas” out back”, he offered. “I had more, but we used them for Pinatas. Would you like to have one?”
DID I? I forgot I was “hitch-hiking and said YES!
Primo Enrique drove me back to Redford where I hitched a ride to Marfa. At prima Antonia’s, I fashioned a macramé-like carrier for my Tinaja, and boarded a bus to El Paso. Picture me alighting from the bus, lugging a ‘Carry-on Bag’, with a heavy iron corn-grinder inside, my computer, cameras, purse, and ….my “Tinaja”. No wonder prima Antonia said I looked like “La India Maria”, of Mexican film fame!