Jewel Created From Mud – “La Tinaja”

22 Jun

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:

 “Oh you have a picture of Mama Lola! “

“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!

Prima Elisa


4 Responses to “Jewel Created From Mud – “La Tinaja””

  1. David Perez July 9, 2011 at 1:11 PM #

    I like this new page design. I hope that it will encourage more comments from your readers.

    Su hijo David

  2. Debbie Rede Lopez Pimentel March 9, 2012 at 11:10 PM #

    Hello Elisa, another wonderful story, I enjoyed this as I have all the others, this one gave me a chuckle. What an adventure you have had. Bravo once again. And how wonderful that you have gone to visit each of these places, met with the people and Familia, you truly have a Life Story of your own. As I look through our families history it’s like reading a book of our Ancestors, but you have actually seen and walked down their paths what a fulfilling and Heart warming adventure you have taken. your Prima Deb in Cali

  3. rosendo m evaro January 24, 2013 at 11:31 AM #

    prima elisa, the husband of cecilia acosta was mateo carrasco not teofilo carrasco as you have it listed above. thanks rosendo evaro.

    • Toni May 10, 2013 at 10:16 AM #

      Dear Rosendo,
      I have been researching my family history and know that we share the same family. I am the great grand daughter of Julianna Carrasco (sister of Vitar) and Pablo Evaro Sr. I would love to connect with you about our family. If you are interested, would you please reply to this post?
      Your cousin,

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