Carlos Najera (1908-1999)
Many people have asked me how it was I got to be so old. And I have answered it is because I am mestizo, half burro half mesquite.
I was born on a hill in the state of Coahuila. My mother got sick at the time and could not breast-feed me. There were no milk cows around. The family had a goat but I could not drink goat milk.
There I was crying like a baby, I was hungry. There was a cow out in the field with a baby calf. She was a range cow and would not let herself be milked. It was starting to become an emergency and then a worker at our home had an idea. There was a donkey there walking around our patio with her baby colt. The donkey didn’t seem to mind helping me out. It worked out okay. I got to like donkey milk and it did me good because here I am to write about it.
I grew up drinking donkey milk for a long time after that. When I was able to walk I would go outside and play with the other little colt. I was in luck for I was just about the right height to walk under the mama and help myself. The mama donkey didn’t seem to mind sharing with me. Sometimes the colt and I would both be drinking milk at the same time. I remember the mama looking first at her own baby and then turning around and looking at me.
“I don’t remember having such a strange looking pair of twins, but oh well.” She seemed to be thinking.
The Mama donkey would lick me after trying the feed myself. She did that to her own little baby donkey as well. So, I grew up smelling a lot like a donkey and a lot like mesquite. That part of Mexico is desert and there wasn’t much for a donkey to eat there but tender mesquite shoots. That donkey had all our mesquite trees chewed up as high as she could reach, I even tried to munch on little shoots myself.
And that is why say I am mestizo, half donkey and half mesquite.