We were young, just married a few months now. Everything was an adventure. We were in a small town that made the front pages across the nation. The Hispanic people there at the time called themselves Chicanos. I never used that word myself. I remember Groucho Marx saying that he would never be part of a group that would have him as a member.
The people there started a movement. They organized, registered voters, and took over the school board and other city positions. The bolillos, another word for Anglos, were kicked out of office. A bolillo is a small loaf of bread. It is not an X-rated word but it was commonly used.
I was excited to be in Crystal City, Texas, a town I heard about all the way California. There wasn’t much out there, lots of mesquite. The Rio Grande was about 45 miles away. The border town of Eagle Pass was there. Negras Piedras, which means black rocks was on the Mexican side. That is where my father was born. It felt like I was having a Circle of Life moment.
El Rio was another border town east of us. Several hours north of there was the town of Langtry. There’s not much there. I don’t know why anyone would want to live out there. It is hours away from the nearest city. It was the home of Judge Roy Bean. Several motion pictures have been made about this man and his infatuation with Miss Lily Langtry.
North of Crystal City is an old Western town of Uvalde. In a few miles west of there is a place called Brackettville. John Wayne build the set for his movie the Alamo in that location. I met several people who were extras in that movie. One of the events we went to see was armadillo races and the annual rattlesnake roundups. I know how to show my wife a good time.
San Antonio was about a two hour drive away and we went there often on the weekends. It is a great place to visit and to get to know. If you have never been there, put that on your list of places to go.
Once we were settled there for a few months, I wrote about these things as I was watching the sunset from our porch on Holland Avenue.
It was Alamo country,
Big sky country,
Lily Langtry country,
rattlesnake country, border country,
tornado warning country,
flash flood and cloudburst country,
buzzard sky and owl night country,
friendly by necessity,
cruel by nature.
Dangerous by instinct.
Death without warning country.
Good to be alive country.
It was a place to come home to,
it was a place to come home to,
a place to leave behind.