I was speaking to a guy from work on one of our breaks yesterday. The conversation started when he asked me about my last name. It seems to cause a lot of confusion because of the fact that I don’t look Mexican, of which my last name derives. The conversation led to him telling me about his last name and how he got a lot of crap growing up because of it, or rather who he is in relation.
His family came from a very prominent and respected tribe. His grandfather was the, for lack of a better term, leader of this community and was not only looked to for guidance and answer, but gave out the commands that were then respected and followed, much like a judge; except this judge sat in his pajamas on the porch drinking black coffee and chain-smoking cigarettes. Anyway, I digress. Although his family had this sort of fame, he was a bit of a black sheep because his mother married a white man and, subsequently, had light-skinned babies, although it was the eyes, he said, that gave him away. The other young men would often look at him, pointing to their own brown eyes and then to his blue ones as if to threaten. Very seldom did it lead to fights though because the parents would put in place their children for fear of reprimand from his grandfather. Being as he was the one calling the shots with any disputes, it lent well to stay on his good side.
This got me wondering for a short time if this could be considered racist. But the conversation then spread to his family’s history and I was lost in the incredible stories he was telling, of which I will now butcher trying to repeat.
His grandfather, the chief-of-sorts, was born in 1889 and grew up in Africa. Where he was, during a war of which I can’t remember the name, the young men were forced to fight. “Fight or be killed,” he told me. “They fought with guns at their fronts and guns at their backs.” His grandfather fought for years like this until, one day, he was able to acquire captain’s papers, a uniform, and a horse with which he fled the country under a false identity. He arrived in America where fellow tribesmen gave him a new name and a new life.
His great uncle also fled the country. When he was a young boy the war came to them. His (the uncle) father took him to the ship yard, sneaked him onto a barge, sliced open a horse, and hid his son inside. He told him not to get out until the ship reached land. His great uncle freaking Star Warsed it to America!
If you ever thought your life was exciting, it’s not. Stories like those (and I missed a lot of details because that was early yesterday and I have lightning brain) make me feel so insignificant in what I have experienced, I’m not saying I want to experience what they did, but I want to experience something, something grand! Just…keep me out of horses.