Sunday, May 11, 2014


By Juan Montoya
Many lifetimes ago I used to work for a county commissioner from the barrio.
Among some of the duties I was asked to perform was community outreach, although we never really gave it a title. When someone got hospitalized, jailed, etc., this particular commissioner made sure that they knew we would do whatever was in our power to to assist the families.
Once in a while we attended funerals, and although it was not considered a political task, it melded in with the rest of our work.
On this particular day, the matriarch of a large Southmost barrio family died suddenly after a short illness. My boss knew the family well and had grown up with them and considered them his friends. He asked if I wanted to accompany him to the rosary (el velorio). I am no fan of funerals, but I tagged along to keep him company.
The rosary was being held at the Treviño Funeral Home on Old Port Isabel Road. When we got there, the parking lot was nearly full almost all the way to the resaca bordering it on the south side. Her many sons and daughters, nieces, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren were there. Some of the kids were munching on pan dulce. Some adults sitting in the lobby were drinking coffee and talking about the deceased.
We walked in through the back entrance and greeted some of the people in the lobby before the rosary started. My boss noticed his friends outside the front door and we made our way there through the people. Some men were huddled outside and talking softly among themselves as they tend to do on serious and somber occasions.
We said hello and the oldest son went on to tell us how his mother had taken suddenly ill and within a day or two had died in her sleep. We commiserated with him and his brothers and then my boss asked: "Does your brother in El Paso know she died?"
At that question, his friend looked at him queerly and motioned us to step aside of the larger group.
His brother wasn't really in El Paso, but rather, serving time for a minor drug conviction at the La Tuna Federal Penitentiary, about 12 miles north of the city limits of El Paso on the Texas-New Mexico border.
"I called the prison the day after my mother died and they told me it would be impossible for him to attend her funeral," he said. "But they said that since it was a serious matter they would allow me to speak to him and give him the news.
"When he came on the line I told him I had some bad news.
"Es de la jefa, verdad (It's about Mom, isn't it)?,' he said his brother asked. "Se murio, verdad? (She died, didn't she)?"
"How did you know," the brother asked.
"Hace dos dias vino a despedirse de mi en la noche(Two nights ago she came to say goodbye)," the brother answered. "Ya sabia, carnal (I already knew, bro)."
A chill went down my spine when I heard that, and shortly thereafter we left.
There are a few lessons I have learned over my nearly six decades on earth, and this is one of them: A mother's love never ends, and not even the grave can stop it. Lover her if she's still here, and treasure her memory if you've lost her. But her love is never ending.


Anonymous said...

You worked for Lucindo Rosenbaum, a dubious fellow, Juan. Say it loud and proud, Puto! You also worked for Conrado Cantu, the ex sheriff now in prison. Say it loud and proud, Buey!

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous Naco: I commend you for your high level vocabulary excellence and acute cultural abilities on you communication skills. Por eso estamos como estamos ignorante Pendejo con toda la extención de la palabra.

Anonymous said...

The NSA 's secret memo from the Republican's Party Central Committee stated in secret code that they were hostile toward Motherhood, Mother's Day , women, children and Humanity.