The Why of the What (Mud P6)

Understand, on the back roads we were all neighbors. Familiarity was the default setting.
Those you passed along the road, whether you gave them a ride or not, always shouted a friendly, dios! (deeyos – a version of “adios,” meaning “hi!”).

And that brings me to the “why” – why were we trekking around in our muddy Rover?

To get their story. My dad is a photojournalist. To capture their voices on an old tape recorder. Render them in two dimensions through a typewriter. Submit them to the heavy metal clang and the rhythmic whoosh of the linotype machine. Feed them to the mammoth printing press hungry with thick rolls of blankness.

…And eventually settle those voices in the black ink of the daily paper. Then folk in other places, in pulperías (corner shops), on radio shows, in barber shops, read the words aloud. They populate the air with their neighbors’ stories reawakened. Add their own opinions, use their own voices. And the beat goes on.

Don’t you love the process? Words are world travelers. Think about it!

Make Room (Mud P5)

Those bumps, jolts and swerves were mood music. I trusted that my dad knew where he was taking us, and how he would get us there… I enjoyed the passing scenery, the people that waved to us… I wondered about the lives of whomever might live in the colorful homes, with the fading paint and beautiful veraneras (bougainvilleas) swaying at us over rusted barbed wired fences…

And the not-knowingness of it all. As in, not knowing whom we were going to pick up along the road. A campesino with his machete and the ripe smell of a long day of work? Two freshly showered ladies making the long trek to the bus stop? Some kids on errands, with a sack or two in tow?

And always from my dad, “Mijita, córrase.” “Sweetheart, move over.” In other words, make room. Make room.

Sit on each other’s laps if you have to, but Make Room.