Lessons from my paisano parents

My Fregado Parents who are always game for something silly - this is an old photo when we entered a contest last year


I know it is thunder outside and not gunfire. That doesn’t mean I don’t worry because my parents have just hopped a bus to visit their house in the state of Durango. While in Laredo, they heard the explosions in Mexico and had second thoughts after having trekked from up North to visit family. Regardless, we searched for the bus lines online and made reservations and off they went.

As usual, my mom, the Spanish language goddess without higher ed dropped some suggestions for bettering how I speak. Although I do know that two words that end and then start with the same vowels should not be used together, she caught me saying “la agua”. She wrote me a little reminder that “El diptongo es cuando se juntan 2 vocales similares y tienes que cambiar la palabra anterior para que se entienda. Por ejemplo, es ‘El Aguila y no la Aguila'” (A diphthong is when two similar vowels run together so you have to change the article to understand it – that is not the exact definition of diphthong but she was describing where I went wrong). I knew it but it doesn’t help to be reminded.

The new one, though, was that my pronunciation of “ll” was too much like a “y” – I never knew! Finally, we all know that there is a big difference between “‘v’ de vaca y ‘b’ de burro” (“v” for Spanish word for cow and “b” for the Spanish word for donkey) but she said that V is a dentilabial word and B is a labial word. In other words, V is pronounced with your teeth on lips and lips are out and B is pronounced with lips in. I love when they visit and if I don’t learn at least one thing from my mom, I learn something else from my dad.

My parents are paisanos, making as many trips to Mexico as they can. It took a lot of pleading to convince them not to drive this time. Public transportation is growing in Mexico due to the fear of paisanos being targets because of license plates, the way they dress, and the long travel on roads without much protection. Last week my mother’s cousin was kidnapped in Mexico. The family feels helpless as to what to do or where to look. This is the latest message posted on a forum for the small towns in our state:

Mensaje de: SU HIJA QUE LO AMA MUCHISIMO : 11/04/2010 12:55 PM
BUENO PRIMERO QUE NADA ESTE ES UN MENSAJE DE MUCHA IMPORTANCIA QUIERO PEDIR AYUDA PARA ENCONTRAR A MI PADRE SU NOMBRE ES ALFONSO CHAVEZ LEDEZMA TIENE 63 AÑOS DE EDAD VIAJA EN UN CARRO GRIS ES HONDA ACCORD 1996, PLACAS gab 75 37 TAMBIEN VA UN ACOMPAÑANTE SU NOMBRE ES HERMINIO HERNANDEZ (PECHO) ES SU APODO LES PIDO AYUDA PARA ENCONTRARLO YA TIENE 8 DIAS HOY VIERNES A TODOS LOS QUE LEAN ESTE MENSAJE PORFAVOR ES MUY IMPORTANTE ES DE VIDA O MUERTE

It isn’t a first occurrence in our family, it isn’t always cartels and drug-traffickers, and it does happen to people with limited incomes. I love my family but I am sad and I wish them the best in their travels. I want them to come back to their pit stop called Laredo on their way back up North. Maybe my parents will have new lessons for me, have news of finding my mom’s cousin or just come to make me smile. No matter what is happening in our lives, we always try to look at the positive.

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About Que Fregados

Que Fregados is a quirky look at little things that strike us funny in Laredo and the unique Latino culture. Suggestions and comments are welcome. You can also email to quefregados@gmail.com.
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4 Responses to Lessons from my paisano parents

  1. rick78 says:

    May GOD be with your parents granting them a safe trip and return. Hope your cousin is safe and soon found .

  2. Earth Day says:

    Reminds me of the fans in the Super Dome for the old Saints football games.

  3. Tamisha says:

    The info on this site is very useful. Thank you.

  4. Ana says:

    Your parents sound so badass. They have to really love you to put on bags over their heads for you. Also – I learnt me sumthing today. Thanks.

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