Other People's Stories, Part 6 of ?: Life and Death in the Migrant Worker Camp

I guess I flubbed some details on the last story, but this one I'm pretty sure of. I've heard it several times. In any case, if I do mess it up, the teller of the story is dead, so I guess he won't be telling me I'm wrong... (It'll make for another interesting blog post if he does, though.)

This is not a funny story.

My Grandpa Alvin was born in 1912, which means he came of age right around 1930. He grew up speaking both Spanish and English in El Paso, Texas. (In English, he always said certain Spanish/ English cognates, like "marijuana", with a Spanish pronunciation. I found it endearing.) Alvin bore a very strong resemblance to Henry Fonda, which always lent this story a very "Grapes of Wrath" vision in my mind. He used to tell the same stories over and over, with no worries about if anyone was actually listening. I was always listening. The story goes like this:

Once, in the 30's, when he really needed work, Alvin joined a group of Mexican migrant workers picking fruit.

He knew somehow that this was a bad idea. He knew that they didn't like outsiders. So, he kept a low profile. He tried not to talk too much, so they wouldn't notice his Texas accent. He only made one sort of friend in the few days he worked with them.

This one friend came to Alvin's tent on the third night he worked, late, and said,

"Some of the group have been talking, and they know you aren't Mexican. Tomorrow, they are planning on killing you."

Grandpa Alvin made a quick and quiet departure from the migrant worker camp.


  1. Well. There's no better friend than one who warns you the other guys are plotting your slaughter.

  2. I don't know how to respond to that, so I'll just say "word to Glory."