Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cold Winters, Hard Labor

I was born in Nyssa, Oregon,
a little sugar town on the Idaho border.
My parents left the home of their birth
to make a life with my dad’s brother, Sam,
selling tamales to immigrants
who were suppose to work the sugar cane.

My mother talked about the winter being harsh
the laborers from Mexico did not arrive
so in order to survive my dad and uncle
had to work in the fields and scrap their plans
for a little restaurant.

They lived in a trailer in the labor camp
but even with the heater on high
they were cold and everything froze;
clothes on the clothesline as well as the water pipes.

I was only two months old when they decided
to packed up my brother and me
and move back to New Mexico,
glad to be safe on the red clay of their birth
where the winters were mild.

They told of their adventures and laughed
out loud at their many hardships,
but my uncle stayed behind
and married a girl named Cleo.
He and my dad were never close again.
I wonder what part of the story
was never revealed.

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