May 19, 2018
Dedicated to Miguel Castorena, you inspired me to re-start writing.
There are certain childhood memories so deeply penetrated in my marrow (el tuétano).Goats and the smell of their milk, Mis Abuelito’s owned at Polvadero, the garden and our many carretones (my grandfather’s version of pinewood derby cars).Mis Abuelito’s left Huron in 1959/1960 and moved to Polvadero, mid-way between Huron and Coalinga to a ranch, where they were the care-takers. Polvadero Golf Course was near by. Their home had been a bar, as story went, one night during a drunken brawl a man had had his arm cut off. In the restroom was a separate room; a non-working walk-in ice box Mi Abuelito now kept an incubator in, to hatch baby chicks. He also worked at the golf course doing maintenance. We visited on weekends and spent much of our youth there during vacations and summers with our cousins, the Garza’s.
It was our playground. And boy what a playground it was, we were wild and free. We had a rope to swing across a creek, which was mainly dry. Surrounded by low scrub and grassland. There was also a huge water pipe we would attempt to walk across or straddle. We had dogs, a pony (which belonged to the owners of the ranch) many chivos (goats) and chickens. We also had neighbor kids we played with across the creek. I recall someone named Licha. I also vaguely recall a death in that family.
We were hardcore kids, we rode bikes without tires on gravel roads downhill. And primitive “carretones” with a rope used for steering, and no brakes. The brakes were our Flintstone feet! These comprised of 4 wheels, a piece of ply board and a rope to steer. Mi Abuelito used what ever he had at hand. My memory fails me, but if I remember correctly ours were all wood with the exception of the wheels, of course. We would take turns pushing each other or easier yet, roll down the many hills at Polvadero. The feeling of soaring down Polvadero road was a favorite spot we conquered with reckless abandon; it was near-death defying and exhilarating at once. Scrapes, scabs and bruises were inevitable, one scrape had not healed before we had new ones, layer upon layer of injuries. We were truly hard-core. What we did for fun! We felt like the original “Little Rascals.”This road was used by the oil truck drivers in route to an oil tank battery near Mis Abuelito’s home, so we had to be cautious. We also became mechanics, with the occasional repairs needed to repair our carreton. The occasional wheel fell off or the rope was fraying and needed to be changed. I think Mi Abuelito, Higinio made these for his grandkids with help from my uncles. He received as much enjoyment watching us play as we did playing with our “eagles on wheels.” He taught us so much more than the obvious; how to spread our wings, conquer our fears and soar on a Carretone.
Gracias Abuelo Higinio.
Thank you Father