Part 2: SelectionsDocumentCitations

“Agarró nomás la Cuarto [He Just Grabbed the Whip]”

by Eduardo Valdez

Nasario García returned to his parents’ home in the Río Puerco area of New Mexico to talk with the abuelitos [elders] and record their memories, a practice historians call “oral history.” His family members and other Hispanics who lived in the villages along the Río Puerco remember well the farming and ranching life. Below, speaking in casual, New Mexican Spanish, Eduardo Valdez recalls the early days and the best cowboy around, Don Teodoro.

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This Don Teodoro, and several others, not only him, because there were several horsemen there in Guadalupe, they say one day they penned up a herd of horses in a corral. And long ago they used to put two long poles on the corral and then they'd put a beam on top, like a cross. All right. So they penned up a herd of horses and they say this man Don Teodoro told his buddies, he told them: “I'm going to mount whichever horse I wish. You guys just open the gate.” He just grabbed the whip, you see, and he hung from that pole, from the beam. And they opened the gate for the herd of horses, and as it was heading out, Don Teodoro landed snugly on top of one of the horses, and off it goes this horse with him, practically killing itself but it didn't buck him off. A bit later, after the horse tired itself out, following a good lashing with the whip, the horse returned with Don Teodoro still on him, without a bridle or anything, and he put it in the corral. And that's the way it was.

The late Teodoro was a brave horseman, and I knew him. True. He was a lot older than me, when we worked together. He was very tough with horses, with cattle, in roping, in whatever. He was very tough with animals. And I'm telling you, I gained a lot of experience with animals from him, how to handle them and everything, because I worked side by side with him. There is Guadalupe, right there where your Daddy has his cattle, right there.

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Este don Teodoro, y varios otros, no nomás él, porque había varios que eran hombres de a caballo aí en Gualupe, un día es que encerraron una caballada en un corral. Y más antes ponían dos palos largos en un corral y loo le ponían una viga arriba, como una cruz. Gueno. Es que encerraron una caballada y este don Teodoro es que les dijo a sus compañeros, es que les dijo: “Yo me subo, en el caballo que yo quiera. Ustedes les abren la puerta.” Y es que agarró nomás la cuarta, ves, y se colgó de allá del palo ese, de la viga. Y le abrieron la puerta a la caballada y cuando iba saliendo, cayó encajao don Teodoro en uno de los caballos, y aquí va con él matándose aquel animal y no lo tiró. Y a poco, acaso después de que ya se cansó el caballo, a puros cuartazos, golvió con don Teodoro, sin freno y sin nada, y lo metió al corral. Y asina es que era.

Era muy hombre de a caballo el dijunto Teodoro, y yo lo conocí. Gueno. Ya él era muncho mayor que yo, cuando trabajábanos juntos. Pus era muy garrudo: pa los caballos, pa la vaca, pa lazar, pa lo que juera. Muy garrudo pa los animales. Y estoy en decirte que de él agarré yo muncha experiencia de animales, en manejalos y en todo, porque yo trabajaba junto con él. Ai en Gualupe, onde mesmo tiene las vacas tu Daddy, ai mesmo.