Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Matanza for Patricia

"Hey, Bonnie!  Ya gotta come to the Mantanza for Patricia tomorrow!  It's out Isleta Blvd - bring Mike!  He'll like it!"  says Ron Paiz at Grandparents Day at St. Mary's School in Albuquerque.


Ron's daughter Patricia Paiz is running for Bernalillo County Commissioner (District 2) in the General Election coming up November 8th.  Patricia is outside of our District in the Northeast Heights of Albuquerque - but, hey, we gotta find out what a Matanza is!

In this country there is no better place to find the preservation of the old Spanish ways than New Mexico, as this state is well known for having been isolated hundreds of years by vast rugged distances and warring Indians.  In this case, the matanza was more of a political celebration event for Patricia - she also invited some of her fellow candidates on the ballot for Supreme Court (Nakamura), Secretary of State (Nora Espinosa), Judges.

So well preserved are the origins of the American West that even the 15th century "foundation" livestock scarcely available in other parts of the world thrive in New Mexico. You can still find descendants of the rugged, enduring, power house-in-a-small-package Spanish Barb horses, Churra sheep, and Corriente cattle. You can hear cowboy history in the old, spoken Spanish. Although these old vaqueros are increasingly hard to find, there remain a few smaller than average, more rugged than average Onate colony decendents who will speak to you in the 15th century Spanish of the conquistadores preserved through fifteen generations of oral tradition.

Happily, to this day, the romance of wide open western spaces lives on in New Mexico. The Spanish caballero, already sporting a legacy of proud horsemanship even before Columbus' arrival in North America, saw the first rodeos whenever young vaqueros had some free time, an opportunity to turn work into play, and to show off their skills.

Cooking is part of the fun ... isn't it?
 During the time of these first rodeos standardized rules and point systems were developed to determine who would win the vaquero competitions. "Jueces de campo," or rodeo judges presided over the rodeos to settle ownership disputes and assure that stock were branded correctly. Generally the vaqueros tended the stock on the open range until it was time to sell, brand, or butcher the animals. Anyone of these events required a rounding up of the animals - "al rodear." This was called a rodeo.

The killing (butchering) of an animal which frequently accompanied a rodeo was called a "matanza." The first recorded references to a Rodeo in the official republic of the United States are made in old New Mexico family journals.
Garrett lassoes his Dad, Ron Jr.

As matanza researcher Cynthia Martin explains “A traditional Matanza is a family and community-gathering event, with friends and neighbors helping in the labor-intensive job of processing a large pig, goat or sheep”.
So Bonnie and I had to help - see the photo, yes, we're cooking!  ? .. Sorta ...

“Taking at least an entire day, the process goes from the slaughtering the animal and butchering the meat to cooking the various meat products and preparing what is left for distribution and storage. Of course all those helpers also need to be fed, so the women in the family plan and prepare large amounts of food for the event.”

Today some Matanza celebrations are coming back. They are more in the tradition of Home cooking, Family and friends in the 21st century.
A special thanks to Patricia's donors and to all who participated in this Matanza, which we now realize is an ancestral legacy, left from the espanos. Historically the celebration was done in the winter to prevent spoilage and so the tradition is carried on in the winter today too.  But this one had to occur on a weekend prior to Nov 8th.  Don't forget to vote!
Bill Reed:  photographer and spouse of the Candidate!

Ron Paiz Sr, Rafael Padilla, Bernadine Paiz - our hosts!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hirsch Cousins Reunion: Nebraska - Sept 2016

   What an absolutely fabulous reunion!  Jim and Jan Webster, Patti Sue and Mike Gulley, Myrna and Ron Osborn, put so much into this, that I'm sure all the attendees will be talking about these great times for years!

  A major portion of Reunions is memories, and so many new ones were created over 23-25 Sept 2016.   A few of my favorites:

  • Friday dinner at the Albion Country Club, at the big rectangular table where Jim invited everyone to introduce themselves - that was quite interactive, and great fun!  Bethyne Hirsch Noble of Albion, the granddaughter of Jacob Friedrich "Uncle Jake" Hirsch (b. 11-17-1881), was a great addition and brought more clippings, family genealogy trees, and memories.

  • The Mystery Bus Tour - dang, that was an adventure!  and I was so impressed that even Aunt Pat hiked over to the old school house.  What is more perfect than a cemetery in the rain.  I enjoyed very mile on the Mystery Bus -  

  • Harry Heinie Hirsch - I had no idea he was even in the family, but Harry and his pet pig were a huge hit.  Or should I say lightning strike # 4.

  • Myrna and Ron Osborn's Sunday BarBQue - here we also saw Judy Dorau, who was going to be there no matter what!  And a group photo of 'blood cousins' with Aunt Pat featuring Ron Osborn's 1948 International, complete with corn dispenser!
  • Name Tags - thanks for doing this!   By Sunday I was the only one still loyally wearing my name tag!

This reunion of the Hirsch Cousins (and Harry and Pork Chop) was an absolutely delightful experience. Please contact any of the attendees for additional photos and information.

here is bit of the bio of Harold Heinrich (aka "Harry Heinie") Hirsch - for more details, contact Patti Sue:
  Harry was born in 1945 in Germany and first struck by lightning when he was 8 yrs. old.   He lost his hearing and was sent to Internat für taube Kinder (a boarding school for deaf children).  A year later he was struck again while playing on the Klettergerüst (Monkey Bars) at the school.  He regained his hearing and was returned to his home. The following summer he was struck a 3rd time while crossing an open field.  His parents were very concerned for his safety and for his mental state.  He was becoming increasingly nervous and anxious.  When ever storm clouds appeared he would barricade himself in the root cellar.  They decided to send him to the United States to live with Jake Hirsch in Boone County NE.  He adjusted to life on the Hirsch farm and was very happy and a hard working boy.  His hearing was not good and his ears had a constant ringing and buzzing.  That is probably why he did not hear an approaching storm one year after his arrival in Nebraska.  He was sitting on a stool out by the horse tank and focused on whittling a toy fiddle.  The bolt that struck this time threw him across the tank and into the cow pasture.  He jumped up and began running down the county road.  He didn’t stop running until he reached Beaver Creek, which was flooding out of its banks.
   After several happy years Harry one day strayed away from the cabin while searching for one of his porkers that was missing. Too late he noticed the gathering storm and high tailed back to the cabin as fast as he could go. Unfortunately, he was struck by lightening again, however; this time it brought back his memory.  On a clear day he returned to the Hirsch farm to tell them where he had been the past 3 years. They wanted him to move back to the farm but he felt compelled to dig a bigger and better subterranean dwelling about half way between the Hirsch farm and the McSwine cabin.  This new home was called “Harry’s Porker Palace,” and at the Porker Palace only the pigs live above ground.
   Harry carries a jug of Kickapoo Joy Juice with him at all times. And, he takes his pet pig “Pork Chop” with him wherever he goes. He thinks Pork Chop is a good luck charm that prevents lightning strikes. However it is a known scientific fact that when you have 6 contact points with the ground you are grounded and will not be struck by lightning. Harry plus Pork Chop, connected by the leash, equals six contact points. Voila!


Saturday, August 6, 2016

An Evening with Fred Harvey

When circumstances forced Rob and Susie Easterling to relinquish their tickets, Bonnie and I were able to partake of "An Evening with Fred Harvey" in Las Vegas, NM on Friday, 5 pm on 5 August 2016.  It began with a self-guided tour of the once fabulous Castaneda Hotel with each room highlighted by Harvey Girls in full costume.  
Bonnie and the dapper Fred Harvey (or a replica thereof, since Fred passed from this world in 1901)

A Harvey Girl outlines the kitchen techniques 
The bakery of the Castaneda would provide fresh baked goods (delivered by train, of course - sometimes in refrigerated cars).  The kitchen of the Castaneda would receive the orders for lunch by telegram by passengers on the train, and have them ready to serve by the time the train reached the station.

Once we completed the tour of the Castaneda, we headed over to the other end of Allan Affeldt's bookends in Las Vegas:  the Plaza Hotel where we enjoyed artichoke heart dip and duck quesadillas while we listened to a presentation by Dr. Nick Gerlich of West Texas A&M University, based on the book "Appetite for America" by Stephen Fried.  

Prof.Gerlich taught us two new words:  hiraeth (Welsh:  yearning to go back to a place or time you once experienced; similar to nostalgia); and anemoia (yearning to go back to a place that you never actually experienced).  

Why can't the restoration of the Castaneda proceed?  Turns out that all the finance pieces, including the elusive tax credits, must be in place before work can commence.  Here's a recent response from the Executive Director of the New Mexico Tax Credit Authority:

Thank you for letter regarding the Castaneda Hotel.  We fully understand your excitement for the project and have great regard for Mr. Affeldt and his experience with historic hotels.

The New Mexico Finance Authority operates a company called Finance New Mexico, which is one of many federal New Markets Tax Credit providers in the nation.  Our program utilizes established criteria to rank applications seeking financing.  To date, the applications filed on behalf of the Castaneda/Plaza Hotels have not reached the required points necessary to move on.  Given the way our program operates and the way in which Mr. Affeldt is developing these projects, it’s possible that there may not be a fit.  However, it’s possible that the project can move forward with another NMTC provider.  The New Mexico Finance Authority expects to open another round of applications in September and all projects located in qualified, rural communities are encouraged to apply.

Thank you again for your letter.