(Photo: Emilia Preciado, isn’t she pretty?)
During their first year of marriage, Nabor and Emilia flourished on my Great-Great Grandfather Porfirio’s ranch in Miraplanes, Jalisco. Emilia easily won over Porfirio with her compassion, her hard work, and her food. Porfirio was crippled from the waist down and needed some serious attention which Emilia provided and then some. For crying out loud, she made corn tortillas and frijoles from scratch for the man! How could he not love her? Porfiro’s legs became extremely damaged after he ate beef from a cow that he didn’t realize was diseased. My Grandpa Next Door explained that they simply did not know about those things back in Porfirio’s time. Thank you, FDA! Out of desperation, Porfirio turned to the local brujas and curanderos to heal him. They succeeded in getting a lot of money out of my Double Great, but not in fixing his legs.
Porfirio allowed Nabor to work on two parcels of his land; each parcel was 12 acres. So Nabor got to work and planted pinto beans and corn on one parcel, and flooded the other parcel so that he could plant garbanzo beans on it later. The fertile ground of Miraplanes was very good to Nabor.
He only had to plow the ground once here as opposed to the three times he had to plow in Mixtlan. The only nuisance were the rattlers and a strange spiky plant that would cut Nabor up from time to time. That goes to show you how difficult it was to work the land in Mixtlan if venomous snakes and razor sharp vegetation were no big deal in comparison. Grandpa Next Door said he only did half of the preparations in one section of the land and it still grew a perfect crop naturally which would have never happened on his dad’s ranch. In fact, Nabor had such a good corn crop he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with all of it. On top of that he also had to figure out what do with all of the pinto beans. Grandpa Next Door perked up when he described his solution. He always perks up when he talks about farming.
First he built a patio cover so that he and Emilia could work in the shade. Then, when the pinto bean plants were ready, he pulled them and hung them on the corn to dry out. After four weeks, Nabor and Emilia began collecting the dry bean plants and beating them with sticks to harvest the pinto beans. Nabor made a killing when he sold them in town afterwards. Now he just had to figure out what to do with his huge corn crop. After harvesting it, he sold some, but still had a ton left over. So he cleared out one of Porfirio’s rooms and filled it with corn from floor to ceiling. They were set and he still had the other parcel which had irrigated and was ready to be planted with garbanzo beans. With all of the prosperity that Nabor and Emilia had found in Miraplanes the last thing that they were thinking about was returning to Mixtlan. Before he could get started with the garbanzo beans, however, Nabor’s mom convinced him to come home for a visit.
What are you going to say when your mom tells you to come home because she hasn’t seen you for a year and misses you? “Sorry, Mom. I’m too busy planting garbanzo beans to come and see you…” Unthinkable. So Nabor and Emilia left Porfirio along with their independence, the first home they had known together, and a room filled with corn to go back to Mixtlan for what they thought was going to be a short visit. The young couple had grossly underestimated the power of a mother’s guilt trip. While he was home Grandpa Next Door’s mom convinced him to stay. They never lived on the ranch in Miraplanes again.
Oh, don’t worry about Great Great Grandpa Porfirio. He was just fine. He had a few of his kids living with him and his wife Antonia was still alive to take care of him too. Porfirio lived for more than twenty years after Nabor and Emilia left. He spent those years taking care of his ranch and his goats. His wife, my Great Great Grandma Antonia lived to be 103 years old, walked faster than the young Nabor did back then, and drank a beer everyday of her life. She also invented the jello shot…