Five to nine

Have a drink.

October 20, 2004

Prohibida la entrada...

a mujeres, menores de edad y hombres uniformados.
The town in Mexico where my kinship lies, Jalpa Zacatecas, is in the state with the most expatriates to the United States. The town is very old. The catholic churches in the center are hundreds of years old. Up to about 50 years ago, the population was very widely distributed, most people lived in surrounding ranches, and the actual town had only a few hundred residents, and only about a dozen surnames that really mattered. Among them, those of my predecessors, Don Martin Sandoval, Don Froylan Sandoval, Don Simeon Sandoval. On Sundays, when the ranchers would come into town for mass and market day, they could also wet their whistles at "Bar La Jungla" or the jungle bar, owned by my great, great uncle Simeon; called the jungle bar because of the taxidermy decorating motif, you see my uncle was an avid hunter and he kept all his best trophies at his bar. His Brother, my great grandfather Martin had a herd of milk cattle, but he tended Don Simeon's bar with his free time. My uncle Simeon raised a semi-free range herd of Zebu which required less attention, so he spent most of his work time at the bar. My grandfather, though a youth, was the steward of the Governor's (Don Leobardo Reynoso) horses at the time, and with his free time backed for the bar. The funny thing is, neither my grandfather nor his father were ever drinkers. Across the street from the plaza, was the competition, a bar that was older than my uncles, in a handsome stone-masonry building.
Though the town looks much different, and has a population of about 22,000, not including a HUUUUGE expatriate contingency, both those two bars still stand. My family being liberal and progressive, willed the land evenly to daughters and sons alike, so the Jungle bar is much smaller than it once was, and next door are two boutiques run by wonderful women. Not all of the old families were as progressive as ours though. The competition that stands across the plaza is still there, still the same size, and still has much the same patronage as it did a long time ago. And in case anyone ever gets a funny idea, it still has the same sign it did half-a-hundred years ago. "No women, minors or uniformed men allowed."


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