Saturday, January 29, 2011

Victor aka Cuba


In a life affirming demonstration of the importance of getting off the tarmac, the day before yesterday I hung a right toward the mountains and met Victor Hernandez herding 500 borregos north to Antonito, Colorado.  Between my halting Spanish and his sweet, talkative self I learned he'd be herding his woolly charges to Antonito in quatro dias, four days.  That's five miles or so a day. Victor was camping with the sheep, two collies he called the Daddy and the Puppy, pronounced Poopy, and a pistola for los coyotes.  It was a regular time warp.  What the hell year is this?


Anyway, I tried to find out where he had come from and how long he'd been here.  Since he used the words Florida and Zacatecas I deduced he was Mexican.  But about that time his patron Alfonso Abeyta pulled up with a load of firewood and I learned the rest of the story. Victor is, in fact, Cuban and was a boat person who escaped to Florida around 1965. Check. His wife is from Zacatecas. Check. A Cuban shepherd in northern New Mexico.  Makes perfect sense to me.

"I call him Cuba." Patron Alfonso told me.  It's one one heck of a story and a cool nickname to boot.