Valley Beyond the River's Edge

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

I was born to a sharecropper’s son in a valley beyond the boundaries of despair, nestled in the cradle of disillusionment and discouragement. It was the prologue to my existence and my resistance. And I remember it well.

VALLEY BEYOND THE RIVER'S EDGE

By Al Garcia

I was born to a sharecropper’s son in a valley beyond the boundaries of despair, nestled in the cradle of disillusionment and discouragement.  It was the prologue to my existence and my resistance.  And I remember it well. 

I remember my father, a man of character and pride.  I remember my mother, a woman of substance and courage.  And I remember the days before the gates swung open and the walls came tumbling down.  I remember the sadness even as a child, of life among the lowly and the humble. We were the beast of burden, young and old, whose hunched backs were seen on the cotton fields, picking the white fiber off the plants that flourished in the golden soil.  We were the reapers and gathers seen fighting the oceans of tall sugar canes that thrived in the valley’s soil and lined the pockets of the “patrón,” or landowner.  We were the unseen and the unheard.  And I remember it all, even as a child.

 

This was the valley beyond the river’s edge.  Beyond the calm and flowing waters of the Rio Grande.  Beyond the manicured fields that enriched the few and enslaved the many who sought the indignities of life along the Rio Grande rather than enduring the slow and daunting death amidst the hopelessness of a promise that evaded them.  It was never easy to be Mexican along the Rio Grande in the days before we were recognized as part of the human race.  But it was an existence based on hope and dreams and faith. 

It was our ancestors who endured and persevered the indignities of life in a valley beyond the river’s edge.  Their hopes and dreams and faith silently fighting the bigotry and animosity that they confronted each day and each night.  The betrayal of their dignity and sometimes even the abandonment of their self-respect was never an obstacle but the basis of their heart and soul, the very essence that sustained them.  Their acceptance of their plight, dismal as it was, enriched their spirit and gave them strength, courage and persistence. That indefinable spark of benevolence still flows and glows within me. 

I am proud to have been born an American.  But I am also proud of my ancestry and my ancestors.  They were the dreamers.  They were the reason for the changing of the seasons that transformed the valley along the river’s edge. 

And to see the return of those bygone days along our river’s edge brings back remembrances of times suppressed but not forgotten. 


Submitted: May 24, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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