Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Hold Up: A Border Saga. Part I

Part one of a series I'll be working on.

Holden, New Mexico is the kind of place where hell wisps up in dust clouds and heaven bears down with the sun. Everyone sweats into their shirts and complains until they go into an air conditioned store, then they complain to the cashier about how hot it is who always agrees. The whole town is like a pretty downtown area so you can’t justify driving to the places in town unless you’re too old to walk, most people just park their cars in front of the grocery store and make small talk about when their town would get a Wal-Mart.

Everything seemed to revolve around church, it wasn’t all that bad except there were three churches in the town and even though everyone worked together and went to school together, the churches were like tribes. When push comes to shove, you stick with your own.

This was the mindset that permeated who you associated with, for example: a Babtist wouldn’t exactly dance with a Morman, though a nod to reassure the existence of both would suffice. But the cardinal sin was to not go to church, that was an easy to identify someone always delivered with a whisper.

This wasn’t all there was to be said about the people of Holden. Many things had certainly improved even in the last ten years. The internet had come to town, someone even had a hybrid car. But it was seen as a red herring because no one had forgotten the windmills that lumbered twenty miles north. Excitement over something new was always reserved anyway, which played into the churches’ hands and gave them a chance to promote “old time religion“. In fact, to check out how many people were strident believers in “old time religion” one only had to check out the churches’ website. But we’ll keep that quiet.

Holden played oblivious to illegal immigration though it was close enough to the border to be affected in every way. To travel out of town into the really rural areas you’d find gardeners who hired Mexican Men when their land became too much to take care of. You’d see warehouses where undocumented workers were stacking crates and driving forklifts. There might be a loaded down truck with hay piled five feet up and there would be a foot pop out and slide back in quickly.

At night there were no minute men here. There might be a coyote calling and if the moon was full enough you might see a father and a mother clutching two scared children as they made the border run. But more often than not, it would just a father and sometimes his son or his brother. The children stayed in Mexico.



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