Green Chile Anyone? Mexicans & Friendship a Labor of Love

The news has had alot to show about the demonstations regarding those who have crossed the border of the USA illegally. Now I am not a proponet of letting everyone in. Our nation simply cannot take all the worlds masses. I know many nations would not want to come here anyway. For the most part, however, the news has shown people gathering with placards and signs on this issue.

Many of those were Mexicans. I grew up with Mexicans, Indians, Spainards, and cowboys. I could point to many types of people in all groups. Some good, some bad. The mexicans, however, were usually in gangs in my home town. That is the young people had gangs. I’m sure the adults would of wanted no gangs. Being a white, we had our own gangs. We did alot of things that were not good. I’m not proud of those days.

The thing that stands out are some of the people. For this article I will speak of the mexicans I knew. The first time I knew what green stuff was, which looked like a gravy, I was asked “you want some of this over your huevos”? “Yea, sure”, I replied, not knowing what it was. One bite later and I was in a greenish-yellowish nightmare of hot. Even today, I remember Mama Martinez’s green chile that was put over my eggs. It was her son I ran around with. His name was Martin.

Then there is the time Ernie Montoya and his group were visited by myself and friend Martin Martinez. There was a stack of beer cans in the corner. These guys and gals had been partying for some time. It was daylight, on a school morning and we passed by their place on to school. After we entered, Martin left to do something, and that left me alone on the couch. Pretty soon Ernie came up and sat alongside. He had a beer can in one hand and a switch blade in the other. After a thump from plopping down hard, Ernie opened the blade and put it up against my throat. “what ya goin to do whitey”..smiled Ernie with a beer breath. I looked at him and said “nothing, nothing at all”. Ernie burst out laughing and slapped me on the back.

I left this neck of the woods and moved to a city some hundred miles away. Over the next course of ten to fifteen years I was a Chef and manager in many restaurants. I came to know many illegals. In those days, they were the only help I could find. No one else wanted to work. I came to know them as hard working men and women. Most could not speak english very well. So I had to learn spanish. It was a broken work I had to speak this language. But overall I could communicate what I needed done. I never knew any of them to steal or drink on the job. Maybe I was just lucky. Those Mexicans I knew and worked with became a fabric with me.

I fondly remember the recipes I learned. Working with many mexican women, I would watch how they re-fry the pinto beans with bacon grease. As well, I would smell the pot of rice that just came out of the oven with spanish rice in it. From green chile to red chile and enchiladas and more, I tasted and cooked my way with many a mexican. When they first passed the law that required the mexicans to have cards, it hurt. We could not find anyone to help.

This puts me in a fond memory of one day on Interstate 80. I was Sous Chef at a very large Truck Stop. We did tremendous business. On staff were many mexicans, cooks, janitors, bussers, dishwashers, and the like. I was pouring out a large vat of prepped sauces when the word got around the Immigration people were pulling up. Those words are like a bomb going off. Before I knew it I was virtually alone in that huge kitchen. The enforcers came in. They looked at me in that large kitchen and took a look around the place. After a shrug of the shoulders they headed out back to see if they could catch up with all the mexicans that left in hurry. Out back was a large desert full of cactus and prarrie dogs. Miles and miles of it. After a number of hours my help returned. They hadn’t caught them afterall. I was glad, too much work all by myself. If they had been caught, I usually would see them back on the job within two weeks. I don’t know how they did it, but they always seemed to find a way back.

To this day I still have mexican friends who worked with me. They greet me whenever we see each other. Usually shopping. We all have grown older and the kids are raised now, but we are all legal. They smile and tell me how things are going as the realization that they now are legal americans. These whom I have met and worked with are genuine friends. I take it to heart when I think of them. I also have had mexican gangs who were evil and beat me up. But in this life there is bitter and the sweet. I have had the “sweetness” of friendship from across the border.

I relate all this to say, there has to be a solution to all this. I know we cannot take everyone in. It is also a reality that there are bad people who want to hurt us here. They don’t care who we are mexican or white, yellow or pale. They want to kill us simply because we are a free country and we are americans. I have laughed heartily with many of my Mexican compadres and worked along side them. It with much gratitude to the Good Lord that I knew them. Too bad we have to have bad apples, hatred, and strife along the way..

I hope this helps you today to appreciate a friend, no matter where they are fromGreen Chile Anyone? Mexicans & Friendship a Labor of Love
By: Dana Smith

Dana G Smith is a Writer, Author of the Book D Day for America ,is the Watchman of

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