Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Life around Arivaca

This weekend my uncle as usual went into town. On Saturday we went to the post office, the coffee shop, the dump, the farmers market and the general store. Like in most traditional communities the market is a source not only of goods, but more importantly information. Sometimes the best things in life really are free.

At the coffee shop I picked up the town's monthly paper, "Connection." It is also free. Mary Kasulaitis, our librarian has a really interesting article on the woman who built Arivaca's mainstreet in the 1890s, Teresa Celaya, an alleged prostitute from Sonora. The ruined adobe building next to La Gitana Cantina used to be her saloon. She also owned the building where the hardware store is now. She died at age 102 in 1937.

At the farmers market we purchased some more prickly pear glaze and jelly. We also saw a bunch of college aged girls involved with "No More Deaths." Best, I can tell they are Yankee "do gooders" making it easier for illegal aliens to cross over the Sonora Desert by providing them with free supplies. You can always spot people who are not from Arivaca by the way they dress and the color of their skin. You almost go, "look, white people." Believe it or not my uncle and I used to be white. No really, we were. At anyrate these visitors seemed to have some incorrect ideas about the people and town of Arivaca. One of them wrote an unflattering blog entry here about us. I left a comment on her blog attempting to dispel some of her anti-rural prejudices. Arivaca in particular is a unique community that really defies stereotypes. I encourage other people with knowledge of our community to also go and comment on her blog. I also request that all such comments be civil and aimed at educating rather than insulting. I am going to have more to say on the falsity of the stereotype of rural=ignorant and unsophisticated later on this week.

At the market Kyle Young, who has an incredible store of knowledge on local edible plants, informed us that the gourds growing on our property were "totally inedible." That leaves us with mesquite beans and prickly pear. My uncle got us a bucket to store the mesquite pods until we mill them at the festival on the 30th. Now, I just need to motivate myself to go out there and pick pods.

On Sunday we went to a pancake breakfest at the old school house. Prickly pear syrup goes really well with pancakes. The school house was built when Arizona was still a territory. We became the last of the lower 48 states admitted to the Union in 1912. The school shut down in 1953. Now children are bused a considerable distance north to attend classes.

I am going to start having a regular feature on the town based on our weekend excursions. I will introduce you to the town and the people that make it unique. Despite some abandoned buildings, we have a vibrant and living community. Like alot of things in the desert it is just not readily apparent to people just passing through.


Rebecca Bowman Woods said...

Hey Otto, Nice blog. Thanks for sharing your comments about Arivaca on my blog, even though you disagreed with my first impression of the town. It's not that I equate rural with ignorant. Not at all. I'll check out the coffee shop and local newspaper if I'm ever back there.

Meanwhile, you might want to check out the No More Deaths web site, www.nomoredeaths.org, for more information about them. I doubt they are attracting border crossers with their "free supplies," although that is a commonly-circulated misconception. You can't exactly mail a packet of crackers and a Powerade back to Chiapas or Guatemala to support the family. I am not affiliated with them, just curious about their work.

J. Otto Pohl said...

Thanks for stopping by. It took me a while of living here to get a feel for the town. I am still discovering new things every day. If you come back to Arivaca and we hope you do, I suggest trying out the Sourdough Bakery. The post office lists the various community events on its bulletin board. I think you can also find them online. The Mesquite Festival is at the Community Center on October 30th. Some of the people here like Mary or Kyle know an awful lot more than I do about this place.

Chris Conway said...

What's wrong about the "No More Deaths" group? People desperate to get into the U.S. looking for a better life should not have to die in the process. In my opinion, human life is too precious for that, regardless of one's stand on immigration issues. Thank God for Yankee do gooders... compared to southern or western neocons who don't give a damn about anything except their right to own the biggest most gas guzzling cars and live in suburbs and take pleasure in their insularity before the entire world. What would Jesus Do? As evangelicals like to ask. Well, he wouldn't be like them, or do like them, I think.

J. Otto Pohl said...

I do not think that I said NMD was doing anything wrong. I was trying to make a point about their activists being outsiders here. This was meant as a social contrast not a political point. Hence it was a bit sarcastic. For the record, I do not think anybody deserves to die of dehydration. So I don't have a problem with putting out water for people. I think this is one of those times where my authorial intent ended up with a flawed execution.

KRISTIN said...

My friend from Tucson just gave me such a poor description of Arivaca that I'm still bowled over (if that's the right expression for it LOL) I'll be more specific later ;)