INCIDENTS OF My TRAVELS to
NEVER SEEKING ADVENTURE YET ADVENTURE FINDS ME
Idle conversation we get to know each other.
In retrospect I realize what Jim was doing. My getting lost the night before had him concerned. If I was not able to get my bearings along the beach so near to camp my traveling across five kilometers of open terrain was likely to be hazardous. So he starts pointing out what the tracker in him notices as second nature, landmarks and signs along our path. Distinctions in an otherwise typical terrain.
Not knowing this at the time I paid attention. I too scared because of a repeat last night’s embarrassment. Five kilometers is to great to go searching for an idiot wandering aimlessly.
As we continued on Jim starts telling the meaning of his name, to break the monotony. He explains his Irish roots; the telling signs of the red hair were typical. But unlike the Irish his accent was totally a southern drawl, not a hint of the familiar elocution.
Purdy derives from Anglo-Norman French word pur die (by God), a nickname given for someone who made frequent use of the oath. A utterance which, now upon reflection, was frequently spoken by Jim these upcoming days.
“By Gawd well finish this by sunset!”
I explain to them that Cabrera is Portuguese for sheep (calf) herder, a shepherd. I was surprised to learning because I always assumed Spanish origins. My paternal family, whose name is the predominant, was of Indian lineage while my mother’s Spanish. My father’s father, always with a history book leafed open, recounted that our area of Mexico was populated by two native tribes, the Otomi and the Tarasco. Our town was evidently associated more with the Otomi tribe but my grandfather would balk that we were definitely of Tarasco descent, simply because they were better organized. Adamant in this belief, it was a point of honor for him because of his precise and trusted organizational skills. In his younger days, while elected as our hometown’s representative in government (we would get our own city hall and mayor in 2010), assigned to zone the town’s streets and give them names, he chose Spanish and Indian historical figures to name them all. The names which remain long after his passing in the coming decades, these days as I now walk the town streets and I see the placards on the corner walls and fondly remember him and his tales.
He also worked as the town’s only telephone operator. Hand crank phones with plug cables linking one end of a country to another. A lone booth at the other end of the shack for at the cost of a simple toston (fifty cent piece) people can connect with others in privacy. The telephone shack was the hub of social information in town, there was not a piece of town gossip that he was not privy to, and all trusted him implicitly. My whole life as I will remember long summers sitting with him in that shack as we told each other tales. Sometimes we would sit in silence as he wrote his poetry and I would read his history books during lull times. These were my vivid memories of content and informed youth would stay with me forever. My lifelong love affair with historic tales and endless reading of books are due to his influence.
“So yeah,” I say as these memories flood. “That’s where my name comes from.”
“Mizu Nohara” says Harry. We look at him puzzled.
“That is Water and Field in Japanese.” He offers no further explanations.
With that said our conversation ends and we continue on our trek. Approaching a group of young Sitka Spruce trees we zig-zag through them to another clearing beyond. The clearing another field of tall grass with more bear trails veering north and leading us back to the same ravine we encountered miles back. We descend to the creek below, knee deep with water we follow its edge a bit further to some rocks that would make the crossing easier.
Slick and difficult to maintain balance especially with a heavy burden on our backs we cross cautiously. A few feet from this crossing is our destination. Equipment waiting there for us, abandoned by the previous group late in the summer it sits unmolested. Now they are there for our use.
About the Author
I have always ended up in unexpected places. So I present a collection of my tales told over the years. Places that due to circumstances I might never go on my own accord.