So about that unemployed business. I talked about it last night. 33 and jobless. Sounds like a good ad for a dating website. Heck, three years ago I would’ve dated me! But here’s some juice for thought.
Ehem. Yesterday I was juicing oranges that I had left over from my in-laws. Yes, I juice my own oranges. After I milk the cow and before I churn the butter I juice my oranges. My in-laws are nice people, who just so happen to be agricultural workers outside of Bakersfield, in McFarland. It is a far land. Our visits are usually five hours round trip without traffic.
So these delicious oranges I squeeze after the cow and before the butter are all harvested by them, organic and superb!
Okay, so this is what usually happens. When we are ready to leave they go into the back yard and pick a million bags of oranges. Then we (my hubby and I) go to all the relatives we know giving away oranges like mad. We keep like three big bags and we never finish the oranges! Then there are fruit flies! oh boy.
So I tell my husband, don’t take so many this time. No es bueno.
His sister is carrying the bags to our car and I feel like an asshole already because i’m not helping. I don’t know why, i’m lame sometimes? She is strong as an OX though. And we get to the trunk and she says in English, which she really doesn’t do too often, “this is good. you can sell .”
And I love her. I love my in-laws. They are so kind and so humble and so quiet. They laugh when it’s funny and they’re reverent when it calls for it. They are just cool. They like me and respect me…so that’s nice. They work six days a week. and there kids have no babysitter. They just trust that everything will work out fine. They remind me of my grandpa because they just do it. They have fruit tress and roses that would make the Queen of England jealous. Its a nice place to be. They love God and Family and my husband….so to me they are alright.
But this selling of the oranges business!! When she mentioned I sell them…I immediately saw myself at an orange juice stand with little cups and picktail braids. Or like how they do in the Hamptons. “Take oranges leave cash, I trust you”, kind of business.
It didn’t even occur to me to that she probably meant to get out there on the street/freeway entrance and sell oranges. The way so many of our people (in my culture) do. Not to be a jerk, but it never occurred to me until I started juicing the oranges. Then I felt bad. Why didn’t it occur to me? Why am I so daft sometimes? Would i actually do it? Would they call me a wetback? They already see my in-laws this way. Would my husband be proud, curious or ashamed?
Would I be proud, curious or ashamed? Because when I see young men selling flowers and fruit, I smile at them. I DONT PITY THEM! Sometimes I may even buy something, if the planets align and i’m stopped at a red light. I smile and think, “He’s doing everything he can! good for him! No sign needed here!” I’m proud that “my people” are not a lazy people.
But what about me? Why is this good enough for them but not me? Why is this their best and my last last last resort? Who do i think i am?
Just who do we think we are?!
One of my sisters recently called my brother in-law a wetback. she said they were wetbacks. And the most damning part was I didnt say anything to rebuke it. I didnt stand up for them. I just kinda stayed quiet and was taken back a bit. First of all, you don’t say anything to her without world wars ensuing. So i let it pass. I don’t know if she meant it, or if she was just trying to stick up for me. He made a comment about me looking like a “white girl” because i got highlights. I wasn’t offended really really. surprised mostly. everyone has their own style. hes got his boots and i have my caramel colored hair. we cool. i genuinely like the guy.
The backlash…the immediate response was….”WETBACK”
If you say it about him, then you’re saying it about my husband and that’s where a fine line is drawn.
What could they say about us i wonder? hmmm.
I wondered though. Could i do it? Would i ever? What would they call me? Say?
“Oh just cuz she married a wetback doesn’t mean she has to sell oranges”
I’d love to say to you that i’m going to grab those oranges and sell them proudly. I’m not. But I am proud that I belong to a family that isn’t too proud at all. They dont place themselves in the place of honor at the banquet table the way my family and I do. I’m just being honest. I have used wetty (wetback) or chunthi more times than I can say. But thats the first time it hurt. Because it’s a slap in the face of my husband. And in time that will be rectified.
Its like when you say RETARDED! Then you have a child that has autism or some developmental disability and now its the worst word ever. It stings when you hear it. Or when you say NIGGER and/or NIGGA and then you happen to fall in love with and have a beautiful black baby with someone. If someone says that…..its like acid in your ears.
I realized that I may be too egotistical to sell oranges on the freeway. But i’m not too shallow to recognize what i found. A new family that is teaching me what life is really about. Walking humbly. Having a quiet spirit. Not taking too much. Giving back. Not priding oneself above another. Hard work. Real work. Familia. Respect. Generosity. They arent perfect. They arent stylish. They arent great looking. But like one of my favorite scriptures in the bible says….
“Charm is deceptive, beauty is useles; the woman who is wise is the one to praise.
May she enjoy the fruits of her labor and may all praise her for her works.” -Proverbs 31:30-31
So this is dedicated to my sister in-law Monica. Your hands are eaten by the vines you tend,but your heart is tended by the hands of God. And to my humble kind husband…You are my rock. You deserve God’s finest.
(Stop saying wetback