Tuesday, May 22, 2018

El Mercado


(Oxnard grocery market of the past, 1972. Notice Spanish mispelling for "prices")

An excerpt from manuscript 2.

Grocery stores of Ventura County reinforced the Mexican culture of the home. Particularly on weekends, markets, large and small, named Santa Cruz, Bob’s, Grandpa's, and Raines bustled with parents, grandparents, and a chingo (a whole bunch) of children. Mexican shoppers of diverse residency, races, and citizenship that crowded such spaces often referred to themselves, sometimes disparagingly and at other times affectionately, as la chicanada—the hoi polloi of Mexico.

Pleated and sunbaked skin marked the countenances of adults, especially the old; men often walked with gruesome bloodshot eyes overexposed to the sunrays reflected from the soil. The sinew and veins of the arms and hands of women and men exhibited not only a worn strength but also the sacrifice made to purchase the anticipated manna to delight themselves and their brood.

Patrons jostled each other as they scooped rice and pinto bean from giant bins into brown paper sacks, fingered through fruits and vegetables, and stood in front of the butcher section to select fresh cuts of pork, beef, and poultry.

Meanwhile, niƱos cried and screamed; children, well, acted as such as they teased each other, pleaded for toys and treats, as well as lane-split grocery carts. All throughout, a Spanish-language cacophony of parental admonishments (apaciguasen,vas a ver,ven aqui!) radio music, conversations, and debates filled the air.
(Los Angeles Public Library)

And to complete el mandado (grocery shopping) family parties serried the checkout with furtive glances of wonder, frustration, and desire.

C/S
fpb

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