Saturday, 15 December 2018

Back from the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre - cold and damp and strangely pleasant


     We went down to our place very close to the Tropic of Cancer so as to relieve our caretaker and manager who had been "under house arrest" for three weeks.  He never really complains about the longish stays, and there is plenty to do around the adobe house, the grounds, and the surrounding area.  It is said with a bit of humility on the part of your humble servant that our"Man Everyday" has considerable status in the greater area because of his position as the "Encargado (Man in Charge)".  He is remarkably talented in the blue-collar skills as well as being, although slightly presumptuous, a polished social engineer.  He is very courtly and polished in manners and compliance, as well as just arrogant enough to draw the line when he finds any untoward conduct or activity at our place or the neighbours' places.

     This particular stay proved to be a bit challenging due to the cold (temperatures ranging between 38F to 58F for the 9 - day duration).  When mixed with the almost continuous foggy, drizzly, and solid cloud deck even our thick adobe walls could not keep out the dank, chilly invasion into the interior of our abode.   True enough, I was too cheap to burn a lot of fire-wood or run a medium-sized electric heater or turn on a kitchen burner under a kettle of water continuously as a warming measure.   But now, think of the money that was saved.   Now, if I can only get out of this Sasquatch suit.

     Suffice to say, I did dress in three or four layers deep of winter-type garb, turning my image into something like a 490-pound Sasquatchespecially when I had my (mainly bald) head covered  by both a wool pull-on hood and the hood of my Sasquatch coat.  It is somewhat humiliating, to be sure, to note that the workers at the Hacienda de La Vega worked every day with a light windbreaker or even in short sleeves, without complaint or even mention during this whole episode.   

This outpouring of real-live, native, wild garlic
 vine blooming a few feet from the South end
 of our long, west-facing corridor.

    During a brief period of a bit of filtering light from "above", El Gringo Viejo happened to make a fairly nice capture of the tropical "garlic vine" putting on its show.
    The plant gains its name among the locals due to the pronounced scent one can detect by handling the leaves of the plant.  The flowers themselves do not seem to attract bees or butterflies to any level beyond the occasional, almost accidental encounter, or so it seems to me.  The flowers also have a hint of garlic on them…nice for the living room.
     Black-tailed squirrels seem to enjoy the scent, or perhaps they use some ingredient in the plant that keeps the squirrels' blood pressures in check.   Small birds and, of course, the ubiquitous swarms of hummingbirds revel in any display.

This is my photo, which I consider to be excellent, mainly
because any photo that has any focus at all is a success
for me.
    We managed to take three or four pictures that came out perhaps half-way decently.  It was not really all that humiliating for my boss-lady to show me pictures that my daughter took up in Extreme Central Texas that were better by a wide margin.  Those two womenactually all the people in the world, apparently, can take and trade out photographs in secondsany of which can humiliate anything this writer can produce.   All of the pictures on this page, however, are made under auspices of this writer (except for the one below the Monarch). 

     To the reader's left, one can see an interesting phenomena.   This is a Monarch queen, on a very cool day, fluttering around for literally hours.  Sometimes she had friends and family around, sometimes she was alone.  Several times there were a score or so dancing around the several scores of Butterfly Weed, bringing to mind the scenes around Angangeo (aha gahn GAY oh), Michoacan, in central Mexico during the depths of Winter, one of several places where billions, literally, of Monarchs pass their time waiting for the northward return in late January through  mid-March.   They would latch on to one another, forming long, long beards made entirely of slumbering Monarch Butterflies.
An example of Monarch "beards" near Angangeo, at
around 8,500 feet above sea level, and only about 80
miles west of Mexico City
     The Quinta lies on one of the fly-ways.  Another fly-way runs along the Gulf Coast.  The trek is multi-generational, usually requiring that a "family" will have to make their trips (one-way) over a  four to five per-year generational odyssey.
   When we put the adobe Quinta in place, those first years were replete with massive flights of Monarchs and Sulphurs.  Then  we  had a gradual decline,  until finally, around 2006 - 2009 one could not count on seeing a Monarch during the entire day.  Sulphurs arrived in great numbers as usual but not the Monarchs.
  Your writer conducted several excursions back in the 1980s to the preserves in the Angangeo area.   It was not an easy excursion, but the people seemed to really enjoy it.  One of the problems with it was the fact that in order to reach the centre point of the congregation of Monarchs(and only Monarchs), the people had to walk at high elevation for about 2.5 miles each way.  We would brief them about medical issues and about being certain that they were capable of such exertion.  Luckily we did not have a significant medical incident in any of the excursions.

     During the period from 1995 through 2010 there was, increasingly,  considerable "timber poaching" by illegal "forest workers" in areas that abounded in oaks, firs, spruce, and other noble trees that are both huge and old.  That, as well as several super-cold episodes, had a deleterious effect upon the Monarchs.  As usual, the "climate experts" and the other "environmental experts" assembled to repeat the truth, combined with comments about the newest murders of The Environment being committed by George Bush and the fascist Republicans and Rich peopleand Evangelical Religious Nuts.   Most of the experts announced that the Monarch was finished, and that global warming and the impending Ice Age would combine to kill off any remaining stragglers.  And the Polar Bears, too.
     The Tree Huggers Association were about half-right and about half-wrong.  Continue reading.

     However, on the way to the dance, a strange sociological thing happened.  Mexico's rural folk seemed to start being a little more committed to eleminating litter and such, and the timber poachers and buyers began to convert to becoming lower-case members of the burgeoning cartel rackets.   That meant many of those involved in the poaching would be abundantly killing each other, leaving fewer timber poachers every year, especially since around 2006 or so.   Currently, it is my understanding, that there has been significant improvement of forestry techniques.
     Some real-live do-gooders with foundation money and other tax-based resources have had considerable positive effect.  Also, the preservation of a common weed, called "milk weed" in the South and Texas has proven to be effective due to the work of local agencies and community folks along the "Monarch Highways."

     We mention here that our "neighbour", the owner of the Hacienda de La Vega, worked directly in these matters when he was in charge of four States in the Mexican Union.  He was essentially what we would title Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. That particular division, among other things, was tasked with the mission of re-planting, soil and air analysis, formation of ready and competent platoons and companies of men to attack forest fires in the rural areas, and many other improvements.
    He also co-ordinated and even flew with American helicopter pilots (many, if not all, of these guys served in Viet Nam and the first Iraq War).  Those Americans were part of a private contracting company that provided helicopter fire control throughout the North American Continent, (and yes, they were crazy).  The Mexicans loved their performance and skill…our neighbour regarded them as though they were magic, like Angels.  The platoons and companies of common Mexican rural workers and the work of the "Pilots Locos" (Crazy Pilots) reduced acreage loss by forest fire by 90% during our neighbour's tenure.

Cluster of multiple Butterfly Weeds.
It is best to not kill the caterpillars that
 might be encountered on these plants,
 because the plants are actually a
 maternity ward for Monarchs.
  The plants actually like to be eaten,
 and they almost always come back
sometimes even stronger.


     But I digress.  There are other portraits of a semi-recluse's gardens and grounds.   We urge, for instance, when planting Butterfly Weeds that it is good to cluster them,  not too closely, perhaps 18 to 24 inches from one to the other.   Plant as many as possible, because the more the offering, the more butterflies and hummingbirds one will have. 
     One can take note to the left, Butterfly Weeds, blooming fearlessly in the dead of Winter (almost).   After investing a bit of a count, it was determined that at various points of the upper property we have about 300 of these plants.

     Just behind the "castillo (castle)" is hiding what is revealed in the image just below, a red Shrimp Plant, catching a bit of sun like its neighbours.  This is also a grand attractor of hummingbird, and to a lesser degree the butterflies.
A relatively huge, one-plant only clump of a Shrimp
Plant, guarding the entrance of the Quinta


We have had people drive by who are very local and asked permission to take pictures of the Shrimp Plant.  I offered them some stems that Alvaro and I will root in brackish water (more soluble minerals) which we offer to people.   It is necessary to wrap the lower stems with a paper towel that has been dampened for the trip home (usually 3 to 10 minutes), especially if the stem has already rooted.
     The receiver of such a gift should place the stems in water for three days, while preparing a bedding or potting place.  A good mix of some balance potting soil, or black river silt with about a 25% sand-silt to 75% black soil  mixture.  The Shrimp Plants are fairly aggressive and sometimes have to be cut back because they sometimes suddenly lurch out and eat the whole house.

      We shall go ahead and shorten this ramble, leaving Prieto (Dark One) and his war wounds and his visions of Doggy Bone Treats and Gravy Train and a chance to sleep inside one more night to stay out of the cold, dancing through his head.
     He has been a good dog, but it is a bit sad when he looks around for previous visitors who are less frequent during the past three or four years.   He knows they will come back and we have had more inquiries as of late, but for now he is glad to have a really nice place to call homeand heck, he has a crystal, spring-water swimming pool (the Rio Corona) just a two-minute slow walk from his front gate.
     He has a "back way" as well, but he goes through there when he wants to taunt the squirrels or, as dogs are prone to do, poke around, sniffing, and being disgusting like dogs are.   But that's what makes them "Man's Best Friend" I guess.
     We have been asked about Prieto's recent declaration about running for the Senate for one of Tamaulipas's three Federal Senators' position in the coming by-elections, but we actually learnt that he may be disqualified because he has too much clandestine American money invested in his campaign fund. He also has been accused of lying about his Cherokee Ancestry.   It's a small world.  

    Enough of the "intimate views" of transitional Seasons in the area of the Haciendas de La Vega and Santa Engracia, and the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre.  Remember our address…Somewhere in Rural Mexico, at the base of the high mountains, where once every two or three years it can be pretty darned cold.
  To-morrow we have an active day of it…after Mass…we get to go the the "Going Away Party" of our present Priest.  He is actually going into retirement…fishing and hanging around, and so forth.   He is still relatively young and serviceable, so he will probably be sought out as a "visiting Priest".   He has been a hard worker and an excellent officiant.

As always, we appreciate everyone's time and attention, OROG and visitor alike. 

Addenda:  A note from two of our best and most loyal friends and clients (always appreciated by El Gringo Viejo.)

Thank you for the updates from your beautiful place in Santa Engrasia and our friend, Alvaro and the wounded, mighty Prieto. Speaking of the monarchs, when I was a youngster living in the mountains of NC, my Dad had a strong pair of binoculars.  As the comet Kohoutek was all in the news, binoculars were the things of fashion in 1973.  Well, one afternoon as I was glancing at close-ups of all things imaginable, I happened to glance straight up into the sky. To my utter amazement, I saw a butterfly unseen to the naked eye.  Then I saw another, then another.  It turned out that it was a virtual butterfly highway up there.  The only way you could see them was with the aid of the binoculars.  We, evidently, were on one of the many routes they take south.  Love to all in your home and may your Advent be an adventure towards His perfect light.

With great affection,
M and A

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Credo Vivente ….a living creed...


Addressed to -  El Gringo Viejo
found at times in his Native Texas and at other
times on his and his wife's finca in rural Mexico




 After much reflection, a great deal of probing, and a substantial number of drops of finer quality tequila over the years, I have, at long last come to the answer.

But first I must make a couple of things clear.

I do not hate, any race, colour, or creed. 

     Over the past 80 years, I have known and worked and lived with Asians,(all) including Chinese, Jews, Mexicans  of every imaginable  bloodline,  Hispanics (from all over Latin America), even Cuba,   Blacks from the US and Africa and Arabs from all over the Middle East.   I have found comfort in over twenty nations and enjoyed the education such opportunity afforded me.

   I have always found ways to "Get along" or "Fit In" when needed.


    We are country of laws but, it seems we do not enforce a great number of them;  and we pass a lot of laws that don't need to be passed.

I am sick and tired of the "political correctness " that has taken over our country.  Firemen are NOT Fire Persons!! 
The top Sniper during WW II was a lady who happened to be a female.   She was called  "a Sniper"!!

If I say "nationalist" some people seem to think that I'm a racist;  I am not!!

I  believe our country is ours and NO ONE ELSE SHOULD TELL US WHAT DO!!

I DO NOT BELIEVE IN ONE WORLD Government, ONE WORLD Culture, or ONE WORLD Language, or ONE WORLD religion being forced upon the masses.

Ok, consuegro, I'm done.
Not edited  

      This message above was forwarded to me by an exasperated relative.   The oddity is that he almost neverin all the years we have known one anotherspoken in harsh and/or exasperated terms.   Very, very, very rarely.

    He asked me to do a bit of editingperhaps he is going to frame his Credo Vivente under glass and place it on the wall.  He should, because in few words, he has described himself very, very well.

Posted with the permission of said relative.
El Gringo Viejo

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Continuing with things that required American troops on the Border. From Zapata to Obregon and beyond

The Border:  Deployment, Posse Comitatus, Villa; Carranza, Columbus, and other such forgotten realities is the brother article to the one included below.  One would be well advised to review that article for some salient information concerning the the turbulent period from 1910 to 1919.  It can be accessed by scrolling down only two articles, and voila'! …the reader will be at the appointed place.


addenda - a necessary snippet for the discerning reader…. (29 November 2018)
5 August

General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing (pictured above) in El Paso, 1914. About one year after this was taken, Pershing's wife and three of his children died in a fire in San Francisco. Only Pershing's young son survived. Pershing himself never completely recovered. Pancho Villa, who had befriended Pershing, sent the General a condolence message. Six months later, Pershing was chasing Villa in Mexico. Pershing went on to serve as a mentor to a generation of generals who led the United States Army in Europe during World War II, including George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar N. Bradley, and George S. Patton.
     John J. Pershing had the nickname of "Black Jack" because he proudly served at the head of cavalry and infantry groupings that incorporated the famous, competent, and heroic Buffalo Soldiers.   These men were almost exclusively Cavalry of the 9th and 10th Regiments, which were incorporated into Pershing's overall command.  They went into Mexico and suffered significant dead  and wounded in their ranks, in what would turn out to be a failure on the part of the White House to play the Villa - Carranza dispute card correctly.   The soldiers were not wrong or deficient, the Command was not really incompetent, it was purely the fault of Woodrow Wilson for having made the wrong choice among the possible combinations of political / military powers in Mexico during the period of Wilson's service as President and Commander in Chief.
     We start again, but from a different beginning, so to speak.  Those seeking deep seated roots in the matter of Mexican relations with Texas and the United States must contend with the labyrinthine twists and turns of the social, political, and business / labour intertwining without become lost in the fog.  This is especially true of Mexico, and it is especially true once the turn of the Century occurs in 1900.
     If the reader permits, especially those who have read the pertinent previous submission to this entry, we should like to start in the middle.   We should start at the Battle of Celaya (sei - LA - yah) involving on one hand, General de la Division del Norte, Francisco Villa, head of the Forces of the "Convention", a populist assembly of left and right, rich and poor and middle class people.
   General Alvaro Obregon, head of the Army of the "Constitutionalists" and loyal to Venustiano Carranza, had as his mission the establishment of a permanent and solid governing Constitution for Mexico and the permanent installation of Carranza on the Presidential Throne.   That document was, in fact, passed into law by the Congress in 1917.

      The Battle of Celaya was mostly conducted during the month of April of 1915.  It would be fought in three stages, each of which Francisco Villa lost. Part of the folklore of the surrounding Villa was that he was like a "cucaracha" (cockroach), in that he was impossible to kill.  The song "La Cucaracha" has many verses and stanzas, some made up as the entertainers sing, but it has long been associated with Doroteo Arango (the baptised name of Villa).   After that particular month of April, however Villa, as a political and military force, was essentially dead in the water.   
      As an aside, another tale possibly had some validity, that being the one about Villa pointing out a school down the grade a waysabout 600 yards.  Villa said, "I want you to fire on that elementary school down there."   The cannoneers informed the General that it was a primary school and there might be children there.  Villa responded, "A Gringo general said one time that War is  Hell.  Destroy the school!"   Promptly the soldiers complied and landed a projectile bomb right in the middle of the primary school.
     After a long, silent pause, while the soldiers cleaned and prepped the cannon, Villa came over to the soldiers at that gun and said,"You are good soldiers…and the children were removed from the school three days ago."
General Alvaro Obregon
Still gallant, but missing the
lower part of his right arm due
to getting a little too close to
the action in Leon


     All very noble and romantic, but to the victors belong the spoils, and in the greater scheme of things, and after three engagements, Obregon's army garnered the blue ribbon.  Of 15,000 effectives (almost all infantry) and 12 or 13 large cannons he had lost about 650 dead and about the same number wounded, or about a 10 per cent debilitation of his forces.

   Villa on the other hand entered the fray with 22,000 effectives, about 60 per cent infantry and 40 per cent cavalry.  Estimates were fairly accurate at that time, but the Obregonistas assumed (inflated) that Villa lost about 80 per cent of his army wounded, killed, and captured.              
 Including captured effectives we would estimate 9,000 combatants were gone from Villa's Division of the North during the month of April, or a bit  more than 4o per cent.
     The count as rendered by the Obregon side was that Villa had lost 5,800 dead, 5,000 wounded, and 6,500 captured.  Most other tabulations had it at considerably lessbut still devastating to Villa.   Obregon was quoted as saying that the battle was won because Villa led his troops into battle, "It helped immensely."


     So, why are we making a big deal about all of these little battles that during the War Between the States would have been considered "significant skirmishes"?   One reason is because this particular battle is the largest engagement of belligerents in the history of all Latin America until the Falkland Islands War between Argentina and United Kingdom.
    Also, the defeat of Pancho Villa deflated much of the resistance to
Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula
(Pancho Villa)
aka - The Centaur

 1878 - 1923

Celebrating the expulsion of Pres. Gen.
Victoriano Huerta in the ceremonial
Castillo Chapultepec.  The man to the
left of Pancho Villa is Gen. Emiliano
Zapata who controlled much of the
Indian areas of Southern Mexico.

The year is 1914.

Venustiano Carranza, the wealthy rancher and hacienda owner from Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila who had essentially placed Francisco Madero into the Presidency. 

   After Madero's assassination in 1913, Carranza then deposed Gen. Victoriano Huerta, the provisional President after Madero's "departure", leaving Huerta to a life as a bartender in El Paso, Texas.
    José Doroteo Arango Arambula of Río Grande De San Juan Del Río, Durango, Mexico, (Pancho Villa) led a wildly divergent group of wealthy interests, a loose confederation of the various Indian groups and conservative businessmen,  agricultural co-ops, and sole proprietors, as well as leftists who were generally more  associated similar to those of Emiliano Zapata's in the South of Mexico.   Both Villa and Zapata had been most successful in the  cobbling together of that eclectic group.

Chapultepec Castle(Hill of the Crickets)
Occupied by Emperor Maximilian and his
 Empress Carlotta and still used in these days as
 a place of reception of notables and diplomats
well as heads of State.   Built originally in
1785 by a French aristocrat 
     The picture to the left shows the  nature of the right-wing Villa and the Indian / leftist leader Zapata, of the revolutionary groups in the South of Mexico.  Villa was essentially pure Caucasian and Zapata was probably 15/16ths Zapotec Indian.  Both were also pure, unadulterated, natural born geniuses and leaders.   All these nice folks are celebrating inside the still  extremely elegant and regal Castillo de Chapultepec.

  One will notice the mixture of the lieutenants and advisors, ranging from Mormons and Mennonites, Indians, Saxons, young students, country people, Spanish-blooded people…and they talk about diversity in the Obsolete Press.
   It should be of interest that the number one University or College that graduated the most ROTCs that wound up in Villa's Division of the North was Texas A and M.

     While most of the folks in the picture look pretty well lit-up, please remember that Pancho Villa never drank alcohol of any kind…save for one sip at this event…and even then his secretary came and relieved him of the crystal   wine goblet…still almost full.   Emiliano only drank within small, very close- friend type groups of three to seven people, maximum…and then only rarely.

On the left is the National Cathedral, supposedly
 the heaviest Church building in the World.
  On the right is the Presidential Palace, which
 both for function of the executive and for 
formal events involving the President or
 Secretaries of one governmental department
 or another.

     Villa is literally sitting on the Presidential Throne (ceremonial) inside Chapultepec Castle that would normally be used when receiving visitors of great import, especially from foreign countries.
  After sitting there for about five minutes, he rose and said, "This throne is too big for me.   Let's go outside and gaze at the stars."   And he never returned to sit on that throne or the Presidential Palace's presidential throne,  downtown on the Zocalo in the administrative Presidential Palace.   To be sure, Villa's star was at its apex during those hours at Chapultepec.   But, neither he nor Zapata were interested in the presidency or any grand or high office.  They were, in fact, just fighting for a better Mexico, in my opinion.


An example of Villa's one-peso .902 silver
coin.  It was issued under the auspices of the
 Bank of Chihuahua, a private institution, and
there denominations, in silver, of lesser and
greater assigned value.  The exchange back
then was 1Villa peso for 1 American dollar.
   Villa went back to the north of Mexico, moving around to round up new recruits and solidify his assets and financing.  He literally had enough gold and silver to mint dimes and 20 cent pieces, as well as pesos of different denominations, along with gold-backed paper money and even some gold in coin form.
     Almost all of that lucre was snapped up after Villa's death in 1923 due to the probable increase in numismatic value that it would have in the future. There was an older gentleman, along with his mentally retarded son and his 92 year old father who worked on a ranch some distance outside of Rio Grande City, Texas who showed us his discharge papers from the Division del Norte, supposedly with Don Francisco's signature, along with a tube that was complete with 5 pesos of Villista silver dimesas part of the "soldier's" pay.  The discharge showed that the gentleman had attained the rank of sergeant of cavalry, and it listed four or five major engagements in which he had participated.  In 1961, old Desidario the Sergeant had turned down 200 American dollars for his tube of memories.


      My eldest brother (11 years my senior) knew Don Agustin a bit better, obviously, because he encountered him sooner.   So, be aware, some of the lore associated with this massively interesting personality came from my eldest brother…who worked on the citrus-care projects, our farming projects, and essentially worked night and day at anything that would pay 25 cents an hour or more.  My brother was at least as interesting as Don Agustin. He died a Ph.d among many other things. Don Agustin died in the mid-1960s, in Mier, Tamaulipas.

     So, please understand that my studies, my listening to my brother's stories about Agustin's stories, and also by listening to Agustin's stories as a four to ten year old, my illusions and understanding of these things about Villa may well be coloured.
    But, I also know that truth is truth, and the Truth shall make us free.

    To begin, Pancho Villa (Dorotea Arango) never attacked a place on the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo) on the Texas side.  He did attack Ciudad de El Paso de Juarez in 1911and successfully.   He converted from being a bandit (1901 - 1902) although his supporters will point out that he was harassed for having shot and killed the son of a wealthy hacendado (hacienda ownerusually quadrillionaires in to-day's terms)…because the son of the hacendado had raped Dorotea Arango's (Pancho Villa's) younger sister  (She was 12 or 13 at the time).

     Now, moving on.
   In any regard, Villa had developed his resources, manpower, animals, and other necessary materiel to consider a bold move against the forces of Carranza and his General Obregon, for either of two different purposes.  One would have been to establish a political subdivision of Mexicoperhaps Mexico Norteor a Republica de Chihuahua, that would fold in three or four of the northern Statesthere were many rumours and notions.

     Such an action would require,  in any regard, the destruction of Carranza's allies in the western part of northern Mexiconorthern Sonora, and perhaps even Tijuana and Mexicali.  Villa may have decided to attack his old enemy Gen. Benjamin Hill, who was a big cheese in that territory.   He might have  directed a relatively small force to make its way through the Mennonite and Mormon territory (which was tolerant, and at times supportive of Villa), and the great ranches for which Chihuahua and Sonora States were famous, and lay siege to the pro-Carranzista  fort in Agua Prieta, Sonora.

Odd things are occurring at this time. For Instance:

     It is known that Agents of Carranza telegraphed immediately to William Jennings Bryan (Secretary of State - USA) and the White House that Villa had remilitarised and was marching en force to Aqua Prieta, and there would be great carnage without quick delivery of Mexican military force.   No proof was offered.  Nothing was said about Villa accompanying the "march".
    The message also included the offer of remaining neutral in the matter of the war with Germany, and included the request for massive rail transport from Eagle Pass, Texas to Douglas, Arizona for 5,000 members of heavy infantry of Carranzista soldiers.  The locomotives, passenger cars, and personnel would travel from San Antonio, Texas…taking some Carranzista officers with them, and then picking up the awaiting soldiers in Eagle Pass, Texas.
     So, if it were an episode of Amos and Andy on the radio, it might go like this.  Amos says, "Let's see here Andy…this Carranza fellow wants to have German machine guns and Mauser rifles by the boatload, along with the munitions, even while Carranza is asking Wilson and Bryan to give his (Carranza's) soldiers a nice train-ride to Douglas, Arizona to destroy Villa when Villa is kinda pro-Gringo.  Right?"
    Andy studies the words and the loops of logic, and then declares,"I gots the answer!"
     Amos is overjoyed and even Lightning comes to listen to the solution.  Andy explains, "Carranza, Wilson, the Kaiser, even Villathey is all one type of politician or n'other.  And mine is not to reason why!!"

     And folks, Andy is correct.  Carranza would have sold his granddaughter's grave in order to hitch a ride on the Southern Pacific line, but he bought it for nothing beyond a railroad lease - freight rate.  An adjunct line running between the Southern Pacific line and Douglas, Arizona  switched cars in and carried the soldiers to Douglas, from whence they formed-up and marched to Aqua Prieta, Sonora where they dug in and awaited the assault by one of Pancho Villa's smaller contingents.   The distance of the march was something like 3 miles, which was nothing to Mexican infantryman.

     None of the story about the period after the assault on the fort at Agua Prieta (dark waters) under the control of the Carranzista government in Mexico City adds up to a reasonable interpretation.   There are analysts who have postulated that there is immensely more evidence that the battle at Aqua Prieta was a movie sham or some other kind of deception.

     El Gringo Viejo has become one of many analysts and students of the period  who has come to the conclusion that the Agua Prieta battle was, essentially and totally, a smoke and mirrors magician's trick.   It required, as one might imagine, the investment in...or at least the gullibility of the major American press organs of the day.
    As far as the Mexicans might be concerned, almost all of the actions took place in the early dawn or in the dead of night.  Would people  really be killed and wounded.  The answer is, "Yes".
     Would the soldiers involved have any idea whom they were fighting or why?  Quite possibly, "No".  The vast majority of the rank and file were simple people who were more valiant than discerning. Dressing out recruits in the makeshift garb of Villa's Division of the North would cause almost everyone to assume that they were Villistas, when encountered  after a battle.
   There were five men captured at Columbus after the fighting ceased.  In fairly short order they were hanged for murder.  No forensic investigation, no proof of anything about being militia under orders…just hanged.  There were those who said that the men told them that they were Carranzistas who had been told to shout "Viva Villa!" repeatedly during the attack on Columbus.  Myth?  Unsupportable testimony?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.

    Another problem was that many people declared that most of the empty shell casings found on the ground in "downtown" Columbus were rounds for a Mauser-type rifle, not the Winchester 30-30 carbine used by Villa's Division of the North for both cavalry and infantry.  

(1)   Villa would normally have been in the City of Chihuahua or in his home in Hidalgo de Parral, Chihuahua or in El Paso, Texas during these moments.   No one saw him at Columbus. 

(2)   Villa did not have the necessary ammunition, medical supplies,  soldiers, horses, mules, and other accoutrements of battle necessary to carry out an attack on the small fort of Aqua Prieta, Sonora that far away from his bases.   His destruction in the Celaya - Leon affair had been more than substantial.

(3)   The attack on the nearby American village of Columbus, New Mexico was, therefore probably engineered and orchestrated by Carranzista elements under the control and command of Brig. Gen. Benjamin Hill and/or his subordinatesco-ordinating closely minute by minute telegraphically with Venustiano Carranza and his lackeys back in Mexico City. 

(4)   If a Villista force of three or four hundred men had shown up in Agua Prieta, knowing with their excellent reconnaissance resources concerning the 5,000 federal troops being transported by the Gringos to reinforce the "fort" in Agua Prieta, there would have been little or no fighting in Agua Prieta.  Shooting and cannons and machine-gun fire, yes…but little fighting.  It would have been ridiculous for Villa to have attacked a "destacamiento" of nearly 6,000 relatively good and really excellent infantry.

(5)     To complete the circle then, it was apparent that the White House was of the opinion that it wished to work with the literate and considered upper class Carranza and not some illiterate yea-who who only wanted women and adoration from a class of people who pertained to a time that had passed 50 years before.  Listen to the echoes of diplomatic / military insanity:

     According to Wilson, who was entering dementia at these hours.."Germany desires to keep up the turmoil in Mexico until the United States is forced to intervene; therefore, we must not intervene.
Germany does not wish to have any one faction dominant in Mexico; therefore, we must recognize one faction as dominant in Mexico . . .".    (?????????????)

     "It comes down to this: Our possible relations with Germany must be our first consideration; and all our intercourse with Mexico must be regulated accordingly."   (?????????????)


     There is some irony that both Villa and  the  Wilson /  Bryan duo  had determined that the Germans wanted to open another diplomatic / military front and that would be in the New World.   It would try to insert Germanic population to penetrate the herds with the stronger horses in Latin America, those being Argentina and Mexico.  Villa had brutalised hacendados, industrialists, and ranchers of the Gringo persuasion but it was almost always for specific, personal insults. At first, William Jennings Bryan urged Wilson to be considerate of the nature of Villa because many people in Texas thought of him as a "liberator". 
   The problem is that at each turn, Wilson was certainly quick to blow up a third-part of Vera Cruz, Vera Cruz when Huerta offended him for the least slight.  He was the first one to not shake hands with Booker Taliaferro Washington in the White House because he did not want to be contaminated by the touch of a Negro.  Wilson was a slug who made truck with people like Margaret Sanger and the Ku Klux Klan.  He was also a one-worlder, Progressive, disciple of George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells and the whole panoply of elitists "democratic socialists" who believed in the elimination of all the inferior races and defective people…like Mexicans, Negroes, and mongoloids, etc. 

  Wilson was quite a contrast from the invitation by Nathan Bedford Forrest (Robert E. Lee's most admired General, when was asked after the War) to his favoured Negro slaves to join him in the fight for the South.
  They joined, became his Pretorian  Guard, and all survived the War, even after over 20 serious skirmishes and several major Battles. They never shrank from desperate combat, waging destruction upon the Blue Coated Wave.    They had all gained their manumission at the half-way point of the War…but each remained at the side of their leader until the very  end.  Thus saith the truth. And this tale puts the lie to the superiority of the "Progressives".  The "progressives" were, are, and forever will be elitists who demean humanity. They are hypocrites of the highest order.


  (L) Alvaro Obregon, (C) Pancho Villa, and

  (R) Maj. Gen. John (Black Jack) Pershing
 outside of the Hotel Texas and its famous
 saloon  and  excellent restaurant.

  The ghosts will say unto the last day, that
 they knew  that Pershing and Villa were
 bothers of' the soul from another time.

   Wilson sent Pershing to chase Villa, in what was termed the Pershing Incursion, although Pershing and Villa were friendly if not friends.  After riding and driving through most of Chihuahua State and finding almost no one who would give accurate information about the whereabouts of Pancho Villa, it was apparent that the brief excursion Mexico to bring back a bloodthirsty maniac war criminal, was turning into a debacle.   They were fighting little cells of Villistas and larger cells of  people who were Carranzistas.
   Villa remained elusive to the end, perhaps knowing that his friend would not truly try to find him and have him brought to a cover-up trial.

To wit:  According to this account at the time, this is what was actually going on…
     In June, Pershing received intelligence that Villa was at Carrizal, in the state of Chihuahua. He selected Captains Charles T. Boyd and Lewis S. Morey to lead approximately 100 soldiers from Troops C and K of the 10th Cavalry to investigate.  They encountered 400 Mexican Army troops (Carrancistas), instead of Pancho Villa’s men. The Mexican soldiers told the Americans to turn back northward.
    Captain Boyd refused and ordered his men south through the town anyway, which caused shots to be fired. Both sides suffered large losses. Captain Boyd and 10 soldiers were killed and another 24 were taken prisoner. Twenty-four Mexican soldiers were killed, including their commanding officer General Felix Gomez, and 43 were wounded.

   General Pershing was furious at this result and asked for permission to attack the Carrancista garrison at Chihuahua. President Wilson, fearing that such an attack would provoke a full-scale war with Mexico, refused. The Battle of Carrizal marked the effective end of the Pershing Incursion, which failed in both its missions. Pancho Villa survived. And small raids on American soil occurred while the expedition was in Mexico, almost all conducted by Carranzista cells and units.   At times, these incursions were led by Carranzista military officers.

   Loose supervision and command, frankly on the part of Black Jack Pershing caused the troops to suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of Carranzista regulars and then Wilson sent Pershing to execute the War in Germany in 1917.  It makes no sense, when it was well known that Carranza was fully willing to turn to the Germans in order to re-establish all or part of the American Southwest to Mexican governance.  Many people have come to the conclusion that Wilson wanted to degrade Pershing in the public perception so as to diminish his value as a Republican conservative candidate for the Presidency or other office. 

    We must consider the reality which was stated in this observation of the time shortly after the Death of the President:

    "During his last year in office, there is evidence that Wilson’s second wife, Edith Bolling Galt, may have served as acting president for the debilitated and bed-ridden president who often communicated through her. In March 1921, Wilson’s term expired, and he retired with his wife to Washington, D.C., where he lived until his death on February 3, 1924. Two days later, he was buried in Washington’s National Cathedral, the first president to be laid to rest in the nation’s capital."

     The fact is Wilson was becoming non compos mentis back in 1915.  He would have lapses, almost of catalepsy, where he would sit and stare blankly for three or four hours.  After the death of his first wife, and his relatively hasty marriage to the second, rumours swirled about poisonings and shenanigans.   But, at this point, what difference could it possibly make?

     We have stuck our necks out on something that has eaten at my gall bladder for sixty years.   My great-grandfather said, my father said, my oldest brother said, Agustin said, and I studied and analysed and researched this off-and-on for years and my verdict is, before the public and the OROGs…who will have first look at this laborious condensed analysis…will be the first to see this…because it will be published  to-morrow morning…that I believe that Villa did not attack Agua Prieta nor Columbus.   It was bad theatre, and the culpable party was the arrogant and extremist Venustiano Carranza who was to blame for the entire sham.

     Tomorrow, we shall move through the convolutions of the 1920s,  some of which passes straight through the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre and the Hacienda de la Vega.   It is less trying emotionally, the data is clearer, and it is another of the episodes in Mexico that reminds people that no birth is easy.

We rest.  This has been a mental ordeal and a tax upon my soul.   I appreciate especially the special choir of OROGs, and certainly to those who follow us.
El Gringo Viejo