Free 2 Day Shipping With Amazon Prime

Monday, October 7, 2013

Frightened to Death

Dia de Los Muertos (Mexican Holiday)
  • Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1 and 2, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.
I have selected this time as appropriate to tell our family story about how my maternal grandfather died (due to the proximity of the Mexican Holiday “Dia De Muertos.”). I have repeatedly said that I don’t believe in the supernatural nor do I disbelieve.  I have had enough questionable encounters to be cautious when alone in the dark or in an abandoned property or similar place.  Not afraid just careful, and respectful.  For the most part I heard this story told directly by my maternal grandmother, however, some very important facts were purposely left out in the version of the story she told. My mother’s older brother told me the portion of the story that my grandmother left out.
My grandmother and grandfather were married when she was 14 years old, they went on to have two sets of twins, and a total of 12 children all together.  Except for the two sets of twins considering that it was the early part of the century (early 1900) ten births in a marriage were not all that unusual.  Large families in the early 1900 hundreds were the rule not the exception.  My grandparents lived in a small fishing community (almost without exception everyone on the island was dependent on the fishing industry for their livelihood.  My maternal and paternal grandfathers were amongst the first entrepreneurs in the family that I know of.  My whole family has had a lengthy and successful association with entrepreneurship, I’ve never had any doubt as to where we got it from.
My maternal grandfather accumulated a number of commercial vessels, and hired men to go out to sea and bring their catch to market on his behalf.  He was relatively successful and various families depended on his efforts for their very own survival.  My grandfather was a strong, healthy, and clean living kind of man who loved his family above all else.  I’d like to think that like me my grandfather had no commitment one way or the other to the tales of the supernatural.  Almost without exception everyone that worked for him had a healthy respect for the supernatural tales that were common amongst the fisherman.
When you deal with Mother Nature (as fisherman did and still do) especially in a time when science in everyday life was all but non-existent.  Folklore takes the place of science when things are hard to explain or make sense of.  As an example; weather forecasting, was dealt with by the amount of soreness in the body’s joints, or simply by looking for dark clouds in the horizon, another method closer to scientific was to observe the behavior of the animals (birds migrating or the fur coat on goats or donkeys).
The more experienced fisherman such as my grandfather almost always had a great experience because of the many years of doing the same thing and knowing where to set up for the catch.  They always prepared for the worst and hoped for the best.  Taking more supplies than they needed was one way to be prepared.  Plenty of food and drinking water, fuel for the fleet, extra mechanical parts for the infrequent required repairs.  Materials and tools to repair the fishing nets.  I understand that my grandfather never left anything to chance.  The men that worked with my grandfather always felt safe on his crew even with the unpredictability of the weather.
On the one occasion that would be the cause of my grandfather’s demise, they had set up their nets for the trip near an island that was supposedly inhabited by bad spirits (haunted); not believing but still being cautious all fishermen knew not to set foot on the island but keep a safe distance.  My grandfather had never seen anything to cause him concern, but was respectfully maintaining the vessel at the required distance from shore.
The length of this post requires that I submitted it in at least two parts.  Please stay tuned for part two coming very soon; Frightened to Death 2.  The best is yet to come….

No comments:

Post a Comment