My aunt’s father, 80 years old with tanned, wrinkled skin and white hair, made a soft joke in Spanish in my grandfather’s ear. He laughed his deep chortle, caballero hat rocking on his head, responding, “Eee, es verdad” (or “Ha! Yes, that’s true”). Then both soft-spoken former rancheros returned to staring at the street.
Nevaeh, my aunt’s goddaughter, was a toddler, but knew how to call out, “Nina!” when she needed something. She meant “madrina,” her name for my aunt, her godmother, who’d lovingly spoiled her since the day she was born.
“Yes, hita?” My aunt bent down to the baby, her ponytail of dark raven curls falling forward as she did.
Nevaeh presented a peach she picked up from the dusty ground.
“Let’s go wash that.” She took the girl inside the small home that’d housed generations so far.
Looking around at them all – my grandpa, his best friend, my aunt, my uncle, my mother, and the baby – I thought: This is it, huh? This is ”my culture.” I think I love it.
It was just a normal Saturday in Santa Fe, my home.
For more to this story, read my article “God Made Me Hispanic. And It Was Good.”