More Legends of South Texas- La Llorona

In our part of the country, there are copious amounts of spooky stories, many which are passed down from generation to generation until they become legend.  This week I am discussing a couple of spooky ladies and other crazy lore of South Texas just in time for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos ( Day of the Dead).

 Photo courtesy of http://blogs.educared.org/

Photo courtesy of http://blogs.educared.org/

It is a dark and still evening in South Texas, with maybe an occasional hoot of an owl, and a panicked mother can be found ushering her children indoors for fear of La Llorona. “Hurry mijo come inside before La Llorana thinks you belong to her.” Suddenly, a painful grief-stricken cry breaks the stillness of the night and rebounds through the rugged oaks down by the river…

Many children of South Texas and into Mexico grew up knowing La Llorona as a grieving ghost mother who haunts areas around lakes, rivers, or any bodies of water looking for her children whom she drowned. Generations of parents tell this tale to warn their children to not be out late at night, especially alone.

Although multiple variations exist, the basic story tells of a beautiful woman named Maria who comes from a humble background. One day she meets the man of her dreams who is passing through her village. She was such a beauty that the stranger is smitten and falls in love with her. The man she loves comes from a highborn family who would never accept such a peasant as a bride to their son. The couple has a torrid affair, and Maria has a couple of children.

Life goes on and routine sets in. Soon her beloved loses interest, and he looks to return back to his prior life and later falls for another woman just as beautiful. Maria witnesses her former lover kissing the other beautiful lady.  Maria tries to win her love back, but soon her jealousy turns to anger onto her children. Devastated, Maria drowns them in order to try to be with the man that she loved.

The man she loves would not have her, and she would not take no for an answer. So she drowned herself in a nearby river. \

When questioned as to the whereabouts of her children, she is not permitted to enter the gates of Heaven until she has found them. Maria is a lost soul searching in vain for her drowned offspring, with her constant weeping and wailing giving her the name “La Llorona.”

Even today the story of La Llorona is one that is familiar to many folks in the Coastal Bend. Occasionally on a dark and still night, it even results in sightings of a ghostly, female figure who weeps in the night searching for her children.

So parents, you can choose to do what generations have done here in the Coastal Bend and tell your kids, “In order to be safe, be sure to be inside by dark because La Llorona may mistake you as one of her own.” Hey, if it works…

La Lechuza – A Legend of South Texas

La Lechuza
La Lechuza: Photo courtesy of carmenbarbero.com

In our part of the country, there are copious amounts of spooky stories, many which are passed down from generation to generation until they become legend.  This week I am discussing a couple of spooky ladies and other crazy lore of South Texas just in time for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos ( Day of the Dead).

During a still night under a full moon in South Texas, things can get a bit wild and weird…

and it is not just because it is the Halloween and Dia de los Muertos time of year

.Deer begin foraging, coyotes are howling, and owls are hooting and hunting.

However, many folks along the Coastal Bend and into the Rio Grande Valley believe some owls are more than meet the eye.

Since the days when Texas was Mexico, generations of children in South Texas and into Mexico have grown up hearing stories of lechuzas. What exactly is a lechuza? Lechuzas are witches (brujas) who morph into birds. In most stories, the bird is an owl. Other stories say that lechuzas are just spirits of betrayed or jilted women who want to seek revenge. Some other stories say she is a bird spirit who appears from beyond the grave and wants to avenge whoever killed her.

The legend of La Lechuza remains very popular in South Texas and Mexico. She can appear at any time. According to demonhunterscompendium.blogspot.com,  “She particularly enjoys attacking people who have had one too many beers. Many people believe in her existence, while others claim to have actually seen this creature. The legends seem to vary quite a bit. In some, she is a vengeful spirit. In others, she is a woman that has sold her soul to the Devil in order to gain supernatural powers. Every night, she is said to transform into a five to six-foot tall bird (most commonly an owl) with the face of a beautiful or wizened old woman and enormous wings.”Sometimes she will lure out her prey with strange noises such as a baby crying. Soon she will swoop down on the poor unsuspecting person and carry them off as prey.
People who have had these frightful encounters with a lechuza usually can try a couple of remedies. Some people will pray while others will seek a folk healer (curandera), and still others will blast the bird away with a rifle or shotgun.

Even though many of the stories differ, one thing that people seem to agree on is that an encounter is definitely very scary and you will always remember.

So the next time you are in South Texas going down a rural road at night, be wary not for only deer, coyote, and other wildlife that may be on the road, but also keep an eye out for some wild and weird owls.

M3- One Man, One Machine, One Mile, No Speed Limit

“Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
Engines pumping and thumping in time.
The green light flashes, the flags go up.
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.
They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank,
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank.” (Cake: “The Distance”)

Mustang Cobra at the starting line
Mustang Cobra at the starting line

“Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
He’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
He’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
He’s going the distance.” (Cake: “The Distance”)

The line up to race
The line up to race
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“Heavily medicated for your safety.”
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My speedier half

Speed demons from everywhere buzzed in to Beeville for The Texas Mile this weekend for 3 days of adrenaline-packed adventure. The Texas Mile is a venue for anyone with the need for speed. The racers compete one at a time for their personal best speed on one mile of straight runway. The session is open to anyone who has something with an engine and who can register on time. Race cars, race trucks, motorcycles, even motorized bicycles, you name the type of vehicle, the type of driver, and age of any of them, it was all there! One man (or woman), one machine–one mile, no speed limit!

046
Too hot…had to get iced down.

Corpus Gets Jazzy

Jazz Fest had a multitude of booths of arts and crafts as well as music.
The Texas Jazz Fest had a multitude of booths of arts and crafts as well as music.
Various musicians from different genres of jazz performed all weekend.
Various musicians from different genres of jazz performed all weekend.

“Since 1961, jazz music from local and regional talent, food and arts and crafts. The Texas Jazz Festival Society focuses on increasing awareness or traditional, modern and Latin Jazz through presentation of the Texas Jazz Festival in Corpus Christi.“ (eventcrazy.com)

 
 
  Texas Jazz Festival     Festivals.com
Corpus Christi, Texas, USA
Mid October

 

Description
A free three-day event that takes place on the beautiful Corpus Christi bay front. Three stages of continuous music are the highlight of the festival, which also includes a wide range of regional fare and improvisational instrumental clinics designed for professional musicians and students alike.

For more info:

 

Website
http://www.texasjazz-fest.org

Trick or Tweet…Hummingbirds in October?

Ruby Throat Hummingbird
Ruby Throat Hummingbird
Photo courtesy of txtbba.tamu.edu

Don’t blink. You might miss out on a quick treat.

September is usually the season for those little speedy creatures. That is when thousands pass through the Coastal Bend here in South Texas on their way to warmer places beyond the border of Texas and Mexico. Depending on the weather here, they can arrive here as early as July and some late migrants can be found into November.

The other day while I was out jogging I saw several ruby-throated ones visiting various flowers.  Boy, not only was I feeling super slow next to these guys, but I was also amazed that so many were still around this late in the year.

What can we do to get them to relax and stay awhile? Well, to get them to relax is not happening. To get them to stay awhile will be a pit stop, at best. Since many of these quick-moving creatures pass right through our neighborhoods like little trick-or-treaters in the Coastal Bend, we can offer them a treat. Sugar water feeders are a way to feed them as a substitute for nectar which will help them boost their fat reserves for migration.

Another way to encourage pits stops by our fast-moving feathered friends is to have some of their favorite plants in the yard. They enjoy yards with trees because the trees provide shelter and protection. Plants and trees attract bugs which are a source of protein for these high energy fliers. Also they love plants with bell or trumpet shaped flowers. They seem to like hibiscus and honeysuckle. Other plants they like are milkweed, butterfly bush, salvia and lantana.

Just like little trick-or-treaters, they like little treats from us too.

So get outside and try to see these speedy little things while you still can because they will be here today and adios to Mexico mañana.

National Parks Open! The absurdity is over

I totally agree with this post from 1Quest2 the Next. I wrote a post about how our Padre Island National Seashore just down the road from us was closed during this ridiculous shutdown. Totally un-American!

1 Quest 2 the Next

It seems completely un-American to put people in the position of not being allowed in OUR own parks.  They are OURS (well, we share them with wildlife and plants of course).  I think about all the families that had vacations planned over the last few weeks to Mt. Ranier or Badlands or Yosemite (or Yoh zeh MITEas my son called it this week) National Parks and came across closed gates.  I can’t imagine if that had been the case when the kids and I went cross-country this summer to 4 of those parks.  I guess we would’ve gone to Disneyland instead.

Well, at least the parks are back open and OURS again.  While those of you on Long Island may not think this affected us, there are sites in our state that are run by the National Park Service.  This includes Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Cove…

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The “Parrothead” Effect

Natural "Parrot Heads"
Natural “Parrotheads”
Courtesy of http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

My first year of teaching in Port Aransas (many moons ago) was a huge sea change for me. While teaching there my first year, I was informed that Jimmy Buffet’s  Tales from Margaritaville was considered required reading because Jimmy Buffet was said to be a “Local Hero” around these parts. (Boy I had lots to learn!)

Being from Houston and growing up in the ‘80’s, I was barely familiar with this character. I grew up with ‘80’s hair bands, country music, punk, and old school rap.  Back then I asked, what was the big deal with this Parrot guy? (However, now, the closer to retirement age I get, the better he sounds. Who doesn’t like lollygagging at the beach from time to time?)

The funny thing is he seems to be a local hero in the ‘Bluff as well as in Port A. As I was standing in line to check out at Wally-mart in the ‘Bluff one day, I noticed a large display of Jimmy Buffet  accessories such as Margarita glasses, Margarita salt, bottle openers, trays and cups and such. I did not recall seeing that stuff in any other local Wal-Mart.

 Later while on a jogging jaunt, I noticed the following sign:

"Parrothead Crossing"
“Parrothead Crossing”

I thought, “Oh goodness, I better keep  a watch out for some stray Parrotheads  who might knock me off course!”
And then I saw …

"It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere"
“It’s 5 O’ Clock Somewhere”

I was thinking that maybe this is a sign… (literally and figuratively)

Maybe I needed to stop jogging (temporarily, of course!) and go and string my hammock between my Mesquite and  Live Oak trees and take a moment to decompress. Yep, I have been pretty stressed lately.

 And maybe just maybe steal a few moments to  enjoy a little fou-fou drink with a cute umbrella (okay, a fresh fruit smoothie = better choice) and chill with some “Parrothead” tunes.