Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Pintada Kid, Part 1

When I first read a comment on the City-Data New Mexico Forum from "The Pintada Kid," I sensed that I was "hearing" a truly unique voice. Here is part of the comment that so caught my imagination:

"I grew up in the Mountains of N.M. amongst the Old Sheepherders and Ranchers and as a Kid in Grade School i was elected to be the cook for all the Ranch Hands whether i wanted to or not. So i guess cooking is a passion i grew up with plus playing guitar and singing. I like my cooking better then that Tasteless expensive food in some Restaurants."

I just couldn't get that picture out of my mind--a little kid cooking for ranchers and sheepherders... I tried to imagine what his life had been like, but his experiences were so far from mine, that I couldn't really fill in the blanks. So, instead, I watched for more posts that might tell me more, and was eventually rewarded with this one:

"...they didnt have the Child Labor Laws at 8 and 9 years old back then. While all the other little kids in Grade School were looking forward to Summer Break it would mean more Hard Work for me in the Summer and i dreaded it. I would pack my little Bedroll and go work out in the Surrounding Ranches working from Sunup to Sundown Herding Sheep for miles out in the New Mexico Prairies and Milking cows and fixing fences from Sunup to Sundown sometimes late into the Night for 4 dollars a day....

My Grandfather threw me on the Back of a Horse at 8 or 9 years old and hit the horse on the back with a Board and thats how i learned to ride.......... I remember i was about 12 or 13 and we saddled the horses out in the middle of a Pasture early in the Morning and when i got on the Huge Horse that i got on Reared up and came down on top of me and knocked me out. When i got up i looked down at my Feet and my Foot and Toes on my right Foot were Pointing Backwards. I Could hear my Grandfather say the Dam Horse Broke his leg and he picked me up and loaded me on the Truck and we bounced over miles of Rough Country to get to the Nearest Dirt road to get me to a Doctor. My grandfather said i was about to bend the Gear in the Truck with all the Pain i was in. Anyway i woke a couple of days later in the Hospital in Mountainair and spend like 3 months in Traction without getting up from bed at the hospital there. I broke the femur bone the biggest bone in your body in a couple of places it was a compound fracture. After a few more months on Crutches i was back on my feet and riding horses again and back to doing back breaking ranch work.

P.S. As a kid i remember all the Feed Sacks weighed like 100 lbs not like the 40 or 50 lbs they weigh today. My first time deerhunting while i was in Grade School i killed 3 good size buck Deer in less then 24 hours."

Eventually, I found another tantalizing bit:
"My Parents both Died when i was a little kid and my Grandparents raised me and my Grandfather was like a Mountain Man who Could pick up a Truck while my Grandmother changed the Tire and my Grandfather who knew the Mountains and Animals well taught me about the Mountains and animals and hard Work and my Grandmother taught me and my two sisters about Cooking, Gardening and Medicinal Plants etc.

My Grandfather and Grandmother both Died years ago after being married over 50 years they died about a month apart. My Grandmother told my sisters to take her to get her hair done and she died a month after my Grandfather died...

My Grandmother went to Mass every Sunday and like my Grandfather worked every day of their lives without a Vacation. My Grandfather use to tell that when they were fencing out the Land in New Mexico in the early 1900s that they were paying 50 cents a day to do hard work building fences from Sunup to Sundown.

My Grandfather couldnt read or write or talk in English but he knew animals and hard work and whenever a College Educated person would come to the Ranch on some job he would say to me..... AQUI VIENE UNO DESOS QUE SABES MAS Y ENTIENDE MENOS." [Here comes one of those who knows more and understands less. Translation courtesy of The Pintada Kid].

Next: Pintada Kid, Part 2: Origin of The Pintada Kid's name; and some things you didn't know about rattlesnakes.

Note: All quotes used with permission.


Akkire said...

wow. this man is a living story of history and a way of life maybe almost gone. I am so glad you are talking with him and getting his story down. hopefully recorded too? this sounds amazing.

clairz said...

What a marvelous idea, getting a recording. Of course, that is what oral history is all about, hearing the actual person's voice as well as the memories.

Let me think how this might be done. Someone has recently asked me to do some podcasts of the stories on The Zees--I wonder if it would be possible for the PK to do something similar...

Anonymous said...

Wow,as I sit here in tears I am here to tell you thank you for posting such wonderful stories. You see the Pintada Kid is my father. Thanks again. Kid of the Kid

Pinon Lady said...

As I sit here in tears I am here to Thank You for the wonderful posts you posted. You see The people you are writing about is my father and those are my greatgrandparents. I try to get as much information out of my father as possible. If he doesn't write a book someday I might. Pintada Kid is the most interesting person I have ever met. Thank you,Kid of The Kid

clairz said...

Pinon Lady, Kid of the Kid, I am honored that you stopped by. Your dad is truly one of a kind.

I would be very interested to hear your story, too, if you would like to tell it. What was it like being the child of a man like PK? Do you still live near him?