Tuesday, March 2, 2010
My Aunt Panchita. By Rolando R. Hinojosa
Curandera. Painting by Luis López
Rolando Hinojosa (born 1929) is one of the most prolific and well-respected Hispanic novelists in the United States. Not only has he created memorable Mexian American and white characters, but he has completely populated a fictional county in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas through his continuing generational narrative that he calls the Klail City Death Trip Series.
The first Chicano author to receive a major international literary award, Rolando Hinojosa won the prestigious Premio Casa de las Américas for Klail City y sus alrededores (Klail City), part of a series of novels known to English-speaking readers as "The Klail City Death Trip." Hinojosa's fiction, often infused with satire or subtle humor, is widely praised for its multiple narratives that unite many characters' individual perspectives into the unique combined voice of the Chicano people. (From Encyclopedia of World. Biography).
The paragraphs below are from his prize winning ¨Estampas del Valle¨(Sketches of the Valley). He tells us of the day when a curandera was called in to cure Rafael Buenrostro:
¨Where´s the patient?¨
¨Right here, Aunt Panchita; come in, please.¨
¨Ah, so it´s Rafa...What´s wrong with you child?¨
¨We don´t know; yesterday he began to stammer and now there he is, shaking with fever.¨
¨Okay, close the curtains. Everybody out and close the door behind you, I´m gonna begin.¨
Aunt Panchita took out a brownish egg from the grocery bag and made the sign of the cross with it over Rafa Buenrostro´s face. Then she made another sign of the cross covering his entire body and began to pray:
¨Prayer and incantation to drive away fright: Child of God, I heal you by incantation in the name of God and the Holy Spirit. Three distinct persons and one true God. Saint Roque, Saint Sebastian, eleven thousand virgins: by your most glorious passion and ascension, deign to heal this child afflicted with the evil eye, fright, fever, or any other malady not dealt with by you or by your sacrosanct mystery. Jesus, Son of God, remember your God. How loving is Jesus, how loving is Jesus, world without end, amen.
¨Offering. Jesus be your doctor, Most Holy Mary be your doctor, and may this sickness be dispelled through the love of God, through the love of God, amen.¨
Aunt Panchita repeated the prayer, the incantation, and the offering twice, then broke the egg in a green plate, which she placed under the bed. Rafa Buenrostro Breathed deeply and fell into a sleep that lasted a day and a half.
Aunt Panchita, left hurriedly, saying that she´d be back on Wednesday. Being a very busy woman, Aunt Panchita was on her way to the baptism of Lino Carrizales´ child.¨
¨My Aunt Panchita¨. In Chicano Voices. P.78-79. By Carlota Cárdenas de Dwyer, editor. Printed in Boston, USA. 1975