Mexico and my Birthday


On 6-5-18 I put out a blog about the deplorable conditions for the poor in Mexico. I said in that blog that either Mexico needed a revolution or, the United States needed to invade it – I won’t repeat here the reasons I sited in that article. But, as a follow-up to that article I’ll say that Mexico just elected a new president, a guy named Obrador. Now a lot of folks in this country, because he’s a Socialist, are criticizing his election, saying that it’s a bad thing. But is it?

Mexico has been run by the same two political parties forever, the Pan and the Pre, and these two parties, much like our own Democrats and Republicans, have ruined Mexico. So I say, let’s give the man a chance. Don’t condemn him before he’s even had a chance, remember, Jesus taught Socialist values, too! It ain’t Socialism that stinks, its the way men have implemented it that has caused it to be a failure. And, Mexico needed a change, what they had was horrible and corrupt, so I don’t think this guy can do any worse no matter what political party he represents. Maybe this is the revolution I called for!

My Birthday

Well, yesterday was my birthday, normally not a big deal at all, but this year was different. It all started on Friday the 20th when I received a funny Birthday card from my best friend of forty years Joe Gonzalez, then a couple of the fellas surprised me with a really nice meal; seems they went to allot of trouble … extricating, some specialty items out of the kitchen ( I’ll let your imagination run wild on that, rather than give up their sources ). Very nice surprise. Then on the day of my birthday, Sunday the 22nd, I had a visit! Not just any visit, but one where six members of my family came at once, to include my daughter, two sons, my son-in-law and two of my granddaughters, Isabella and Sophia! It was great – first time in more than ten years that I have been together with all of my children at once. I took pictures and will get them out and on this site so y’all can see ’em. Best visit ever!

After my visit was over I returned to my cellblock and as I approached my cell I saw a card stuck to the front of my cell door, a birthday card! No, not a normal card, a homemade prison card. On the front of this card was a big picture of Popeye the Sailor, but this was not a normal cartoon picture of him. In this picture he was muscled up with tattoos and looking awesome! I have to brag a little here, the reason they used this picture is, I’m in great shape! Yeah, I’m yoked up for any age, much less mine – well lets just say that this card was a real compliment to the fact that the fellas appreciate that about me. Anyway, remember how I always say that everything in prison is racial, well, what made this card so special was that it was made by one of the Mexican guys ( Daniel Sustatia ) who then took it around to the blacks and Mexicans who all signed it! It was an awesome gesture. FYI, that don’t happen in prison. A great honor.

If we, for whatever reason, don’t want to eat in the Chow Hall it’s considered common courtesy to go anyway, and to give your tray away to someone else, and I was encouraged to do this … when I got there I understood why, one of the White Boys had made me a card as well; had a nice drawing on the front and a letter on the inside from the kid who’d made the card, and on the back he’d had the fellas sign it, of course each signature was accompanied with some sort of off-color comment, mostly referencing my sexual preferences. All in good fun! … What!! NO I ain’t been in prison that damn long! Of course they were kidding!

The kid who made the card and wrote the letter is a guy in his late twenties who was here, went home and then came back for violating the conditions of his parole – I was not happy to see him come back – we had had many a conversation about him getting out and doing the right thing. Anyway, as I read his words I couldn’t help but to look past the obvious words and to look at the meaning behind his saying what he said, and I was saddened by them; I could identify with his pain. Because of this I have decided to publish his letter here, for you to read. Because of the thing he infers about his parents, I will leave him unidentified. Remember, this letter ain’t about me, it’s about a young man trying to reach out for help to a world that has been unkind to him, … that’s what I saw. Hope this helps you and me to be a little less judgmental when it comes to folks who ain’t had it as good as we did or do. This is the letter on the inside, exactly, as it was written.

Mark, you have changed my life and I believe possibly my entire destiny, by being the best friend I have ever had. The truth is, I was not taking care of business like I had planned when I was out, nothing seemed to go my way and I was discouraged. I was too ashamed to write to you or send you pictures. I wanted to make you proud, to show you I could make it, but I messed it up. I feel like hell I let you down, and there were nights I could only sit down with your portrait and say “I’m sorry dad” and drink Everclear from the bottle, only to have my mom or Rachel ask me later “Why have you been crying.” I don’t know, nor do I believe I ever will know what anyone, to include myself, is here for. Questions such “Why” “How,” or “What,” will always remain. Because in a world of “Human minds” where all is only opinion, right and what’s wrong will always hang on a fence like the moon in the sky.

I don’t know how I feel inside, and there are times where I realize I’ve never taken the time out to learn who I was. The days last year I had all the time to speak with you, were some of the most motivated and best moments of clarity I’ve ever had. I was a lost kid when I met you. My whole life was a storm. Fights, drugs, fake friends, girls, parents fighting hurting me till they couldn’t physically, but continued mentally. All so quickly to wind up where I’m at today. So, in the last twenty years of my life, meeting you has been one of the only few great things that could have ever happened. It feels good to know you and my mother speak allot, she needs something like that a good strong positive influence. More than you know. So what I’m trying to say in a nutshell is, thank you for being the best friend I’ve ever had, the dad I never had, a very unique council, a trusting, loyal, dependable, understanding, sincere, genuine, and ever respectable man, one I wish to one day grow to be. I’ll always owe you for every second you’ve ever spent on me when you didn’t have to, thank you for all of that time and wisdom. Your the best man I know, I mean that with all my soul, you probably saved what was left of it. Thank you for everything, I’m grateful for having met you.

That my friend was what I read. Very nice and I was honored by it, but in spite of all the flattery, all I could hear in his words was desperation. Sad, very sad. Failed parents , failed child. FYI: I had to go back to him and clear up that he was thinking that his mother and I were communicating, we don’t. He don’t need to be thinking that, in spite of all his other problems.

After I returned from the Chow Hall I ate the meal fellas had prepared for me and sat down to watch a little TV. As I’m doing so, one of the guys walks up, taps me on the shoulder and hands me a little loose tobacco that he’d gotten, from only God knows where, and says Happy Birthday.

Now tobacco is forbidden here, it’s against the rules, and therefore, for me to smoke this contraband would also be against the rules. So for me to later that night go my cell and roll that little gift up in some toilet paper wrapper and enjoy a good smoke, would also be against the rules – and since you know that I ain’t no rule breaker … What! I heard that!! Well, lets just say that if I had rolled it up and smoked it … which of course I didn’t, because it’s against the rules … I would have thoroughly enjoyed it … yeah, crazy. You can find enough dope on this yard to kill half of Texas, but a cigarette, now that’s a rare gift!

If you have been keeping up with my blogs you have read about my love of giving and receiving pranks – love ’em! Well, my main nemesis here when it comes to pranks is a guy named Shane, a black guy named Shane! (for my European readers, the name Shane is the Whitest name on the planet!). Believe me, he gets it from all sides about that too.

Now Shane is exactly like me, he loves to prank people, mostly me, and he’s good humored about it too, well, most of the time.

On the day after my birthday, Shane goes to the prison store, the Commissary, and buys me a big and I mean Giant Hershey Candy Bar and then gives it to me for my birthday. The important thing to know here is that it’s July in South Texas – meaning its hot as hell outside! Now, factor that in with the fact that my buddy Shane puts a chocolate bar in his back-pocket – now you have to imagine this- a giant Hershey Bar in a guys back pants pocket in 100 degree heat!

All I can figure is that somewhere along the way to the cell-block the heat must have softened that candy bar enough, not to melt it, but to make it pliable, because I kid you not, that damned candy bar was curved exactly to the shape of his butt cheek! Now a better man would have been so grateful for the gift that he’d of let that go, but I am an opportunist, and he is my main nemesis! So only decent thing to do was to take that odd shaped candy bar and put it on ice, to harden it up and preserve the shape until all of the fellas came in from work. Yep, that’s what I did too, and then I spent the next couple of hours showing it to everybody! Of course when I did so I’d ask everybody this, “What kind of guy in prison would give another man a Hershey Bar molded into the shape of his butt cheek?” then I’d add, “What am I supposed to think about that? It’s obvious that it was done on purpose. Is this something like prison foreplay?” Then when I had the chance I’d walk up behind him and hold the candy bar next to his butt cheek and say, “See, it’s a perfect match!” Man we gave him the blues over that!

In addition to my past blogs about pranks, you’ll also have read about our prison cats, most especially my cat, Boss Man. You’ll also have read about how this Warden had all of them trapped and hauled off to be exterminated, I’d say something about his heritage and a woodpile, but that would rude, and I ain’t rude … well, not here I ain’t. But I think it was a poor example of human decency. Let’s leave it at that.

Well, the fellas all know how I feel about animals, especially those cats, especially Boss Man. So, to top off my amazing birthday, one of the guys, a man named Mike Sanchez from San Antonio, drew me a picture of a cat lying next to a log on some green grass with flowers … the cat in this picture is doing what Boss Man did best, sleeping : ), lying on the grass next to him was a collar with “Boss Man” written on it. Then he took colored pencils and colored it all in. I have to tell you, when I went in my cell and saw it, it hit me in the chest … I just don’t understand how anyone can justify harming animals, I’m sorry, I just don’t. Them wild cats had been on this yard for years and never harmed a soul. This card will always be special to me, not so much for the art work, but because Mike spent so much of his time making it.

I’ll also tell you that I received a lot of “Well Wishes” and cards from friends here and abroad, all of which made me extremely grateful for all of you out there. All in all, as you can see, I had a beautiful day.

Who out there is more loved by his children, respected by his peers or happier than me! God has truly blessed me beyond what I could have asked for in a hundred lifetimes.

Well, that’s about it for now. I wish you all happiness and Godliness. Peace be with you.

Three Rivers, 7-23-18