This was followed shortly by INCIDENT #3, in which Canela, the neurotically aggressive longhair chihuahua (psychotic sister to our own beloved Reyna) that belongs to my Aunt Josie, proceeded to come up to Chago while he was howling in pain on the floor to sniff out the problem.
Chago, remember, loves animals. After this visit, I'm not so sure anymore. But at the time, he still loved animals dearly. So, when a tiny little furry creature comes sniffing at his toes, he naturally reaches out to lovingly pat her on the head, and the little fucker nipped at him!!! And no, it wasn't a huge bite at all. And actually barely even broke the skin, but still! He was freaking traumatized at that point and begging, just begging, to go home.
Later that day, back at the ranch, while watching his Tio Donny roping a steer...
(just had to get that picture in there somehow)
Chago tripped over his own two feet and fell off a 4-foot table in the middle of the arena and hurt his right arm. (INCIDENT #4, in case you lost count.)
Very shortly after cleaning him up and sending him back out with his Grandpa (who was already beginning to feel a little nervous himself), I burned my hand while bbqing burgers for everyone. Twice.
Okay, so at this point, Amy, who's back in California receiving text after text about how her family is being bruised and battered all over Texas, is asking me to get my grandmother to do something about this already.
And that's when it occurred to me that that's EXACTLY what was happening. It was the evil eye. And likely more than just my Grandma's (which would have been enough to take anyone down), but with every new family member we saw, or every new person we were re-introduced to, the stares and the compliments flowed like wine, but no one ever touched us (thus immediately negating the effects of the evil eye).
And sure, at this point, if you're not from South Texas then you're probably rolling your eyes and thinking what is this superstitious freak talking about? And who the hell allowed her to have children?
But whether you believe it or not, the power of other people's thoughts and stares and glares and prayers is something that, I think, translates across cultures and socioeconomic statuses. You see it in New Orleans' voodoo. You hear about it in prayer circles. And it's in our everyday "sending you good thoughts" when someone needs a boost of luck and good juju.
But sometimes a little body is just ill-equipped to handle the sudden weight of energy thrust upon them by others, even if it's all good stuff. And sometimes just releasing that back into the universe can help you breathe in your own skin again. And in my culture it's called being curado del ojo. The ritual itself is most often performed with an egg. But it's really about someone in a position of curandero saying prayers over you (with an egg, herbs, a broom stick) and willing out any bad shit that may have gotten stuck in your essence.
After that, we were accident-free.
Nevertheless, my father made sure to point out (and to ask me to forward to Amy) a sign hanging on the fence at the ranch that read: