The summer of 1972 found me in San Luis PotosÃ Mexico, trying to learn enough Spanish to get my final college credits for graduation. I had not been a stellar foreign language student up to that point, so I was a bit “under the gun”.
To get a better understanding of the culture, etc., blah-blah, we had a few travel days to see some sights. A couple of those days were spent in Mexico City.
My mother had traveled extensively in Mexico, and she “collected” people wherever she went. She “arranged” for my then-girlfriend (now my wife of 45 years standing) and me to meet a young woman she knew. We rode the Metro to the end of the line, south of Mexico City, and “Blanca” picked us up and took us to her home in CoyoacÃ¡n for dinner. My Spanish was still sketchy at that time, and I don’t remember many details, except the following little tale.
We were visiting in the sala (the two young women were visiting–I was smiling, trying to look agreeable, and straining for a familiar word) when Blanca’s father came home from work. He entered through the back door that led into the kitchen. He was a stocky, mostly bald man of early middle-age with greying temples. He wore an oxford cloth blue shirt, open at the collar, and some nondescript pleated-front gray wool slacks. But he totally caught my attention when he pulled a 1911 from his waistband and deposited it in a drawer beside the back door!
Now, I had been reading Jeff Cooper for a few years at that point, and he often mentioned “Mexican carry”. Cooper had a well earned reputation as a teacher, BUT–he was not good about repeating his definitions for late comers (which was ME). When Blanca’s father hauled that old 1911 out of his waistband where it had been nestled just behind his hipbone, I KNEW EXACTLY what Mexican carry meant!
Ever slow on the uptake, I did not fully appreciate the significance of the father’s occupation until many years later, when I read Joaquin Jackson’s book, “One Ranger“, wherein he describes the singular power of being a Mexican general. Yep–that was Blanca’s father!