January 3, 2010
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“Good mooorning Tucson! It’s 5:45 and I’m your favorite DJ Tim Collins here to
wish you a good morning from WPM forty-two point----“
Ricky slapped the radio off as if he had a personal grudge against Tim Collins. The birds weren’t even up, but he was already floating eyes half closed, to the kitchen. Hopefully he would just miss Mamá before gulping down his cup of coffee and heading off to work.

“Hola Ricardo!”
Wishes wouldn’t be granted to him today.
“Hi Mamá. I’m sorry, I need to get to work but I’ll be home for dinner.” Ricardo opened the front door.
“Ricardo” She said in that sweet voice of hers, forcing him to turn around, “When are you going to let me come see you at the office?”
“Mamá, I told you today I’ll hopefully get a promotion to a real office. My boss wants to see me first thing this morning.”

“Mijo” her hands clasped his face, “I don’t care where you work, I’m
just so grateful to have a hardworking boy like you, helping your Mamá out when you are not busy learning.”
“I love you too, bye!”
Great, now Ricky was going to be late. He only wished he could get a real desk job so he didn’t have to hide his real work attire in his briefcase. But, he wasn’t completely lying to his Mamá. He did work for a “landscaping company”, as did many Latinos.
Ricky’s boss’ office wasn’t in a high rise, or a building downtown, but was rather a modest structure that stood in an abandoned lot. However, this lot had not been abandoned completely, for everyday starting at 7:00 am, about 50 workers lined up to get their assignments for the day. They would then collect their tools and go where they were needed. Today was no exception, but Ricky was.
Before Ricky got in line as usual, he stepped to the front window and reminded the man with the real desk job that he had a meeting this morning.
“Oh, sure, go around back, his office is behind the gray door.”
“Thank you Sir.” Ricky replied, wishing someday, that someone would call him “Sir”.
He walked around back to his boss’ office.
“Hello, Mr. Wendell, you wanted to see me?”

“Buenos dias Mamá. Did Ricky leave yet?” said Rosie
“Yes, Muñeca. He had a meeting with his boss so he left a little early. But I’ll-”
“Great! How am I gonna get to school now? Maybe I just won’t go today.” Rosie said, already defeated.
“No. Absolutely not! You will go to school today and every other day!” Mamá shocked her, as Rosie hadn’t heard her raise her voice in what seemed like years. “I’ll just take you like I used to.”
Mamá whisked off her apron and walked Rosie to the car. The ride was agonizingly slow as Mamá prepared for the speed bumps a good 20 feet too early. She was always so overprotective.
“Rosa, do you need to be picked up today?” Mamá urged.
“No, remember, I have to tutor after school today.” Mamá didn’t know that with Rosie’s grades, no one would ever ask her to tutor.

As they rolled up to the school, Mamá wished Rosie goodbye with a kiss that lasted just a little too long, and then Rosie was gone.


“Where will I work? How could he believe that? Such an obvious lie! How could that woman? I was never even inside her house! Just trimming the hedges! She probably just lost it!” Ricky rambled as he left the lot for the last time.

No one would hire an 18-year-old boy just out of high school for a desk job. Where would he work now? How would he support his family? Pay for his night school classes? He had to find another job for himself, for his family.

Finally, he composed himself as he remembered an ad for a custodial position at the community college. This would be perfect. He would go to work and then straight to his class.

Ricky sprinted to the college. Once he got to the building, he went inside to the information desk and learned about what his hopefully, new job would entail.

“Great! And umm, if you don’t mind me asking, how much will you pay?” As the lady behind the desk answered, Ricky’s face dropped.

“I’ll take it.”
This custodial job would pay one night school course less than his previous. School was what got him through his days laboring in other people’s gardens. But he had to do this. He had always been the man of the family and took on all of the responsibilities. He knew that education was the most important thing to his mother.
But for now, Ricky would clean the footprints of the lucky kids, those that could afford an education.


The last bell of the day rang and Rosie gathered her books and walked out of her classroom. She went towards her locker where she gathered the bag of jewelry she had made in art class. She knew she had to walk past the room where tutoring took place. Kids were laughing and teachers were praising as Rosie passed.
She continued on her walk until she was about a half mile from her school near the Yaqui Indian Reservation.
Rosie had no affiliation with the Yaquis, but once, while walking by the reservation, a tourist had stopped her to ask a question about the tribe. It was then that she realized she could be mistaken for one of them. The next day in art class, she came up with a brilliant idea. Everyday after school, she would set up a stand near the entrance to the reservation and sell “genuine” Yaqui jewelry. At least her dark skin and dramatic height would be good for something.
She couldn’t be hurting anyone by lying, but rather helping her family.

“Ricardo, is that you? Rosa?”
“Yah Mamá, it’s us.” Rosie answered for both of them.
As Ricardo and Rosa came through the kitchen door, Mamá’s eyes lit up like they always did when her children came home.

“I made some tamales and tortillas: for Ricardo flour and Rosa corn.”

“Gracias Mamá” Ricardo replied in his smooth, handsome voice. My, how he had grown from a small boy to such a handsome man.

“Silly me. I almost forgot, how was your meeting Ricardo, and your tutoring Rosa?” Not many mothers could brag that their children were making their own money.

“The meeting was fine. Everything turned out well.”

“Oh, how wonderful, you got the promotion! And you, Rosa, did you have a good day?”

“Yep, it was the same. Why don’t we eat?”
Ricardo, Rosa, and Mamá sat in their usual places as they held hands to say grace.
As usual, Mamá began “Bless us, O Lord, and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive.”
“Let us have hope,” Ricardo added,
“Love,” Rosa continued,
“And trust.” Mamá finished.

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