Make it Work (Again)


Only some of those are my Chone Choneys

In case you couldn’t feel my embarrassment emanating through your computer screen, those are indeed pairs of my undies hung out to dry in a forest of granny panties. The only thing that could have had me shrieking louder when I came upon this scene would have been the presence of tiny baby heads impaled on those spikes instead of my Vicki Secretos (thanks 10 pesos pile at Lagunilla tianguis).

To paraphrase that last paragraph – I’m living with my Gramma, OG Chilangabacha, again. You may remember reading the tale of the ghost sheets from the last time I lived with her.

Although I’ve eaten lots of delicious homemade salsa and experienced that unmistakable feeling of sun-bathed underoos, I am not the only one benefiting from this living situation. In addition to opening mayonnaise jars and chauferring on trips to the 99-cent store, I also saved O.G. Chilangabacha from death-by-tacos.

One Saturday night Gramma mentioned she was going to help out the Guadalupanas at an Oktoberfest. I didn’t ask for details ’cause I think Jeopardy was on. Anyway, after Final Jeopardy I got hungry and thought I’d pop by and see O.G. Chilangabacha among her peers.

The Oktoberfest was like a bad horror movie carnival, with screaming on the tilt-o-whirl and a corny Michael McDonald cover band. Plus, at 95 degrees in the shade  it was also more like hot-toberfest.  When  I finally found the Abuelita corner I discovered they had put my 81-year-old gramma on taco shell duty. She was frantically dipping tortillas into a Costco frying vat at a pace that would frighten even a Del Taco employee. The lady who was supposed to be helping Gramma was too busy platicando with the security guards to be of assistance, and some pimply teenager kept running over every five seconds to ask for more shells.

I was like, Gramma sit down, I’ll take over. She had barely asked me to walk her to her car when her eyes glossed over and she slumped forward like a borracha.

I was scared out of my ever loving mind – even more scared than the time I ended up in Tabacalera with no shoes on in the middle of rainy season. I’ll need a couple palomas to tell that story.

Please don’t die from making tacos, Gramma. That’s a worse way to die than when our great-great-great abuelo got drunk and fell in the pozo in Jesus Maria, leaving everyone to drink tequila for three days because the water was all boracho’d.

A million options ran through my mind. I thought of unplugging the Michael McDonald cover band, but instead I yelled at the Guadalupana taco shell helper.

“Why the heck are you keeping the fryer on at a time like this! Screw your tacos!” *

Luckily there were paramedics and an ambulance on hand. It turned out that O.G. Chilangabacha had just suffered heat stroke because she thought she could still work through the pressure like her days in the La Habra lemon packing factory.

I drove her home and made sure she was safely in bed before going out and picking up some Gatorade.

“Where did you get those?” she asked when I got back.

“The drugstore,” I replied.

“Ay Chilangabacha, you shoulda gone to the 99-cent,” she said.

Yeesh, I still have a lot to learn.

* other less PG words may have been used.



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4 responses to “Make it Work (Again)

  1. ChilangaMama

    Muy funny, hija!! What will my grandkids ever be able to write about me?

  2. My inadequate bunuelos have now been completely laughed off!

  3. Hi… I’m visiting Mexico City next month, and am looking for a place where ex-Californians may hang out. Is there such a place? Or, a California-style restaurant? I do a weekly radio show on all-things California, and I thought it’d be fun to bring back some material from my vacation.


    Randy White

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