We question a question about the history of this Mexican-American cemetery — one that stands in contrast to many of the more staid cemeteries around Austin.
A major turning point for marijuana laws or more political smoke and mirrors? A sweeping pardon for federal marijuana possession convictions announced by president Biden. Though federal and state marijuana laws remain in place, what are the implications in Texas? And what else should Texans be looking for? We’ll explore with a top expert on drug policy at Rice University. Also Facebook’s gone Meta. Twitter may be going to Musk. Who’s the new king of social media and why does it matter? Also the week that was in Texas politics and more today on the Texas Standard:
They say that Filipinos are the Mexicans of Asia. From the adobo and the chicharrones, to cultural traditions, we share an overlap in our identities. In this episode, we bond with our Filipino primos Isabel Protomartir (host of Identity Productions show Até) and Ralph Xavier Degala (Master Chef Season 9). We discuss how Filipino culture is thriving in Texas and the tasty tacos that come with it.
The business of border security. Who’s making millions, and who’s paying the price tag? An investigation by the Houston Chronicle takes a closer look. Also, new commercial checkpoints at the border set up by Governor Abbott now opening back up for business? We’ll have the latest. Plus presidential debates and their impartiality. How debatable? The GOP says Republicans running for president will have to sign a pledge not to participate with the Commission on Presidential Debates. Ricard Pineda of the University of Texas at El Paso talks about the implications. And Kristen Cabrera cracks open the story of an Easter tradition especially widespread in south Texas and northern Mexico. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:
A plane trip back to Austin for Texas Democrats, courtesy of the House speaker. We’ll have the latest in a huge political stalemate still unfolding. With Texas Democratic House and Senate members in D.C. right now, a maneuver to deny a quorum and stop legislation to further restrict voting in Texas. The political theatre is getting more dramatic with very real political fallout. Also, with Texas growing exponentially the state transportation department wants to spend billions widening highways, but some are wondering if that mindset should be thrown into reverse. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:
My friend of many years, Tony Zavaleta, told me the following story: He said, “There was once a married couple who lived in Rio Grande City back in the late 1800s. They had tried for some time to have a baby, but had had no luck. They went to see doctors and followed their advice, but still, God had not seen fit to bless them with a baby. So they decided that they would go to see Don Pedrito the ‘curandero’ – a healer – who lived near Falfurrias. They had been told that he could work miracles. It was a three-day journey by wagon, but they knew it would be worth going because Don Pedrito would certainly give them a ‘receta,’ a ritual to follow that would give them a baby. When the couple was a half a mile of Don Pedrito’s home, a boy came running to them and stopped their wagon. He said, ‘Don Pedrito said to turn around and go home. She is already pregnant.’ The young couple was shocked, but they did as Don Pedrito commanded. They turned around and went home, never doubting his word. Eight months later they had a gorgeous and healthy baby boy.”
My friend Tony paused for a moment and said, “And that baby boy was my grandfather.”
I’m connected to Don Pedrito as well, but not through my ancestry. I grew up only a few miles from his shrine, which still exists to this day. I walked by it many times in my teenage years and went into the shrine’s little room, hot from dozens of prayer candles that always burned there. At 15, I was astounded that there were faded and glossy new photographs from all over the United States and Mexico, leaning against the candles, asking for cures. Don Pedrito had died fifty years before, in 1907, and yet his fame as a healer not only endured, it thrived. People from far away made “promesas” and asked for his blessings because they had faith in his potential to still deliver cures. He was a much loved folk saint, and remains so to this day. Right now you can walk into any H-E-B store in much of Texas and buy a Don Pedro prayer candle. (In fact, you can even order it from H-E-B online.)
Don Pedrito never took credit for cures. He always said that he didn’t cure anybody. He was only God’s intermediary.
He rejected worship. If someone tried to kneel he would tell them to get up. Don Pedrito insisted that God was the one doing the healing. Don Pedrito only provided the “receta,” the prescription, which he said was provided by divine inspiration. Lest you think he was a con man, using Jesus to rob people, quite the opposite was true. He was Christ-like in that he never charged for his healing. People would give him money, and he would often refuse it, saying “you need that to get back home,” or “you should give that back to the man who loaned it to you.” If he did accept money, he would often use it to buy food for the many people who camped, sometimes by the hundreds, at Los Olmos Creek, waiting to see him. As one man said of him, “What he accepted with one hand, he gave with the other.”
Proof of Don Pedro’s enormous popularity is provided by author Jennifer Seman, who published a map of that era showing that all roads and trails of the region led to Don Pedro. He was Rome. It is an incredible map provided by the General Land Office for 1892 and shows clearly that the most heavily trafficked roads and paths of the time in that general region led to Don Pedro on Los Olmos Creek.
Ruth Dodson wrote the first significant book on Don Pedro, in Spanish, in 1934: Don Pedrito Jaramillo, Curandero. At the encouragement of J. Frank Dobie, she collected the Don Pedrito folk tales. After collecting the tales about him for two decades, Dodson concluded “There has never been another so honored and appreciated among the Mexican-American people of South Texas as this curandero, this folk healer, Don Jaramillo. It can also be said that no one else in this part of the country, of whatever nationality, religion, economic or social standing, has done, through a lifetime, as much to try to relieve human suffering as this man did through 25 years of living in South Texas.”
A year ago, we answered a question from an ATXplained listener: Where did all the families that used to live on Rainey Street go?
One man was still there. But now, even that has changed. Audrey McGlinchy has this follow-up.
Okay, now the legislative session is really over. The veto deadline has passed. What did and didn’t make it off Governor Greg Abbott’s desk? We’ll explore. Also, a dead zone is headed to the Gulf Coast. And it could be one of the biggest on record. How it happens and why it looks so bad. Plus, stuttering is common but you might be surprised how little is known about it. An effort to fix that and educate us all. Also access to healthcare can be difficult for all Texans living in rural parts of the state. So what if you have to go specifically to a VA hospital or clinic? all of those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:
Have you seen maps of political districts that just look like they were drawn to achieve some certain result? We’ll explain how math could identify and prevent gerrymandering. Plus Mexican-American Studies are slowly gaining traction in school districts across Texas. We’ll look at why it’s been delayed at the state level and how some school districts are forging ahead on their own. And we’ll take you inside the business and passion of raising and breeding Texas Longhorns. Plus it’s Friday, that means the Typewriter rodeo and a wrap of the biggest political stories of the week. Today on the Texas Standard:
Reading writing and, racism? Public outrage today over a textbook which claims to teach Mexican American history. We’ll explore. Plus, sick of traffic? Science to the rescue. Texas A&M has a plan to move cargo off the road so cars can go…could be huge for cities like Houston, we’ll have details. Also a Texas metropolis nipping at the heels of the nation’s top 10 export cities. Any guesses? We were surprised, perhaps you will be too. And officially it calls itself the Live Music Capitol of the World but city leaders worry about an unhealthy exodus of musicians. Too late for a turnaround? Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:
Did the General Land Office break the law when it asked ex-employees to sign promises not to sue, in exchange for compensation? We’ll explore. Also the University of Texas and Texas A&M have decided to drop their rivalry in hopes of going nuclear? We’ll hear about what could turn into a multibillion dollar partnership. And did Chicanos really want to destroy western society? A school textbook proposed for Texas classrooms says just that…we’ll hear more. And the view from Texas looking southward…and what looks like a shift to the right. All that and much more today on the Texas Standard: