Special to the PRESS
This time of year we focus on Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. The Museum of Port Isabel has again dedicated spaces for those who want to honor their dead.
Last year a group of my friends from the Rio Grande Valley and I placed an altar called Dying While Crossing, which focused on our immigrants who died en route to the USA. It was a good way to show our solidarity and to inform our community what is happening around our RGV.
This year I have placed a very personal altar. The altar is for my beloved husband Walter B. Birdwell who passed away December 25, 2017. Walter loved life and he had multiple interests. I am exhibiting some of his poems and favorite books, as well as his art of rocks and wood that he called Inorganic Beings. The moon that he dearly loved is present and there is even a small bottle of tequila, his favorite drink.
Last year Walter and I attended a very good lecture at the Port Isabel Museum where the artist Jose Guadalupe Posada (February 2,1852-January 20,1913) was discussed. Posada is known for the promotion of the Calaveras, especially Calavera de la Catrina, the “skull of the Female Socialite.” In the 1920s artists like Diego Rivera and Jean Charlot embraced Posada’s folk art.
The Day of the Dead is a pre-Hispanic tradition. Anthropologist Dr. Lopez Ramos from the RGV has explored how altars have evolved and become part of our culture and she promotes the building of them.
Walter loved to build altars, in fact, during our marriage we had altars in three of our last homes. We also built altars at his farm in Missouri and in Mexico while traveling in states like Guanajuato, Jalisco and Oaxaca.
While building Walter’s personal altar, I experienced 50 years and one month of the most wonderful memories of our lives together.
I know he is honored with his very own altar. The additional flowers in a dish with water are in memory of the souls of immigrants and all victims of war and oppression who died during this past year.
I live in Laguna Vista and the Port Isabel Museum is the closest art space for me. I thank them for giving spaces for those of us who want to share altars to promote love and peace. Walter often reminded me not to feel alone. He said that the elements — water, earth, air, fire and spirit — are always with us to keep us company.
Yolanda Garza Birdwell
Recently Port Isabel -South Padre Press reported on yet another lawsuit by the City of Port Isabel against Teresa Fonseca, South Texas Architectural Resources, S.T.A.R. Consulting, Petra Reyna, The Reyna Network LLC, Edward Meza, Babali Corporation DBA Appraisal Associates.
What occurred in executive session on April 10 2018 is ambiguous as to whether it was a vote to proceed with a lawsuit or was it a vote to explore the possibilities of a lawsuit? During the open meeting of April 10, 2018 Commissioner Cantu Sr. yelled out “We’re going to sue.” This without a vote of the commissioners. The passion of this administration to sue first and not answer questions later is evident. The residents of Port Isabel cannot afford to pay the attorneys if the City does not prevail. With six entities hiring their own attorneys, the loss of funds to Port Isabel could be many times what the City hopes to recover in this lawsuit. Plus, it could open up further individual lawsuits of defamation by the defendants of this lawsuit.
The latest lawsuit is scheduled to be heard in State District Court 357 by Judge Juan Magallanes (Gilberto Hinojosa’s former business partner). Seriously? Don’t take my word for it — google both names and you will see their partnership connection.
The citizens of Port Isabel deserve a better, more informed government. Lawsuits and bond issues are not the way to an accountable government.
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