Mexico – Saltillo, 1972

Brenda Tipps

Early morning. I am in bed remembering that movie scene – –  you’ve seen it – – in which the wife flings a suitcase onto the bed, grabs armfuls of clothes still on their hangers, pulls open drawers, stuffs everything willy-nilly into the suitcase, slams the lid shut and departs in fury. She’s had enough.

In my mind I play my own version of this scene, in which I am the fleeing woman, here, now, in this shabby hotel in Saltillo. I could. I could tiptoe across the wooden floor, remembering the closet door that squeaks, and make my getaway while I still can, before my husband wakes up and persuades me that we’re on our way to Mexico City, where things will be so much better. I long to get away from the oppression of narrow streets, heat, and the unrelieved atmosphere of the bulls.

The final straw has been our stay at a cattle ranch far out in the country, an experience disconcerting enough never to want to repeat. So I think: I could leave. Where to? I don’t know yet.  (More…)

Mexico–Novillada at Huamantla

Brenda Tipps

After breakfast, after the extra cup of coffee and the tidying up of our room, we have nothing to do now, except wait. I remember now, that this is a commonplace phenomenon in the taurine world. One finds oneself waiting for someone who is usually waiting for someone else, or for some event of some kind. One is assured that the event, or person, is going to materialize imminently, “ahorita,” – – any minute now. And no one, no one is concerned – – except the Anglos.

This morning my husband, Kelly, and I are waiting for a taxi, or some other vehicle, to take us to Huamantla, a mountain town perhaps a forty minute drive from the ranch where we are staying.  At 4 o’clock there’s to be a novillada, that is, a bullfight for novilleros, young men or women, aspiring matadors, who will fight novillos rather than full-grown bulls.  (More…)

Dry Ranch, Mexico

Brenda Tipps

Rancho Seco sits on a hill in a landscape of green, dotted with small white pueblos on the distant slopes. It has the look and layout of the traditional Mexican hacienda you’ve seen in films: white adobe walls, red tile roofs, a one-story rectangular building enclosing a courtyard edged by a covered walkway from which various rooms can be accessed.

Mounted on the walls are the huge heads of Rancho Seco bulls that have distinguished themselves in the ring, each with a plaque showing his name and dates. The most famous was Pajarito, who jumped over the barrera and into the stands, landing in the laps of some of the spectators. (Amazingly, no one was hurt.)  (More…)