Their cabin was on the property of Señor Salvador Tenorio, whose wife, Señora Maria Theresa Duran Tenorio, received regular herbal treatments from Mama Nina. Señora Tenorio allowed Mama Nina and Sparrow to live in the cabin in exchange for her treatments. Sparrow often daydreamed about living in the Tenorios’ big hacienda.
“They have a perfect life in that big house. I wish we were like them.” Sparrow attended school with the Tenorios’ daughter, Josefina. Just beyond their small cabin, red clay tiles lead to the hacienda courtyard. The house was built in the shape of a square, with a patio in the middle where flowers grew and little baskets with singing yellow birds hung from overhead beams. Sparrow often saw Josefina’s aunt Alicia and her sweetheart, Sergeant Valdez, meeting there, and she often imagined the lovebirds’ conversations in the shadows.
“Just remember, many beautiful things are fragile,” Mama Nina said, waving one more bundle of sage leaves to cleanse the cabin air.
Josefina’s parents hosted parties for community leaders in their huge hacienda. Guests included visiting captains, artists, and musicians. Josefina’s aunt Clara, who also lived in the hacienda, conducted all the family’s social arrangements. She knew everyone in town and all about the latest fashions. Sparrow often served refreshments for the guests at these parties. It was on these occasions that Josefina sneaked Sparrow sweet treats from the hacienda’s kitchen. Sparrow’s mouth watered just to think of sampling the refreshments. The girls sometimes eavesdropped on the partygoers’ conversations.
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