As the night passed, Alicia lay wide awake, thinking about the second part of Padre Romo’s news. It was something about Tío Salvador and taxes. Mama never talked about Tío Salvador. Why pay attention to the ancient family stories? The fun, memorable stories Mama told included exciting events and ended with Papa and the brothers saving shipwrecked sailors from a Spanish galleon. Mama liked to tell about their being rewarded with a grant to Rancho Refugio and becoming the heroes of the pueblo.
How did the stories begin? Where did Tío Salvador fit into the family? The Padre said Tío Salvador worked for the governor, assigned to tax collections, an important man.
“Clara, are you still awake? I can’t get to sleep.” Alicia dared to whisper to her sister in the sleeping loft. “Is Tío Salvador an important man?” She was sure she would get yelled at for waking Clara, but Alicia could not contain her curiosity. “Should I worry about Tío coming to visit Rancho Refugio? I remember nothing about him. Do you?” At first, Clara said nothing.
“I hate to be the one to tell you, but we are in more trouble than you can imagine.” Clara lay curled up in a ball.
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