All this remembrance of Nate Fuller and my time in Presidio has made me think of many things I saw in that time 40 years ago.There were many interesting characters in residence in Presidio then,and I suppose that a certain amount of eccentricity would be a result of(requirement for?) living there for long.
Of all the odd souls I came to know there,one of the more memorable has to be "Senor Luna"I never knew if that was really his name,or merely a reflection of his frequent state of mind. My first awareness of Senor Luna came early on,when we were picking around outside Presidio doing a little sign cutting for any one heading out for the interior.We observed this really big footprint--I mean Shaquille O'neil big.The old hand observed- "Oh ,that's just Senor Luna,youll get to know him eventually".
Well,time went by and I gave it no more thought.Then one evening I was sitting at the Hotel Bar in Ojinaga enjoying a Tecate,and idly watching a "Lady of the Evening" plying her trade with a couple of guys from up north somewhere.It was cool weather then,and the door opened and in hobbles this very large individual wearing a greatcoat,and using a really stout wooden crutch.
He comes over and plops down on the stool next to me and with no introduction and only a few pleasantries,begins extolling the charms of "Maria Elena" across the way and inquires as to whether I would like an introduction.Not wishing to be impolite I replied that while her charms were indeed considerable(NOT)I thought she was profitably engaged for the evening,and that it would be rude to intrude upon the arrangements.Another time perhaps. That seemed to satisfy him and conversation turned briefly to more mundane matters.He spoke pretty good English,and at first all seemed normal.Then his conversation became increasingly erratic as he discussed his dis-satisfaction with his treatment at the hands of the local constabulary.After a few minutes he started spraying spittle and appeared increasingly angry.
I was starting to eye the door when he said something that let me know he was getting really unstable.He said he had to be in Presidio the next day for a meeting with the Attorney General!Now,I didn't know who exactly he had in mind,but I was pretty certain the the attorney general(Ramsey Clarke I think)didn't even know there was such a place as Presidio,let alone how to get there.The more he said the madder he seemed to get,and the more worried I got.Here was this huge person,red-eyed spitting mad,armed with a crutch that would have made a seviceable battering ram,and what's worse--between me and the door.
I was young and feisty in those days,but I knew there was no profit in argument with the likes of this guy.I told him that if the attorney general was due in Presidio the next day I had to immediately get back across the river and make preparations for his arrival----and with that I bolted out the door,and straight for the border.
The next day I recounted my strange encounter,and was told--"Well,you've finally made the acquaintance of "Senor Luna".It seemed that because of some accident of birth coupled with some peculiarity of immigration law,Senor Luna enjoyed dual citizenship.His elderly mother lived in Ojinaga.But Senor Luna came and went as he pleased.For some reason he was on really bad terms with the police in Mexico,and had evidently gotten the best of them at times.It got bad enough that they resolved that at the next outbreak they would just shoot him,which they did.Whether by design or lousy aim,they only succeeded in wounding him in the leg,hence the crutch. While Senor Luna appeared considerably irked by that,I got the impression that he was most peeved by what he consided to be the attorney general's inadequate concern for his grievance.
That was not my last encounter with Senor Luna.There was a further violent episode in Senor Luna's stormy relationship with officialdom that resulted in his forcible expulsion by the Mexican Army.That will wait for another installment in the Luna saga---more later. G.Owen
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