In Honor of Ernesto Mitchell Tafoya

Posted: March 1, 2013 in Tribute

In life we meet many persons. Some become temporary buddies, especially when you’re in collage. Other times that person may stay in your life for a few months or years. And sometimes, a person stays in your life for a life time. That presence may not be physical, but it is more in the emotional or spiritual sence. The later is the friend I made while I was attending classes at Northern New Mexico Collage. I had class with this man and I would listen to him talk. He would make topics make sence. I got to know him slowly, after a while we became friends.

Ernesto Mitchell-Tafoya was a man who, by his presence inspired you. If you got to know him and he opened up to you and you were able to her his story, it was an amazing tail of resiliency. This blog post is to honor this great person. I have included a picture of Ernesto that was in the Arts section of the Rio Grande Sun when they did a story about him and his play “Good Women of Aztlán”. I have also include three poems I wrote for Ernesto. This is a trifecta in his honor.

image

image

image

A True Hero

© 2009 Angelo J. Sandoval

What is a hero, better yet a superhero? Many may say it’s Superman

Spiderman Or

Maybe Wonderwomen.

Others say it’s Michael Jordan

Alex Rodriguez Or

Kobe Bryant

But are these people/personas really Superheroes?

iNo pienso yo que son! A real hero is an individual That sets, gives, teaches And inspires others to do their best. to achieve realistic dreams. I have found this Hero, He walks the halls of the college. What college you ask? Pues el Northern or as the older Homies call it, el TVI.

This hero, I met, pues he is a vato That got down with pen and paper And wrote the most amazing play.

This hero is patient.

I met this Man while attending Classes at Northern New Mexico College Superheroes, heroes, Batman, Spiderman They don’t know the true meaning of Being a hero.

Though this Dude doesn’t know he’s A hero, He Is! He’s a great inspiration to all. Despite severe health problems.

My hero and my inspiration Keeps his head up.

Graduating from Northern, Attending Highlands, he continues To inspire, setting the example. Despite illness He keeps fighting. He called his play, “Good Woman of Aztlan” My hero is the Great Man of Aztlan

MUCHA GRACIAS THANK YOU- Ernesto Tafoya Mitchell For being a great inspiration and a great example

This poem was inspired by a great friend of mine, his name is Ernesto Mitchell Tafoya! He has inspired me to keep working hard to achive my goals, dispite any type of hurdle that may come my way. I hope this poem helps inspire all of you, Mis Amigos de Cyperlandia.

To my Friend Ernesto

(c) Angelo J. Sandoval
01-16-2013

The alter has been prepared
Las Santos en su propio lugar
la concha,
white sage,
el copal de oro
las velas con su llama brillante

El altar
listo pa’ recibir
el humo sagrado
that is created

created by a sacred union
una union Santa y sagrada
el humo del copal de oro
and white sage
en la concha de abulón

la llama une
al copal con el sage
las oracions
empezan
I pray
I pray

pray
pray

el humo sube al las alturas
de los cielos

los rezonos
pidiendole a mi Tatita Dios
que mi amigo
tenga alivio de su enfermedad
que las bendicions de
los Angeles Santos
lleven las oracions a mi amigo.

Las velas en el altar
brillantes
brillantes con la luz del Creador

Pidiendole al Cristo Crucificado
el Cristo Negro
de Chalma y Esquipula
que mi amigo halle
las esperanzas de Creador.

Ultimo Adios

2.28.2013

I went to say Adios
today, to a friend
a mentor
an all around Vato Firme.

I was honored to
stand in front of your
Familia y amigos

I honored your strength
your determination
your life filled Spirit.

your legacy will live
vivira hasta los ultimos dias
de estos tiempos.

Adios le dijemos solo
a tu cuerpo
tu alma siempre estara
con nosotros.

Ernesto,
nos dejaste un gran ejemplo
an example of perseverance
determination and
dedication.

I thank you
las gracias te doy
por ver sido in Buena Amigo.
Que en paz descances, Ernesto.

The following is a photo of Ernesto by Pam Bentley and her words in tribute of Ernesto.

image

Posting this picture in honour of Ernesto Mitchell, who died last week, and to remember. It was taken in his room in August 2006 when we were roommates in New Mexico; as usual, he was at his desk, preparing for a class. I remember how hard he worked at college late in his life, how his papers were always twice as long as everyone else’s, filled with thought and stories, all the stories he told me of his mother and father, his early party days dancing in Plainsview, his years of work as a sheetrock installer, the play he wrote that was performed at the NNMCC college directed by Rosalia Triana, his love and friendship for me, and his love for the dogs, especially Maggie, and how that allowed me to go to India for a school year, how he delighted in spending time with his sisters and their kids, and with my friends, Heather and Christopher and their kids, his Eeyore-like presence in the college hallways until you read his stories, his guitar playing in the living room, and his voice singing old songs in Spanish, his love for all kinds of music, his never-ending curiosity, and ambition to learn as much as he could, and give something back, his strength in the face of daily treatments and insulin tests, on-and-off trips for dialysis, and the peace he is probably feeling now. Although it became harder to keep in touch the past few years, I will miss him, and am very sad we won’t ever get the chance to share a meal again at Angelina’s where his favorite was the catfish. Once a Tejano.

A tribute by Tim Crone, professor at NNMC.

Tom Crone:

Thank you Angelo, for your tribute to Ernesto. Your post was the first news I had of my friend’s death and I was devastated. I cried myself to sleep last night grieving the loss of this remarkable man. This is my contribution to his elegy and you will see below why I did not deliver it in person. I asked around today and discovered that Ernesto’s obituary was in the Sun on Wednesday and his service was yesterday at a Baptist church here in town. At first I was disturbed that my friends had not informed me, but asking around today, I discovered that while I was at the Legislature on Wednesday, Lisa Duran saw Ernesto’s obituary and informed all who were in the office. They attended his service yesterday morning, while I was sleeping through yet another tedious NNMC Board of Regents meeting, unaware of the service. I now realize that this could be Ernesto’s last joke and gift for me. Ernesto and I laughed a lot together and we shared a rebellious spirit. More to the point, he was a loner, as am I, and this was our closest bond. I suspect, though I don’t know, that he died alone. I hope he did. I relate. I was a person who knew and understood his childhood in Plainview and much else about being Mexican-American in Texas during our time. I loved this man dearly and I cannot begin to express my grief. I couldn’t write this last night because I could not stop crying. At times like this, even skeptics like me, wish there was an afterlife and that my dear friend Ernesto was reading this and appreciating it. It really doesn’t matter, but I will miss this wonderful person so very much. I always dreaded this day, knowing that it was always just around the corner. He was ready to go at any moment and expressed it often. For this and many other gifts from Ernesto, I am grateful. It eases some of my own pain. My friend is no longer hurting and suffering. In the Anthropology class you took with me, I showed a video about Hunters who killed a giraffe. The Hunters honored the giraffe, knowing that the world was a lesser place because of the loss of such a magnificent being. Our world is reduced with the loss of your magnificent being. You always signed your papers, projects, etc. Ernesto Mitchell and Donor. So, we must all thank the donor for giving Ernesto these additional years and us our opportunity to get to know and love this man. Adios, mi muy estimado y querido amigo, Ernesto. You were the very best student with whom I shared the pleasure of our collective knowledge, wisdom, experience and mutual admiration. I am sorely missing you, my brother.

Tim Crone:
Here’s another tribute to Ernesto, one he was here to appreciate; thoughts I shared with him. When I first saw him on campus, coming out of the Student Success Center, I was immediately struck by his remarkable appearance. His egg-shaped head, big glasses, short stout stature, his steady gaze and sizing-you-up demeanor. We always watched one another, and both being Texans, we always greeted one another, though neither had the faintest idea of who the other might be. I saw him several times before he took any of my classes and when I saw him there, I was excited with the anticipation of his presence because he gave off an aura of wisdom and experience. Good assessment. He delivered, boy did he ever deliver. I always thought and told him, that he should be an actor. A Hollywood actor. Can’t you just see it? He did write plays and I have the manuscripts plus everything else he wrote for my classes. He took most of them. I cherish these gifts. We also shared harsh memories of life in West Texas during the 50’s and 60’s for Mexicans. His last name was Mitchell, and he had brown hair, but that didn’t shield him and his family from the harsh, irrational prejudice in Plainview during that time. Not a hell of a lot better right now. I mentioned last night that we shared a rebellious spirit and being loners. We also shared a healthy skepticism about religion, a fundamental understanding of ethnocentrism, not to mention a love of learning, exploration, discussion, argument and mutual respect and admiration. My consolation in all this is that I told him all I have written. I am now sharing it with you.

Tim Crone:
Oh, I left something out. I am fascinated with construction and woodworking and have done many projects. Ernesto was a “rock hanger” by profession and though his health would not permit, I consulted with him on my “rocking” and roofing and other projects, while he was alive and available. Once again, thanks Ernesto.

Comments
  1. Jeanette says:

    Angelo, that’s so amazing of you to do this for my uncle. He was loved by many. He was the kind of man who’s presence was warm and kind very loving. He always spoke well of you all and always wanted me to meet his friends. I will miss him for ever. For ever he will be in my memories and my heart. It was a true pleasure having you read at his services. Thank you again. And I will share this with my family. Lord bless .

    Jeanette

  2. Sally Ann says:

    This was a beautiful tribute to my Tio Ernest Thank you for your beautiful words
    Sally Ann

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s