Jose, my amigo from Mexico

Ron Walker

Ron Walker


Orllyene and I are going to Bridgeport for a little getaway.

Compared to some of our trips it hardly deserves mentioning. We’ve been to the Copper Canyon in Mexico (composed of six canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon), to mountainous Patzcuaro and brought back an artisan-crafted wood table and a dazzling tablecloth of red, yellow and orange. In Bridgeport we will probably buy nothing more than a few postcards, but it will still be an adventure.

The other day, I had the opportunity to speak with Jose Verdugo, my good friend of over 20 years. He recently returned from Mexico. He and his brother Juan, flew to La Paz, Baja, to visit family members of the Verdugo family whom they haven’t seen for years, or not at all. I asked if they stayed with family and Jose said they stayed at a nice motel in town for $32 a night and had their meals locally, except when they dined with Verdugo families. “Did the entire family live in La Paz?” I ask, and realize it is a dumb question. The family is very large and is spread all over the countryside. Jose originally came from the back country of La Paz. Even though he didn’t have time to talk because he was in the midst of shaping up our lawn and had two employees doing the edging, he did take time to elaborate. “We lived out in the country and dad was away hunting and fishing for two weeks at a time. “Was that for getting food” I ask realizing, this was another dumb question. “Yes, food, but my mother didn’t like for us to be alone and decided to leave him.”

She must have been a very strong lady, to go out on her own with kids, 70 or 80 years ago, especially in Mexico. Even today, life can be primitive in parts of Mexico. Jose mentions a relative he visited in the back country who didn’t have running water or electricity and poor cell phone reception. He did say it was beautiful, with palms, mangos and other fruits growing wild.

My time is with Jose was coming to an end. He was at our house to cut the lawns and he had two helpers were edging the lawn and flower beds. What flashed in my mind was how far Jose has come in life here. He has an elaborate lawn mower he sits on and maneuvers it with dazzling speed. The motor engine is so powerful it drags a huge container to hold the grass clippings. Jose has more customers than he can handle and yet I know of people who he gives a cut rate to (and I’m one).

Jose is a true friend to Orllyene and me and I treasure he and Eva’s (his wife) friendship. Jose and I landscaped our entire property 22 years ago; put in dozens of shrubs, pines, maples, oaks and too many poplars. We did the irrigation as well.

He was starting out then and I had to remind him to give me the hours he worked. Jose has that rare quality that distinguishes him from most of us. He is guileless. What you see is what you get.

Ron Walker can be reached at


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