I had the honor to be at the reception offered by Macario and Chrissie at Casa Ramirez. Macario is an institution in the Houston Heights, sharing the Hispanic culture, particularly as it pertains to local aspects, with his shop. His collection of curio items, books, typical Mexican market items and collectibles are displayed across the store. My favorites are his photos from the Mexican revolution. He features local artists and their work ranges from painting to poetry.
This month, the theme is on the influence the vaquero and ranchero had on Texas and the American west. Besides featuring samples of my work from the Southwest series, Macario is currently featuring antique saddles, rope, branding irons, spurs and historic photo prints of the old King Ranch.
I was captivated with these items. Scattered among the displays, Macario includes literature to enhance our knowledge of these items. I picked up one of his fliers and in it found many of the Americanized vaquero terms specific to the old west.
Being bilingual, I can understand how these words were adopted and modified from the original terms. Above all, vaquero is my favorite because it started out as buckeroo (va-que-roo). Now we know buckeroos as cowboys.
There are other words such as ranch from the word rancho, boots from botas, lariat from la riata (the rope), lasso from lazo, and chaps from chaparreras.
This week I also had the opportunity to visit the Houston Rodeo. I saw cowboys in action with a common vocabulary from these roots. Rodeo comes from the word rodeo or round-up. Spurs, taps, cinches, hackamores, conchos and palomino, all of these words from the shared inheritance of the old vaqueros and rancheros of the old frontier.