Voices from Both Sides (II)

On May 11, 2013 a community-based effort in Terlingua, TX, led by local musician Jeff Haislip, initiated Voices from Both Sides. This musical event on each side of the Rio Grande at Lajitas, TX was intended to prove that the border-crossing restrictions, established after 9/11, would not divide us. The event was a huge success. Folks crossed the river, family members and old friends were reunited; kids threw frisbees, others hula-hooped. Music flowed from both sides and bound us together.

Three of 27 musicians, who performed.

Three of 27 musicians, who performed.

In 2014, a repeat performance was scheduled for May 11, Mother’s Day. The temperature was forecast to reach 104F but, in the event, a light breeze kept things slightly cooler. Still, most people arriving in the morning came with coolers, chairs and sometimes canvas shade awnings or tents.This year, a religious service was held before the music performance. A group of evangelicals from both sides sang, prayed and cried Hallejlujah. One of them blew on a ram’s horn. Father Mel of Redford, TX followed, telling a story concerning the changing attitudes towards mothers in today’s world.

Kids with frisbees

Kids with frisbees

At 12 noon the music started. Local favorite, Collie Ryan, played then called across to the Mexican side, in Spanish, so that the Mexican band could start. Trevor Reichman’s band, well-known locally, played next followed by a band from Austin, Brewski Salmineo, setting the tone for quality music. A total of 27 musicians performed on the US side.The event was organized yet lighthearted and, if there was some delay or slight confusion, who cared. The intent was to celebrate with our neighbors, and this was happening. There were three times as many many people watching as in 2013. Border Patrol vehicles were evident on the highway but kept clear of the festivities.

“As things moved from afternoon into early evening, people were much more relaxed than earlier in the day. The sun, hot temperatures and cold beers had taken a toll on a lot of folks. People, who earlier in the day had hesitated to wade into the Rio, were sitting in it with the cool water up to their chests or necks – visiting with folks on their left and right. The crowd had moved from meeting in the middle of the river to make a formal show of shaking hands and exchanging hugs, to wandering back and forth with ease to purchase plates of delicious food or much welcomed cold ice cream bars for sale on the Mexican side. We drove home sunburned and with muddy feet, hearing the music fade in the distance, feeling proud to have been part of something so fun and lighthearted, yet so significant.” (Glenda Luttrell)

Al Jazeera America were doing a story.

Al Jazeera America were doing a story.

The news agency, Al Jazeera America that had been filming in Bopuillas the day before was on hand and interviewed such people as Brewster County sheriff, Ronny Dodson, Terlingua Ghostown landlord, Bill Ivey, and various musicians and kids. Al Jazeera America’s aim is to cover under-reported stories in the USA. Previously, they had done a story about the renewed flow of the Colorado River across the California/Mexico border.

Jim Glendinning About Jim Glendinning

I am a Footloose Scot who has traveled to 136 countries. "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Robert Louis Stevenson
Read about Jim Glendinning and his book Footloose Scot: Travels In A Time Of Change

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