you are a very lucky person, somebody in your family marries into
a Mexican family and you end up with an abundance of diversified
riches in your life.
Your home rings with laughter in at least two languages, your walls
shout happy in vibrant colors, and your comfort zone is extended
by thousands of miles.
And, contrary to what you may have read, you also contribute mightily
to the economy of the United States of America.
What I mean by this is that my beautiful daughter-in-law, about
whom I write frequently for this publication, brought with her a
dowry far more valuable than bling -- she brought her affectionate
and generous family.
If, by now, you are wondering how these friendly people happened
to save the U.S. economy, I'm about to tell you.
First, you are doubtless aware of the negative media attention that
has been paid to the Mexican workers who send their hard-earned
paychecks back home to Mexico to feed their families, right?
And you must also be aware that the good citizens of the U.S. largely
believe what they read, even though their common sense might be
telling them something different, right?
my daughter-in-law's mother, grandmother, and one of her aunts,
are here in California as I write this. Why? Because they wish to
buy, buy, buy.
They came here on a three-day shopping spree, buying everything
in stores ranging from Kmart to Nordstrom, Baby Gap to Bloomingdale's,
Circuit City to Leslie's Pool Supply. They bought clothes for their
relatives and friends in Mexico City, toys for the children of their
relatives, supplies for their swimming pool business in a suburb
They bought tools, toys, telescopes, and just about everything except
prescription drugs; they don't want to be overcharged any more than
The first clue that a major buying binge was about to go into action
was the empty luggage they came with. For three women, there was
but one small bag holding everything they needed for themselves.
It's amazing how lovely they all looked, how prepared they were
for all weather, and how they seemed to have so many outfits. How
they managed to squeeze everything into that one carry-on bag, will
puzzle me for years to come. Trying to figure that out without actually
asking them is part of the fun. That they know I don't know is another
I'd especially like to figure out how so many bright white, starched,
hand-embroidered blouses could be unpacked with nary a wrinkle.
The rest of their luggage, the part that went into the belly of
the plane, arrived empty, ready to be filled with U.S. purchases.
Since various branches of the family visit the U.S. frequently,
airport security is probably no longer surprised by all their empty
suitcases. If members of congress don't have to go through security
and it's their fault that we have such great national debt, I don't
see why my son's in-laws shouldn't get the same privilege, since
they are single-handedly paying off that same national debt.
At least one
or two zeros can be deleted from the bazillions of dollars we owe
whoever it is we borrow from. When the Mexican branch of the family
visits, the national debt lowers and the gross national product
increases by 38 per cent.
Instead of building a wall and telling Mexicans to get out, we should
build a bridge to help them get in.
Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
April 13, 2006 column