Saturday, February 13, 2010

A harrowing incident for a naive adult. A gold mine for us kids!

    In Vegas Dad and his brothers had made quite a few friends during their prolonged stay. One of them was a man named Don Ritter.* At this time in their lives, there was a plethora of 'End of the World' talk going around in our family. Their favorite pastime was to get together and discuss this eminent doom. Now Mr. Don was somewhat a fanatic about doomsday and was continually buying doomsday related products like guns, ammunition, powder, and reloading equipment.
    During the later part 1969 U. Porter decided he had enough of Las Vegas. He figured he would get out while he could and move to Mexico and help his dad run the farm. Besides, he sincerely believed a worldwide economic collapse was eminent and the sooner they got out of the big city, the better.
   The grapevine has a loud mouth and no sooner had he made up his mind to leave when Mr. Don heard all about his plans. He hurried over and casually brought up the subject.
    "You know," he said warming up, "I've been thinking about moving south. I want to get away from it all because this country is about to collapse. I do have a lot of stuff to haul down though and I don't have a lot of room in my truck. Say, if any of you guys are going down, how about hauling  a few things for me? Heck, I'll even rent a box truck and one of you could drive it down. There will be lots of extra room for your stuff also. All I've got is a few supplies, like canned goods and a few other things for hard times. So, how about it?"
    "All righty then," said U. Porter glad to have a prepaid trip. "No problem, just let me know when you have it loaded."
   Now dear reader, before I continue, I must inform you how strict the laws are in Mexico concerning weapons and ammunition. When it comes to things like assault rifles, gun powder, grenades, anti-aircraft missles, F-14 Tomcats...well now, I'm exaggerating just a little here but you get the picture, right? Anyway these things are totally illegal to cross into Mexico. If you are caught, it's life in prison, no exceptions or maybe you may get the electric chair! (They don't have capital punishment in Mexico, darn it!)
    As soon as Mr. Don had loaded his doomsday equipment in the box truck he threw in a few boxes of canned foods and things of that sort to hide it. Then he called U. Porter and told him to come on over and get it. U. Porter headed over and loaded up his household stuff without even checking what Mr. Don had put in. He then packed up his family, bid farewell to his brothers and started the long trip south.
    He arrived at the border totally unaware of the contents in the back of his truck. Now the laws in Mexico were specifically designed to facilitate the offering of bribes. In order to import anything into that country, you have to hire a customs agent and itemize everything you have. This process is so tedious and slow that one would much rather slip them a few bucks and be on their way.
    So here is U. Porter driving across the international border and as usual, he gets pulled over to be inspected by the Federales. (Customs officers) But he had not fear because all he had on board was household goods and foodstuff...so he thought. The Federale swaggered over and ordered him out of the truck.
    "Where you go?" he asked in broken English.
    "Oh, just down to my dads farm," said U. Porter.
    "You no bring contraband, like weepons, or goons, or loots of mula?"
    "Oh no way, just some stuff for my house and some food for my poor papa."
    "Open up dee back," ordered the Fed.
    "Sure no problemo," said U. Porter walking around to the back of the truck totally unaware that he was three feet from life in prison or even better, execution by firing squad! He rolled up the big door and stepped back as the Fed laboriously climbed up to have a look.
    "See, I told you so," said U. Porter as the Fed aimed his flashlight towards the front of the truck.
    "You have mucho stuff in heer," he said with a scowl, "Maybe I make you offload it all...or you can fork eet over," he continued making the universal sign for money.
    "You don't have to do that. It would take way too much time...uh how about twenty bucks?"
    "Oh no, you offload eet right now," he ordered.
    "Wait a minute, we can work this out, how about forty bucks, that's a lot of loot," offered U. Porter.
    "Well...OK you got a deal," he said grinning from ear to ear.
    U. Porter crossed his palm with two crisp twenty dollar bills and then climbed in his truck and headed for his new home. Arriving at the ranch, he parked the truck and hollered at some relative (we'll call Birdbrain) to come help him unload his "furniture."
   Birdbrain hopped up in the truck and began throwing things down. As soon as all of U. Porters stuff was unloaded, they began to throw the junk Mr. Don had sent.
   "What in tarnation is this?" said U. Porter as he caught something quit heavy.
   "Oh just a couple of semi-auto pistols," said Birdbrain as he threw something else down.
   "Well what in the name of Willy Coyote is this?"
   "Hmm...well that's a twenty gauge shotgun and here's a twelve gauge, and oh wow here's a double barrel ten gauge with gold plated engravings!" said Birdbrain with glee.
   "Well what in the hell else is in there?" asked U. Porter with a scowl.
   "Huh...let's see, here's a 357 magnum and a 45 auto, and oh looky here, a 50 cal pistol! Oh wow check this out, a fully auto M1 Garand. Cool stuff huh man, where did you get all this loot? Oh boy, what is this? A bucket of gun powder and here's another...no way! Here's a barrel of gunpowder...no TWO barrels!"
   By this time U. Porter was frothing at the mouth he was so angry at his "friend" Mr. Don.
   "Son of a gun," continued Mr. Birdbrain. "Look at all this awesome stuff...there must be three or four trunks of M1 bullets in here. Oh what's in these sacks? Oly cow there must be two hundred pounds of 22 bullets in here! OH MY GOSH!" shouted Birdbrian. "There's barrels of shotgun shells, reloading equipment, cases of primers, caps and bullet shells...this is so cool!"
   By now U. Porter was laying on the ground white as a ghost, his blood veins bulging out of his forehead in anger. Visions of deep dark dungeons and Mexican firing squads flashing through his mind. He was so angry at his so called friend that if he had been there, he would have used some of his own weapons on him!
    You can be sure, after this alarming incident, there were constant threats of "the Fed's are coming" floating through the grapevine. Therefore U. Porter set to work to hide the arsenal of weapons he had just inherited. The guns went up in the attic and the rest of the loot went down into a hidden cave and there they stayed for years. Soon he got the jitters and out of the attic came the guns and into some other hiding place they went. After a while they were moved somewhere else. And then once again. Eventually the years passed and they started  disappearing one by one. Either they would get misplaced and lost, or more likely stolen. Some were even sold to the locals. Many years later Mr. Don finally came to the conclusion that doomsday was still off in the distant future and he showed up one day at the farm and demanded his loot back! Well, what he actually received compared to what he sent down was like a freckle off an elephants rear-end. But after listening to our harrowing stories of being hounded by the Federales, and the Judiciales, and every other 'ales you can thing of, he was consoled and resigned himself to leave with a few of the most expensive weapons.
    During that period, we never had so much fun wasting bullets. We shot at cans and bottles, quail and jackrabbits and anything else that had four legs. There were at least twenty thousand rounds of 22 and M1 bullets and we young bucks wasted every one. It took several years, but we accomplished it with glee!!!!

* Names are changed to protect the guilty.
 

7 comments:

Lisa Marie said...

What an adventure!!!

Joe Cap said...

The excitement of my life pales in comparison...but that is a little bit too much action for me. I would have been mucho upset.

Bendigo said...

Lol...That was the the most enjoyable story I've read in quite some time...Thanks for sharing that...The smile it put on my face won't go away for some time :)

Jhon said...

Not quite sure how to comment back when you comment on my blog so I figured I just come here and leave a comment!
But thanks for the comment!
and I really enjoyed this last blog post!
had me at the edge of my seat wondering if the guy was going to get thrown in jail!!

Jean said...

lol Good times, Lafe. You could do several more chapters on this story! I remember the Army down sleeping bags we camped out with for years, the MREs (yucky, they must have been Army rejects) I think there were buckets of soy nuggets-also yuck! And I hate thinking about this but poor David's arms burnt when you boys messed around with that gunpowder. Remember him trying to sleep on the kitchen bench with each arm down in a bucket of cold water :(
Anyway that trailer was a bottomless treasure chest for awhile. I don't think it's exaggerating to say our lives would have been quite different if it HAD been thoroughly searched at the border....

Desertson said...

Jean, I did write about that "explosion" incident with the powder and all. I'll have to post it one of these days.

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