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Las Animas / The Spirits

Do people have spirits that remain roaming around the earth after one dies? Yes they do. How can I be so certain? Well my father felt them back in 1932 one year after the devastating hurricane of 1931. He could not say that he saw them because he would be telling a lie since spirits or ghosts cannot be seen. My dad and his older brother, Uncle Polo, were up at 3 a.m. that morning in November and were at the main pier (the only one) a few years before Daddy’s Club was opened. It was the month of November (month of the deceased and spirits) when the northerly wind was blowing hard and that meant that the snappers “were running” in fisherman terms. The night before, using hand lines and sardines as bait, they had caught three buckets of snappers even before sunrise. This made them very happy for they were the two older brothers in a family of nine boys and one girl. Ramon Nuñez was the youngest sibling and Lupita Brown the youngest and only girl in the “softball team”. As such my dad and Tio Polo were responsible in helping to put fish on the table for the family which included Tio Genaro, Tio Chato, Tio Cruz, Tio Wally, Tio Pirin, Tio Mito, and Tio Ramon. Don’t worry some of the boys did help Tia Lupita with the laundry and ironing.

But I almost strayed from the topic. So, my dad and Tio Polo were at the pier engrossed hauling snappers when suddenly they saw this procession of candle lights coming out three feet above the sea from the direction of the reef. The procession was coming straight towards the main pier, and for a short moment my dad and Tio Polo remained speechless. They looked at each other for a few seconds that seemed an eternity until Tio Polo who was older and braver managed to half shout the word “RUN”. Both brothers dashed down the pier, darted across Front Street and flew down one block down Back Street to their home. Their home was located exactly where Big Tree and Waruguma Pupusa Deli is today. They did not knock at the door. Tio Polo knocked it open with his hands and body.

The next day both Rafael and Tio Polo had high fever and spoke very little but managed to mumble their story. Chichi Regina, their mom, gave them a massage from head to toe with Castro rubbing compound and bay rum mixed with some holy water. Late that afternoon they went to the pier to pick-up their buckets and fishing gear only to find that the fishing lines were there but the buckets were empty. They were sure that the Spirits (Las Animas) had not taken them, gut someone had helped himself with them.

Spirits do exist folks. A lot of people have had experiences with them, heard their prayers, seen the procession, glimpsed at their white robes and lit candles, and many have been petrified at their presence. And how can I be so certain that my father did not invent this story. I know because my father did not tell lies, except if it had to do with large fishes that broke his line and got away. Personally I have not seen the Spirits because I am a good boy and I go to bed long before midnight the entire month of November. Even if there is a grand party, I leave before midnight in respect of lessons I have learned about twenty five years ago.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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