Goodbye, Trinidad

Dear Readers,

On August 20, I made a pilgrimage to San Antonio, TX to say goodbye to my mentor and friend, Trinidad (Trino) Sanchez Jr.   It was one of the the greatest   spiritual experiences of my life. Trinidad passed away after having a stroke on July 30 (see the August 6-19, 2006 edition of New Citizens Press or log on to…..

…..We were only too lucky to have tasted Trinidad’s poetry, which a lot was about food.  Flavors and words always complimented each other naturally.  His unique blend of seasoned and spiced words had us all wanting to take a  bite.

You see that was the reason why I had to go to San Antonio. The night before, I stayed up all night because I did not want to miss my flight.  I quickly packed my bag and got in the truck and headed to the airport.

At the airport, I could not stop thinking about my trip.  I had to fly into Atlanta and then on to San Antonio.  I was excited and apprehensive at the same time.

In Atlanta and I immediately made my way to my connecting flight .

As I waited for the plane, I again began to think about exactly what I was doing and why.  I  could not really give myself an answer so I just started reading.

I did not have a hotel booked.  I knew that the Bihl House where the memorial service was being held was 8 miles from the airport.  I sort of told Regina, Trinidad’s wife that I was coming but did not really have the time to talk to her.  She just knew that I was coming.

I arrived in San Antonio and took a cab to the Bihl House where the memorial would take place.  The Bihl House was a perfect place to have it.  It was built in 1920 and was abandoned for some time.  It was in an area that most developers would not even look at.  With the help of neighborhood activists, a retirement community was built on the 12 acre property.  The Bihl House was turned into a beautiful multi-use community art space.

The cab driver gave me the information as we drove by.  I just wanted to see it before I actually went and then asked him to take me
downtown.  I wanted to see a lot of what Trinidad saw in San Antonio.

I was pleasantly surprised that it was so colorful and clean.  I paid the cab driver $30.00 and he let me out in front of a hotel.  I told him I would find my way and thanked him.  I could not believe the cab drivers take credit cards in San Antonio.

I found my way to Paseo Del Rio (the river)  in the heart of downtown. It is the pride of the city.  I walked until I could not walk any longer.  I soaked in the sun and the people until my two hours were up and I had to find my way back to the Bihl House.

I found the bus and some really friendly people  and others who had that “what are you doing riding the bus, we know you have a car”

It was really easy to find my stop.

Inside the Bihl House, I could feel Trinidad’s presence there. It is difficult for me to write about what an impact he had on so many people.  He taught me not to be afraid to be a warrior for”our” people.

I met  Dr. Kellen Kee McIntyre, the Executive Director of the Bihl House who told me  that Trinidad was one of the first people to step up and support the Bihl House project.

I met Regina Chavez Sanchez.  I felt like I had been hit by a freight train when I finally met her.  She deserves her own letter to you.   (When I am not so emotional).

I met Liza Garza who is also a poet from Michigan there.  We had corresponded by e-mail for almost a year and both of us were very surprised to see each other there.  She knew Trinidad through me and they corre   sponded through e-mail and became friends.

It was a painfully joyous experience that will live with me for an eternity.  I have never felt anything like it.

Regina offered me a place to rest my head that night.  She told me that Trinidad never let a poet go to a hotel.

Writing this is so hard for me so maybe I will revisit it later. In the meanwhile, write.


Rina Risper