In spanish the letter R is rolled or trilled; that is, the tip of the tongue flips against the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth. Two or three flips are required for an R at the beginning of a sentence or for the double RR. Elsewhere, one flip will do.
This makes it hard for an english speaker to pronounce a spanish word containing an R. But it is harder the other way around, especially when an R is followed by a consonant. The spanish speaker still wants to roll his Rs, but they don’t roll too well unless they are followed by a vowel.
Consider “Lordsburg”. The spanish speaker tries for “Lorrrdsburrrg”, but to get it out he needs more vowels; so he says “Lorrridsburrrig”. Well, that is too long and complicated, and the transition from D to S is also hard. So why not drop the D and the entire “burg” part, so we have left “Lorrris”, that is, “Loris” with the R rolled.
This is approximately what happened with the spanish pronunciation of Lordsburg. The mexican people there, who are three fourths of the population, among themselves usually say “Loris”. Now you know where this chapter and the two before it get their name. I have been meaning to explain “Loris” to you but couldn’t fit it in before now.
Loris is a town of about 3000 people. Much convenience accrues to one who lives in
the old part of town, for the grocery stores (one mexican, one chinese), post
office, bank, city hall, churches, Western Auto are all within a few blocks. All these are east of
Loris is a sleepy little town where there is not much to do. I found some pretty good friends there—my next door neighbors Alfonso and Lupe, another very interesting old farmer, Tello, around the corner, a scotsman, Richard, a few blocks away. But aside from the time I spent with them, and with Amelia while she lived, I found little to do.
I was most fortunate in that during my month of mourning I
happened to meet a young couple, I can’t even remember their names now, but
they attended church at a rural mission in Duncan, another small town just
With the exception of the handful I have mentioned I had
found the mexican people of Loris pretty standoffish. In
The work at
I told you I had planned to stay in Loris until I was
fully retired from my programming business.
But the emptiness of the passing days brought a change in my
thinking. I had assumed that it would be
impossible to support software clients across an international border. But on second thought, why not? Support was principally via long distance
telephone, which works in
And as it happened, an opportunity to jump the border presented itself.
© 2004 Joseph Mansfield