Mazatlán is an amazing place to live, and part of its charm is how very close we are to so many wonderful small towns! Mountains or coast, friendly rural faces and places are easy access from the city.
Yesterday, Valentine’s Day, Greg and I decided to head up to the mountains. I had made a bunch of lavender/rose cookies that I cut into heart shapes and frosted in red, so we felt like a couple of cupids handing them out to the people we met. One of the people it was my joy and privilege to reconnect with was Don Candido Tirado, a 92 year-old retired carpenter and barrel maker.
We first met Don Candido and his charming wife, Doña Concepción Osuna, in 2017. My cousin sisters were visiting, and we walked through La Noria with Marisol Lizárraga, a delightful woman and the town’s historian. She introduced us to many people, including Don Candido. I took a series of photographs of Candido and his son working in their shop, and a few of his wife telling us stories. Sadly, Doña Concepción departed this life five years ago. But Don Candido is still going strong! His eyesight is gone in one eye and failing in the other, but he is as sharp and funny as ever. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.
Don Candido told us the story of how Concepción and he were married, but when the marriage was recorded way back when, the official in the registrar’s office had added an extra letter to Concepción’s name. At the time they didn’t think much about it, but over the years the error grew into a huge problem for his children. They needed birth certificates, copies of marriage certificates, etc. to go about their lives, but their mother’s name was always incorrect and considered invalid. It was going to cost Don Candido over 37,000 pesos to correct the mistake in the registration! He even complained about the cost to the President of the Republic.
In the end, Don Candido and Doña Concepción found it cheaper, easier and more fun to just get married all over again. This time they got a legal and correct marriage registration, and then they could re-register their kids. Problem solved.
I was amazed to realize that Don Candido remembered Greg and me so vividly. He even remembered the year we first met! I know my brain is not that sharp; I had to search for the old photos. Sadly, many of the original photos of him working in the woodshop have disappeared, lost when I dropped a hard drive. Thankfully I do have one, and I have several of Doña Concepción. And now you know the story of why he had to get remarried. Candido can not read or write, but his proudest possession is a book that a professor friend gifted him from Barcelona many decades ago. It includes instructions for how to deliver a baby, including why clean sheets and hot water are needed (one shouldn’t touch the placenta).
His daughter, Rafaela Tirado Sanchez, and her grandson were in Don Candido’s yard sweeping up while we visited. That boy is one hard worker! Rafaela lives just down the hill, and brings meals to her father daily. I took a couple of portraits of these two as well. What a blessing to have one’s 92 year old great-grandfather living healthy and independently so nearby. I can only imagine what the kids learn from great grandpa.
It turns out the garden that fascinated my lens belongs to none other than Rafaela! The charm of small towns are the rural architecture, the fact that most families built their own homes, the bright colors of the homes and the pride of ownership in their maintenance. In La Noria there is also so much to see and do: mezcal tasting, zip lining, artesanal cheese production, leather making. Or, just sit in the plaza or walk around. Below I’ll post a few photos from our trip yesterday.
We met quite a few people yesterday, during our cupid adventures. Below are two portraits. On the right is Adolfo Velarde Osuna, El Chilolo, who was busy talking with a few compadres as held onto his horse, El Rayo. On the left is Rafael Osuna, who was supervising the remodeling of his brother’s historic home in this charming small town. The eyes of both of these gentlemen show the generations of European intermarriage in this area; you’ll see many eye colors during your journeys through the small towns of southern Sinaloa.
The trip to La Noria made for a wonderful Valentine’s Day. We enjoyed a terrific lunch in the warm sunshine, and a nice long walk around town. And we witnessed a gorgeous sunset! If you haven’t been up in a while, be sure to visit. On this blog you can find reviews of several La Noria restaurants, plus the distillery, the cheese shop and the leather shops; just use the “search” function.