Tuesday, August 26, 2008

THE LEGEND OF TIJERINA, CARDENAS AND JUDGE GARZA

Picture it, somewhere in Lynn, Texas circa 1930's, a smoked filled room filled with a group of South Texas familiars. The whisky is running thin, and so too are tempers. Raul Tijerina, Judge Garza, Prieto Guerra, and others are in a heated game of poker. Guerra determined not to walk away empty handed puts his ranch on the table. Tijerina calls his bluff and meets the bet. Judge Garza pleads that Guerra not put his ranch up for gamble. Judge Garza’s words land on deaf ears.

When the night comes to a end Tijerina owns the Guerra ranch. Years later it is discovered there is gas on the property. A disputes erupts as to who owned the mineral rights. Judge Garza suggests that the parties Guerras and Tijerina basically share in the mineral rights.

The scene is set for a young strapping man by the name of Cardenas to befriend the son of the ‘older Tijerina. The legend has it that Cardenas and Tijerina were inseparable. According to those who perpetuate the legend money flowed freely from Tijerina to Cardenas during their many trips together.

Such as all good legends there is a grieving widow. Some say Cardenas appeared as the grieving friend of Tijerina on his death bed with a new will. Who knows what the truth may be. As the story goes the grieving widow hired lawyers to sue her late husband’s young strapping male companion of many years to restore the original will. It seems the final result was some type settlement which kept the grieving widow financially well off.

Who knows how much of this story is real and how much is local folklore. What makes it interesting is it speaks to politics South Texas style. Center stage at the poker game was the late Judge Garza - a power broker in the community. This story tells us how power is gained and fortunes are made. It is an insight into the politics of South Texas.

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