We arrived around noon, had some Mexican food and a cerveza or two, enjoyed the color of the pageantry and the pretty senoritas dancing in traditional garb, visited shops and listened to a mariachi plan and then, later in the afternoon, someone said we've got to go to the San Marco, for everyone enjoyed going there. It was an old but graceful Spanish style hotel with a big bar with lots of margaritas, or tequila shots and cold cerveza. So, we went as dusk was arriving and we were lucky to find a table and were seated. A man who identified himself as a reporter from a large paper in Phoenix,, approached and wanted to talk about our reasons for visiting Mexico for Cinco, and he told the serving girl to put it on his tab. And the tequila flowed with the cerveza chasers and we talked about why we came. He worked the room while we met and talked with other students, not just from the university in Tucson like us, but from Tempe, Flagstaff and schools south of the border there in Sonora as well and it was fun and we ate little but drank a lot. We lost all track of time until the announcement was made that it was closing time. It was almost two in the morning and we were feeling no pain.
Out in the cold night air on the streets that were still teeming with the party crowd, our driver said not to worry for he could get us home. We balked, but barely in our reduced state of mind and off we went like sheep to the slaughter. But amazingly, Joe made it slowly through the streets near the border until, approaching the point of entry to Arizona, we all realized we could be in trouble. Joe said he could get us through, and so we went and subjected ourselves to being stopped as all traffic was halted by an officer on duty. He asked the standard question, what nationality were we, while he waited to see how each of us individually answered. When completed, he made a motion to another officer who closed the lane and we were told to wait. That was the first time that concern came up with any of us, for we were fearful that he would notify the local authorities and be turned over to them. The American side of the border was in Santa Cruz County, better known to UA students as home of the hanging judge and we just knew that was to be our fate. And as the officer returned, the blood pressure was high, but he surprised us. As he looked in the window, he told us to go park in the huge parking lot just ahead and sleep it off and he would let us know what he was going to do with us when he would woke us up. We did as we were told and realized just how exhausted we were and fell fast asleep almost instantly, then no later than quarter to three. The snoring must have been intense but we knew nothing of it until, at shortly after seven there was a rapping on the window which woke us up and it was the same officer who had spoken with us earlier being true to his word. I'll never forget what he told us and I always will remember him as our Special Guardian Angel who came from the most unexpected place. The officer looked in at us, asked Joe to exit the car and then he put him through the paces of the sobriety balancing act test which he passed, blodshot eyes and all. Then he just stood there for a moment looking at all of us as Joe sat tall in his seat. Finally, he was ready to speak and what did he say?
Now with a cross between a smirk and a smile on his face, he said, "You boys remind me of my stupid younger brother who is also going to school and I thought about him as I pondered what to do with you guys. So, consider yourselves lucky that I'm sending you home now, not earlier, for had I let you through you would have had much more to worry about than the judge. You would have never made it to Tucson in one piece. Now get out of here."
I've always remembered that and I'll never know why God sent that Guardian Angel to us that day, but I guess He had things planned that He wanted out of us before we ever realized what it was. I only hope over the years He is pleased with how I turned out with maturity and more experience and I thank Him for always being at my side, as undeserving as I am of his love and grace. And that's why each May fifth I always remember that day.