Dichos: guideposts for good character

The late Narciso Montoya relaxes in the resolana by his nephew's house in the Los Ojuelos neighborhood of Chimayó, 2012.

Most Sundays, when the weather is good, I take a drive with my mother to Chimayó, our querencia (home ground), the place of origin for so much of who we are. In our conversation as we travel, we find ourselves recalling stories of people and events from our many decades of experience in that small, sheltered valley, a place laden with legends, not only for Chimayosos like us but for people from afar.

As we wind through the magnificent landscape, our platica (conversation) includes a wide circle of family and friends who have a shared history with us in this place. And on these journeys, we often find ourselves recalling dichos, old folk sayings in Spanish, finding again and again that these compact aphorisms evoke the character of Chimayó succinctly and also cleverly capture foibles of human nature. The dichos are just as fitting today as when they originated, many of them centuries ago.

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