His Spirit Arrives Thru The Air
By Juan Reyna Tapia, JD, PhD
Beneath a blue sky and a scorching sun, a boy was playing on a dust bone-dry patch of ground called a "front-yard". One of those children burned by the intense heat, a product of self-exiled parents from Mexico who persist in living in mining towns located in the center of an inferno known as desert country.
The game that
this child played was completely imaginative, without rhyme or reason,
and unending in its design in as much as he owned no toy.
From time to
time he would interrupt his activities to remain immoble and thoughtful
as if imagining something without knowing in what form it would appear.
Then he would assume a posture similar to that which dogs take when their
ears and hair stand up in order to better understand an inexplicable and
superhuman sensation. The child assumed this attitude day after day. It
was an obsession which cost him many a whipping because he would not answer
when his parents shouted at him to get out of the sun.
"That boy is going deaf!", they would say in desperation. "We'll have to treat his ears with an herb to cure them!"
the child continued his vigil day after day, until, on this day, he suddenly
ceased all his activities, and, tilting his head, he began to hear a barely
audible rumor in the sky. With wide-open eyes he frantically searched
for the object which caused a shudder of excitement to course through
Finally he noticed something like a spot which traversed across the horizon emitting an incoherent and unsynchronized sound.
The spot appeared
to travel nearer and nearer to the horizon until finally, with a last
gasp, like a suffocating person, it crashed to the ground creating a dust
cloud which quickly rose and obscured the sun itself.
and paralyzed the child appeared helpless to do no more than witness the
agonizing flight of the spot which ended by losing its battle against
the gravity of the earth. He remained in this manner looking at the dust
which arose like the hand of a drowning person who is going under for
the third time. Then, as if awakening from a horrible nightmare, the child
began to scream:
The car left a dirt road and entered into the heart of the desert terrain bouncing and bouncing at the risk of ejecting all of its occupants. They took a course directly toward where the airplane was clearly visible with the tail elevated and the nose thrust into the ground like a giant riietallic scorpion. Alighting from the car they approached the airplane fearing to find someone seriously injured. The child then began to shout: "There's a man, there's a man!" But the others saw no one. The plane was abandoned. The child advanced to where he thought he saw someone and placed himself in the shade beneath one side of wing. "He isn't here anymore."
It was then
learned that the intrepid pilot was Captain Emilio Carranza of the Mexican
Air Force who was enroute to San Diego to inspect the progress of the
construction of the airplane named "Excelsior-Mexico", with
which he intended to make a reciprocal flight to Washington, D. C. to
was found wandering in the desert and taken to the nearby town of Ajo,
Arizona, where he telephoned San Diego from the office of the Ajo Improvement
Company of the New Cornelia Copper Company, later becoming Phelps Dodge
Corporation. That office is now a business: "Si Como No.
was already well-known by the towns people for his courage and quick-thinking
as a pilot, such as the time when his engine caught fire and he flew into
a storm to extinguish it. Ignacio "Ni'no" Carrera, who had seen
the plane before it crashed, and Luis Rios, asked him if they could celebrate
his presence with a "fiesta". Carranza said that they were coming
for him from San Diego, and subsequently left that day.
Thus, on a
sultry Arizona day, the hand of the mother country touched the spirit
and heart of its former inhabitants by means of its eternal hero Captain
Emilio Carranza Rodriguez. Afterwards the child forgot his celestial vigil,
but would often say: "Someday I am going to be as "valiente"
as Emilio Carranza!"
later the sad news of his death when his plane crashed in New Jersey while
flying back to Mexico, came floating through an air heavy with tears,
and countless villages were shrouded in mourning. For many days, thereafter,
the sad ballad to his memory was sung extolling his courage and
Emilio Carranza's spirit, courage and love of flight, still lives on in those of his lineage, epitomized by American Captain Ismael "Mel" Carranza, a Continental Airlines 747 pilot captain, who organized a volunteer crew and piloted a plane to Mexico City to deliver vital emergency supplies during the 1985 devastating earthquake.