Logo javierjimenezonline.com
“The Hammon and the Beans”

       “The Hammon and the Beans” is a story written by Americo Paredes. He was born in Brownsville, Texas, on September 3, 1915 and died on May 05, 1999. This short story was narrated by a kid who lived in Jonesville-on-the-Grande, Texas. This kid lived with his parents in one of his grandfather’s houses. He had a lot of friends; one of them was Chonita, a little girl about nine years old. She and a group of kids from the town were sent to school at 8:00 am. At noon, they had lunch, even the people from town ate at this time. At 6:00 pm these kids saw the soldiers passing by everyday. Sometimes the kids saluted or mocked the soldiers. Chonita’s father was a laborer and a drunk. When the kids were playing together, they asked Chonita to make a speech. They told her to speak English. Her speech was “Give me the hammon and the beans!” After she finished, the rest of the kids laughed, cheered, and told her that she could speak English better than the teachers at school. Chonita left the kids and ran to where the soldiers were staying. She could see through the screens how the soldiers ate. The soldiers sat at long tables calling to each other with their mouths full of food “Hey bud, pass the coffee!” “Give me the ham!” “Yeah, give me the beans!” Every afternoon, the kids played together and made Chonita stand up and say her speech. Years later, this kid was now a grown up man in his thirties. He saw Doctor Zapata come into his house through the back door, and the doctor said Chonita had died. They didn’t know how she died. The man cried about Chonita’s death. He remembered her like she was as a child, with her torn and dirty dress and a pair of shiny wings attached to her back, flying around and shouting, “Give me the hammon and the beans!”

       I think that the death of someone special is always a terrible thing. To this man, it was terrible news that his lifelong friend had died. He remembered her how she was as a child.