S2: Episode 32 - Sabas

Episode Information

[Intro Music]

Narrator:  Welcome to Hunger and Resilience, narrative histories about the complexity and experiences of hunger. A traveling exhibition and weekly podcast edited and hosted by Michael Nye, supported by the San Antonio Food Bank, Eric Cooper, executive director. We are grateful for the honesty and eloquence of every voice. Episode 32, Sabasa.

Sabasa: Well, I think I do live different lives. When I was a cowboy, well, I was dating people from the country, and I was being a cowboy. I was even talking cowboy talk, you know? And then, well, when we moved from the country to the city, I had to learn to talk. Hey, dude, what’s going on there, bro? You know, all that other stuff. And then I, I learned how to be a truck driver. So then I was talking truck driver, acting truck driver. Now I’m at the, I’m an old man now, going every month for a checkup, <laugh>, but I still wear my boots. I still got my 44, and I have my spurs and my rope at home.

Yeah, I, I would like being a cowboy. I always seen myself, uh, riding and having fun. I cook, uh, country, like out in the trail type cooking. I used to cook these armadillos at armadillo tastes like pork. It’s just like, it’s a small pig. The meat would come out like a golden red brown. Oh, that was good eating. I know how to make biscuits on Dutch ovens and stuff like that. But I only do it whenever I wanna do it. You know, I don’t do ditches, clean windows, <laugh>. I definitely don’t do no apple pies. <laugh>.

In 1984 when I met Patty, that I put first my sights on her <laugh>. And, uh, I was running wild at that time, since I’m a hunter and stuff. Let me put it this way. When I got attracted to Patty, it looked like a shiny lure. And I was big old big mouth bass. I just went after it and took it hook and sinker, and I was hooked. And here I am still on the stringer <laugh>. But, uh, oh, me and Patty had a lot of fun. She’s a great woman. A lot of guys would probably wanna have something like her.

I drive all my life. I’ve been all over this country, know every town, every back road, every, every place. And, uh, well, you know, time will take your toe on you. I was working, uh, uh, 20 hours and sleeping four hours. Then I, uh, I had an accident, and then I had a small heart attack. Well, things started going downhill from there. Money for bills only, just barely living and barely making it. Well, to me, the way I experience hunger is when your guts start to hurt <laugh>, and you’re hurting, even if you drink water, it’ll hurt because you want food. My dad used to say, it’s the big gut, eating the little gut. That’s why your stomach’s hurting. Only a guy that’s been hungry is gonna tell you, I know exactly what you’re feeling, because other than that, you don’t know what hunger is.

I’m not a quitter or somebody that don’t wanna work or nothing. I do what I have to do. One time, we had no food at the house. We, we were down to zero. I decided that I was gonna go get some steaks. And there’s this big rancher over there that has hundreds of cows, and I saw a small calf, maybe weighing about 75 or 80 pounds. He got into some boes and stuff. So I shot the calf. And, uh, I mentioned that, let’s say that he has never lost a cap in so many years. Well, one wasn’t gonna make a difference. Now, if I came and took the hurt <laugh>, that would’ve made a difference. Well, anyway, it was rough trying to get that calf outta there, and then those cows chasing you. But I, I finally got it out, got clean, it took it home, and a couple hours later, we were eating. But I didn’t do anything with malice in my mind. I did it with hunger on my mind. I don’t know. My life has been sad and happy. And it’s been all of those things all together at one time. ’cause you can be laughing right now. You open the door, you’re gonna be crying on the other side. But to me, that’s the way life is to me. When you started life, you started crying. When you gonna end life, you’re gonna end up crying. And that’s the way things are.

[Outro Music]

Host: About hunger and resilience are narrative histories that focus on the experience of hunger. Close up in the shifting pools of uncertainties. These narratives are about understanding and about our shared humanity. I spent several days with Sabasa and his wife Patty. I began interviewing Patty, and after an hour in the middle of a question, they changed places. Sabasa went to the microphone. He began laughing and talking about his life history. Sabasa is serious, eccentric. He’s funny and passionate. Sabasa told me, human passion is the human motivator. It’s mysterious. Where does it come from? And why does it disappear? No. Experience of hunger is the same. Each voice is unique, different private and uninvited. No one has ever heard this story before. I want to thank Sabasa and his wife Patty, for their voice and their presence. I’m Michael Nye. You can go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast for portraits and transcripts. Thank you for listening.