Thursday, February 9, 2017

Worshiping at the altar of Laredo's Panaderias

    In Laredo, bakeries are like cathedrals; however, instead of manna from heaven, worshipers of these panaderias seek out slightly less sacred form of heavenly bread. I say slightly less sacred because Laredoans have an almost religious devotion to pan dulce.

     Old timers are fervently faithful to their bakery of choice, whether it be El Mejor Pan, Polo's Bakery,  or La Reynera. They are like life-long parishioners, unwilling to switch in search of something new. In fact, some would rather first change church affiliation before they ever fathom converting to another pan dulce provider.

    My old man is one such case in point. To him, the 1977 beisbol Tecolotes are still sports royalty, Tatangelo is still town saviour, and he believes that anything you will ever need can be found at either Sears or Dr. Ikes (ever since Munden's closed down). In other words, to my dad, some things should remain constant and warrant no change. He's been a parishioner of Temple Quickie Bakery ever since I can recall, and he assures me it is heretical to buy pan dulce anywhere else.  

     Everytime I mention Pano's or Gonzalez Bakery, he mutters at me angrily and waves me away with his hand, as if I just asked  him if he ever voted for Richard Nixon.

     Laredoans take pan dulce deadly serious. Domingos and meriendas would be catastrophically incomplete without conchas, cuernitos and empanadas. The picture below proves my point.

     Apparently, at Pano's Bakery running out of sweet bread constitutes an emergency akin to a fiend in desperate need of a fix. While these days churches no longer have "emergency numbers", bakeries sure do for they must fill our bellies and save our weary souls You see, Laredo takes their pan dulce dependency to new heights, and places like Pano's are there to medicate our wanting needs.

     We are willing to pay money, blood, and even the last few remaining dollars on our goverment issued Lone Star Card in exchange for a dozen tasty treats. 

     In fact, so dependent are local bakeries to Laredo's welfare dollars that they even construct their slogans around their necessity such as you'll see in the picture below.

Chalos is "Now Accepting Lonestar" Best tagline ever!

    Chalo's Bakery sign pleads to pan dulce believers, like a lighted, gold cross reaching out to the unchurched as if saying, "Come as you are. We make no judgements. Your Lonestar Card is worthy of our collection basket."

    At the end of the day, it matters not what currency you use to enter your own local kingdom bakery. Just suffice it to say that their pearly gates will be opened to all, especially in emergencies because in Laredo bakeries are cathedrals and no one gets turned away.

Forbidden Dances, Blackface, and Tantangelo: The 1990 WBCA Parade (part 1)

Updated: Link to video here : 1990 WBCA Parade Laredo, TX I have finally been able to upload at least a small portion of the footage of th...