Saturday, May 29, 2010

I Am A Phone Book Reading Gringo In Texas

A new phone book arrived on my doorstep this week. There are few things I enjoy reading more than a good phone book.

This morning I was looking at the restaurant menus in the phone book.

The menu for Dos Gringos Tex-Mex Grill & Cantina had an interesting bit of "information" that did not seem quite right to me.

As in....

"Did you know that gringo is a word that was born in the Texas Mexican Border disputes? The Texas Soldiers wore green coats as part of their uniform. As they patrolled along the Rio Grande River there were exchanges across the river between the Texas Troops and Mexican Troops. The Mexicans would shout to the Texans "Green Coats Go Home". Later, the phrase was shortened to Gringos! Just a little bit of trivia from your friends at Dos Gringos."

Well, it was those Mexicans shouting, in English, "Green Coats Go Home" that seemed to make this bit of trivia a bit unlikely.

So, I Googled "Gringo" to learn, via Wikipedia, that gringo was used in Spain long before it crossed the Atlantic. Gringo is derived from "griego", which is the Spanish word for a Greek person.

Apparently it is true that gringo was first heard by Anglo ears when used by Mexicans as an epithet during the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War. From that point on the word gringo took on a special meaning in the relationship between Mexico and America.

Now it's time for this gringo to go do something else besides read the phone book.

1 comment:

somaphx said...

I agree about the phone book, altho' our little Marfa book could use some help.

It's just like the dictionary, getting lost on the way to a word you no longer remember ....

"Step away from the book, sir; you will not be harmed."