Tio Purungo is my favorite uncle. I’ve never felt more relaxed or at home in DR than being in his company and in his neighborhood in Guachupita. Since it’s such a notorious neighborhood, I’d never be allowed to visit him on my own. Whenever I’m driving around with my cousins it’s always a huge deal if we find ourselves close to Guachupita anytime after dark.
My earliest memory of him is spending a whole day at his house and with my cousins running around and chasing chicks. I was so obviously enamored that he gave me one to keep. I was so ecstatic. He definitely knew how to win “Bestestest Uncle Ever.” Before leaving, Papi took this blurry polaroid picture of my uncle, aunt, cousin, neighbor, and me and the chick. My uncle kept this polaroid, and only allowed me to make a copy of it.
On the car ride home, I wasn’t allowed to keep the chick on my lap and remember being terrified that he would hurt himself running around on the floor of the van. He kept making these shrieking sounds.
Towards the end of vacation I had to return to NYC and I wasn’t allowed to bring my lil chick. I left him with Mama for safe keeping, and couldn’t wait to come back and see him again.
A few months later Mama called and told me that he had run away… flew over the wall and everything.. I cried for days and never forgot him.
In college I told my mom the story. She broke out laughing, “You believed her!!!!??? She most likely seasoned him real well and ate him!!!”….
I was not amused.