Pilot Point man pushes through, Don Miguel
By Tatiana Ambrosio
A social media post on Monday in a social media group brought a fixture in the community to the forefront of people’s thoughts. Where was Don Miguel?
The question was posed because his walker had been seen without him. Those that travel along North Washington Street between North Saint James Road and Tiger Mart are familiar with Don Miguel.
Seeing him on his daily walks and rest stops along the way have become staples along that stretch of the road. He walks, he sits, he rests and he watches the community.
The post received 28 comments by people trying to share the last time they had seen him.
Some said they had seen him walking the day before, while others were grateful to finally know his name.
One person said they had driven up and down his usual walking path making sure he wasn’t injured along the side of the road.
It seemed to be a moment of panic for many people in the community.
Thankfully, he was later found.
His daughter had picked him up leaving his walker behind temporarily.
Don Miguel is Miguel Montes.
He was born on Oct. 6, 1931, in Mexico and recently celebrated his 90th birthday.
Montes started life working on his father’s hacienda as a ranch hand. At the age of eight, his father was shot and spent much of the next three years bedridden. He said at the time he resented being called a cowboy because he didn’t know he was a cowboy.
When asked about why he originally came to the United States, he said it was on an adventure to Texas with friends as a 21-year-old.
Montes said through a translator, “The first time I came, it lasted three hours and immigration took me back.”
He would attempt to come to the United States again through California a few months later. It would be a short time there before he would be sent back to Mexico because he was caught driving a car with no license.
After that, he joined the Mexican army in Monterrey to try to receive the necessary Mexican paperwork to be able to apply to come to the United States legally. His General would later grant him the ability to do that after a year in the service.
He then came back to Texas and spent his years working in agriculture moving with the harvest. He worked in many states but mostly in California, Texas and Florida.
He has also spent much of his life working on ranches.
Montes married twice in his life, once when he was 18 in Mexico and once again in Texas when he was 33. He settled in Crystal City, Texas, for the latter part of his life.
He had seven kids with his first wife. Now he has grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
These day Montes moves at a much slower pace in his 90th year of life.
His daughter, Yolanda Montes, brought him to visit her and live with her for medical reasons three years ago. However, he mentioned several times he has his own home in Crystal City.
He walks because of doctor’s orders, but also said he tries to stay out and about for as much of the day as possible.
Montes walks rain or shine.
“I watch the rain and wait for it to be over, then I walk,” he said of rainy days.
If he gets caught in the rain, he made the joke, that he does like the animals and just sits or stands somewhere out of the rain until it stops. He spent his whole life working outdoors and said he’s been in the rain many times.
His usual path leads him from his daughter’s house to get medicine at the pharmacy, or he goes to Tiger Mart to sit and watch people going about their daily lives. Sometimes he said he will also go to city hall.
The people of Pilot Point have been very kind to him from young children to teenagers to adults. He has been touched by the kindness in the community.
Nick’s Italian Restaurant and the Tiger Mart are two of his usual haunts. Not only have the owners and workers of both businesses been very kind and caring to him but also the patrons of both establishments have been as well.
“I like the people and the tranquility. It’s wholesome here. Everyone seems to be working. The people are very friendly,” he said.
He also said he appreciated that the people of the town have offered him so much from meals to money but more importantly friendship in saying, “Hello,” to him.
When told about the many concerned neighbors worried for his safety, he said, “I feel very touched to know people care and are concerned for me.”
This interview was translated by Victoria Hubbard.