Knocked Out in Naco

I know I’ve told the story of getting stuck in Arizona after my BIL’s wedding with my in-laws who had not seen each other in 20 plus years.  I’d like to elaborate on that trip a little.

Girls with grandparents in AZ

We had flown out with FIL and rented a minivan once we got there. We knew we’d be driving around with FIL, myself, Hubby and our first and middle daughters.  #3 had not been thought about yet, and since MIL  was in Arizona too, it was a good thing for the minivan.

Me & girls in AZ desert with my in-laws

We had gotten there several days before the wedding so we spent a couple of days sightseeing and traveling down memory lane.  You see, when Hubby and his family first moved to the United States when he was five they moved to Arizona, Lake Havasu, before they moved to Georgia.  So, we spent a day touring Old Tucson, and another driving around Lake Havasu looking at their old house, etc.  While we were in Lake Havasu somehow we got into a discussion that we were really close to Mexico and since at that time I had never been out of the country we decided we would drive down to the border at Naco and cross into Mexico since you don’t need a passport for a day trip (or you didn’t at the time) and that we would drive around and maybe eat lunch and drive back to Tucson.

Hubby BIL, MIL, FIL and girls in AZ

We drove across the border and took the first left just to get a feel for the town.  We hadn’t gotten a block and there was a BIG tractor trailer across the road so we had to stop.  As we are sitting there waiting for either the tractor trailer to move or for us to decide to turn around, all of a sudden there was the sound of screeching brakes.  I was sitting on the back seat so I turned around just as a BIG black car crashed into our rear end.   Hubby and FIL jump out of the van and run around to the rear as 5 Mexican guys jump out of the car and start running to the front of their car, which is jammed into the back of our van.  It’s like an episode of Keystone Kops.

They are all (the 5 Mexicans, FIL and Hubby) running around with their arms flailing and talking in excited voices.  I can’t understand what my Hubby and FIL are saying but I hear “No…. (mumble, mumble) policia!”  I hear them say this several times.  Hubby and FIL neither speak Spanish and it’s apparent that none of the Mexicans speak English.  Hubby and FIL hop back in the van, the Mexicans hop back in their car, slam it in reverse and take off!!!  I’m screaming at Hubby to go after them and then Hubby says “Oh, we don’t need to. They are going to get the police!”


I explain to Hubby that I know that my fluency in Spanish is somewhat limited to the 3 years of Spanish I took in high school but I’m pretty sure that they are NOT going to get the police!

Hubby:  No, NO… you weren’t out there.  They were saying police!

Me:  No, I wasn’t out there, but I could hear THEM through the window and I heard them say NO POLICIA… that means NO POLICE. They are NOT going to get the police.  They are running from the police!  We need to go find the police station and report this.

More episodes of Keystone Kops and we finally find the police department.   We park the now smashed in the rear minivan,  and go into the station.  The station reminds me of the police station in the Andy Griffith Show but to a much WORSE degree.  It’s got a counter and a few cells and it’s cinderblock and it’s dark and there were two police officers in there.  We try to explain to them in my extremely limited high school Spanish that we had been involved in a hit and run with a large black vehicle occupied by  5 Mexican males.  He apparently understood exactly who we were talking about because they started talking excitedly between themselves and then the one officer ran out and got in his car and took off.  I tried to explain to the lone remaining officer that we would need a police report to give to the car rental agency so we could file the insurance claim.  Thank God we had bought the extra insurance which I usually don’t do.  Serendipity?

Anyway, since it’s been MANY MANY years and my Spanish is EXTREMELY limited, in advance, please forgive the spelling errors, but I will TRY to recall the gist of the conversation.

Me:  We need a police report for the insurance company.

Mexican Police officer:  (BLANK STARE)

Me:   Ummmnnn un reporto?? Necessito reporto?

Mexican Police Officer:  AH….. si!  Reporto!  (as he pulls out a wirebound notepad and clicks his pen to start writing on the notepad)

Me:  No, No… necessito reporto offici’al por favor!

Mexican Police Officer:  Si’, si’ report offici’al.  Soy JEFE!

Ok… so I understood that… he’s the chief, the big cheese, the man in charge…. BUT… I don’t think the insurance company is going to accept a handwritten report on notebook paper written in Spanish, nonetheless!

After about 20 minutes of TRYING to reason with this man while we have this massive communication gap, I finally tell hubby that we will just have to deal with it when we get back (or the next day since it was already getting late) and we will have to have them find someone who speaks Spanish call back and explain and get the information.

We get back to Tucson and start telling BIL and his soon to be in-laws our “Adventures in getting knocked out in Naco, Mexico”.  By now it’s funny since it’s so surreal, but, BIL soon bursts our bubble.

BIL:  You took the rental car to Mexico???

Me:  Yeah, why?

BIL:  You’re not supposed to have it out of the state much less the country!  I don’t think that the insurance will cover that if you had it out of the country.

Me:  Well, we can’t afford to pay for this out of our pocket…AND that’s why we bought the extra coverage…. what are we gonna do?

BIL:  LIE!!!

I don’t like lying and I don’t like being dishonest.  This was gonna call for EXTREME creativity!  On top of THAT, Hubby ended up getting called out of town early so I ended up having to take it back to the rental agency by myself.  Well, with FIL, MIL and #1 and #2 daughters in tow.  Turns out I didn’t really LIE… I  just didn’t offer the entire TRUTH.  There IS a difference.  The following is a paraphrase of the conversation I had with the rental agent when I took the minivan back.

Agent:  Is there any damage to the vehicle?

Me:  Yes, the rear end is kind of messed up.

Agent:  What happened to it?

Me:  Well….I came out of the apartment this morning and it was like that.  (I just didn’t offer that it was also like that when we went to bed the night before!)

Agent:  Do you know who caused the damage to the vehicle?

Me:  No, I do not. (Not a lie… I did NOT know the 5 Mexicans in the car, I just did not offer that I knew it was a car load of Mexican guys IN Mexico that did it).

Agent:  Did you file a police report?

Me:  No, I didn’t see the need since there was no way they could know who did it since it was like that when I got up this morning and there was no one around that witnessed it getting hit. (True since it wasn’t hit there).

Agent:  Did you purchase the extra insurance and would you like to use it if you did or would you like the damage reported to YOUR insurance company.

Me:  I definitely did purchase the full coverage and I DO want it claimed against that and NOT my insurance (My mama didn’t raise no fool… at least not me, anyway!).

So, there you have it.  I did not LIE, I simply omitted part of the truth.  And had stories to tell about it later!


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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16 Responses to Knocked Out in Naco

  1. suzicate says:

    Funny story…the kids will be telling that one for years!

    • pegbur7 says:

      Except they were too young to remember it! It was funny though. I guess I could use it to reiterate to #1 the reason it was SO important for her to learn Spanish!LOL

  2. You handled this so beautifully. I want you with me when I wind up in a jam!

  3. Jane says:

    Oh my goodness! I was glued to the screen. This story is so funny – and you are so good under pressure! I’m with Maureen, I want you with me the next time I need to tell a “white lie.” My husband teases me about my lack of poker face – I would have been all flustered and finally would have blurted out the whole story.

    • pegbur7 says:

      And that is usually me! I usually cannot hide my feelings (and I was feeling kinda scared SH**LESS at that point). I think it was the fact that I was stuck with BOTH my inlaws who do NOT get along and two VERY young children with no support (i.e. hubby not there) so I did what I HAD to in order to get the heck outta dodge! You can usually read my my my my poker face (you were SO supposed to hear Lady GAGA there!) since I DON’T have one! LOL Glad you enjoyed it! What can I say? My life is a farce!

  4. GregoryJ says:

    Good story, Peg.
    I have some Naco stories, too. When I was at Ft. Huachuca, AZ in ’78, I met a bar manager in Naco, AZ. Her bar was the last one on the right, just before you hit the border.
    Hmm, good memories, but I’m afraid I can’t tell you anymore. You’re G-rated, right?
    The main street was dirt in ’78, and the border station was a booth that no one manned at night. A lot has probably changed since then.
    thank you.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Not a lot… this was back in like 86 and I to think that the streets were dirt or gravel or something. Very dirty little town and delapidated.

      My FIL was stationed at Ft Huachuca when they lived out there! Small world!

  5. Alex grew up in Phoenix. Nice place! When I was a kid, my dad and mom took us to Mexico all the time to see Dad’s family. BUT Dad was Mexican and spoke perfect Spanish. Plus, he was a cop (which is neither here nor there but cops think they can do anything). I would NEVER take a car into Mexico. When would I take a car into Mexico, that would be UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES! We don’t speak the language! We don’t know the laws! Mexico can be dangerous! OMG you guys with the babies! Dang! That’s funny and would make a great comic movie! Now, Peg, repeat after me… Don’t take a car in to Mexico EVER. This was hilarious! I love the bit at the rental car place too. That’s so funny!

    • pegbur7 says:

      Yeah, it was sort of like “Adventures in Babysitting” Mexican Style! I learned my lesson. I had NO idea. You know…. hindsight 20/20… foresight… not so much! LOL

  6. Spot says:

    Yay for high school spanish!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually used that four years worth. And I only took the class because it was easy. LOL.

    Omitting the truth is definitely not the same as lying. Or maybe it was just a creative reinterpretation of events??

    had me giggling,

    • pegbur7 says:

      I never knew that high school Spanish would come in handy later in life. We went to Cancun several years after this and I knew just enough to barter with the locals in El Centro and got some GREAT bargains! I almost felt guilty for taking advantage of them! But not bad enough to let them keep the stuff! LOL

  7. Ron says:

    BRAVA Peg!

    For being able to not lie, yet omit the truth! GREAT thinking on your feet, dear lady because that’s something not too many people can do!

    This whole post reminded me of one of my favorite I Love Lucy episodes where Lucy and Ethel smash two cars together and are petrified to tell Ricky and Fred.

    Agent: What happened to it?

    Me: Well….I came out of the apartment this morning and it was like that.


    That’s exactly how Lucy answered!

    Wonderful post, Peg!


    • pegbur7 says:

      Thanks Ron! I’d love to be able to attribute the “episode” to thinking on my feet or brilliance. I think it was more a case of “SCARED SHITLESSNESS”… Is that a word? oh, well, it is NOW!

      My daughter asked me not long ago if we were the ONLY family that this kind of weird crap happened to. I told her it probably happens to lots of people… they just aren’t stupid enough to tell the world about it! LOL

  8. Hadassah says:

    Another great story well told, Peg.

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