Monday, January 17, 2011


I was hesitant in posting about the passing of Maria Isabel Martinez only because I didn't want to dishonor her memory.  "Shabelle," as she was known, passed away Friday.

Ms. Martinez owned a beauty salon located in South Laredo, Shabelle's Unisex Salon, a place that I pass by every day on my way home.  I paid the establishment a visit several times here and there but never got to know her, or her employees, well.

Two things that struck me about the obituary were her age and the disease which contributed to her untimely demise, diabetes.  As soon as I saw her nickname I thought about the south side establishment, but I was amazed at how young she was.  She surely left her mark on the community but 51 is too young to go.

It's ironic that the same LMT issue that carried her story also had a feature of a local bakery which Bordertown Blues posted about.  I don't want to bring the mood down by bashing local cultural favorites but what we hold dear is not exactly doing us any favors.  We line up for sweet bread at humble little bakeries; we name 5K races after tamales; the Menudo Bowl is sure to draw a big crowd; and I don't even want to get into our affinity for beer. 

All those things are great but we can't take our health for granted when diabetes is a big problem in our culture.  More and more it's affecting our younger population.  And it's going to be difficult to deal with, what with all these influences around us.

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