It wasn't until I began writing Rebels on the Mountain that I took time to research it and discovered that the word is derived frombodega de carga – cargo compartment or ship's hold. I laughed at myself – I should have known this.
Thousands of cattle roamed freely in the virgin territory and there were few people needing the beef. So they slaughtered them by the thousands and traded the hides to the New Englanders. A ship like the Pilgrim could load thirty or forty thousand of them. The carcasses were left on the land to be consumed by carrion-eaters (which explains why so many crows and vultures soar above my house even thought the pickings here are slim these days).
During the three years that I sailed on thePilgrim I also acted as as docent when visitors came aboard to tour the ship. I told them about the bartering that occurred on shore as the ship cruised the coastline and, really, I knew about bodegas, I just didn't know that's what it was called in Spanish.