Getting smoked

The trim

The smoke is coming from two sources. One is the cinnamon incense on the coffee table right here in front of me.

I’m in the living room reading a history of Dwight Eisenhower’s White House years. Ike was my kinda guy, but I did not know it at the time — or care. Too young. Anyway, my parents were devout supporters of Adlai.

And the other smoke comes from the mountainsides and fields in the distance. The campesinos burn the countryside this time every year. That has to do with improving the dirt for crops or tradition — or both.

There are just a few months when the fields can be torched. Much of the year, it rains daily and even when it’s not raining, it can be nice and green, and greenery does not yield to fire willingly. It fights back.

Dead and brown, however, burn nicely, and here in March our world is dead, brown and burning. Big black soot flakes sail overhead like raven wings.

This is also the time of year I must whack back the yard. That’s the golden datura bush in the photo. I whacked it back last week, leaving the one flower like a Christmas decoration.

I’ve also whacked the second datura, the fan palm, the monster maguey and all three banana stands, which were still green till the recent freeze.

There’s more whacking to be done, but I’ve finished most of it, and a mountain of green “garbage” is rising next to the front gate. When I finish, I’ll pay my sullen neighbor Abel to tote it away in a pickup.

I don’t know where he takes it, and don’t want to know. But it’s plant material, all biodegradable.

Eisenhower just won the Republican nomination. He is not living in the White House yet. I wish he were living in the White House right now.

Those were better times.

Thanks for listening.

10 thoughts on “Getting smoked

  1. Ike was one of my favorites as well…although I was knee high to a grasshopper when he was in office. One of his best moments was the warning on the military/industrial complex…which unfortunately continues to thrive. They were better and simpler times for sure…you could buy a new Ford Fairlane fully equipped for around $2500…gas was 28 cents a gallon…and high school students were not murdering their classmates. A nice morning read…gracias!


    1. Charles: Especially that high school students were not murdering their classmates. Or getting them knocked up willy-nilly either. I remember one girl who did get preggers (in the 9th grade!). Hoo-boy, such was the scandal. She dropped out, got married and vanished.


      1. Be careful not to focus on the part of history that is convenient.

        Girls did get knocked up. Vanished is the right word here. I would guess she not only physically vanished but her dreams, reputation and true happiness likely went by the wayside as well. Times were not better for women without reproductive choices or choices in general.


        1. Ms. Mommy: Of course girls got knocked up, but the illegitimacy rate, especially in some demographic zones, was spectacularly less than now. And you are right in that they vanished — to a “home” or something similar for the duration. Nowadays, again especially in some demographic zones, they not only do not vanish to a “home,” they wear their bulging “baby bumps” (cute name) with pride and with absolutely no feeling that perhaps they did the improper and/or unwise thing.

          As for times being better for women now, they do have more options. No argument there. That is good. Whether the options are used wisely or whether they have produced a better society, one can argue. In short, life is complicated.


  2. The Ike years of the 1950s were the golden age of America. We were victorious in the war and our factories were humming and there were jobs for everybody. Our currency was strong and you could obtain silver dollars at any bank. You could mail a letter for four cents and six cents for airmail. The only thing constant in life is change.


  3. And, during the Ike years, there was no public Internet. In fact, probably no Internet at all. So, there were no Facebook, Twitter nor blogs. Was there color tv? There was racial segregation.

    We were innocent then. Maybe naive is a more accurate description.

    Don Cuevas


    1. Don Cuevas: One could make the argument quite easily that the internet, Facebook, Twitter, even blogs, and certainly color TV have not improved our lives in any meaningful way. They have simply given us more entertainment options.

      As for legal racial segregation, of course, that has flipped entirely, a great step forward, that it’s been outlawed. Alas, now races mostly segregate themselves on their own accord, following human nature. A visit to any university’s Student Center will illustrate that beautifully.

      As for naïveté, I don’t believe we were any more naive then than now. Feel free to differ.


  4. The fields should be burning in Honduras today. However, it’s raining and cold. Those two words are usually an impossibility for Honduras in the middle of March. Weird weather is preventing the smoky, hazy days we would have normally. Even my dog is shivering.


    1. Laurie: It’s overcast and cooler than it should be here right now. Rain is forecast for tonight, and it’s already sprinkled a bit. All quite atypical. We live in strange times.


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