We all die


MORE OFTEN than some would prefer,* the bell in the steeple of this 16th-century church, not far from the Hacienda, begins a special ring. It is ringing at this moment as I write. It was ringing when I woke this morning, and it was ringing in the middle of the night.

What makes it special is its slowness. It gongs about once every 20 seconds and it goes on for hours. It is done by hand, and I often imagine that person, sitting down there in the dark, reaching up every 20 seconds or so to give a tug. Bong! Wait…wait…wait. Bong!

All through the night.

I also imagine a bottle of José Cuervo and perhaps some tacos or cheese and crackers are at his side. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I feel like getting up, dressing and going down there to see first-hand. Who and how. But I’ll never do that because I’m too old and lazy.

Later, during our morning exercise walk around the plaza, the church door was closed, and the bongs were continuing. It was a good time to check it out, and perhaps I would have done so had the door been open. But we just kept on walking. The door in question is that smaller one at the steeple’s base.

We talked about where my child bride will put me when I’m “promoted to Glory.” The neighborhood cemetery is a couple of blocks away from the church, across the highway. I would like to be planted there, the only American-Mexican, I’m sure, the sole, true paleface.

I’d provide a modish, multicultural air.

No, she said. She’ll keep me in an urn in the Hacienda. And that’s okay with me.

* * * *

* Especially those for whom the bell tolls.

(Note: This post was written yesterday. This morning I awoke, and the bedroom window was open. Birds were singing in the fan palm, and the bell was still gonging. Same deceased, or someone new?)

19 thoughts on “We all die

  1. Latest book read: Being Mortal. Non-fiction study about what to do with the aging elderly acceptable to those who must leave the home where they’ve lived for years. Medicine has put the cart before the horse by focusing on extending life (keeping healthy) and no nod to how to let folks live where they aren’t under the constant watch of medical types if they’re living without illness and just take a few pills.


    1. Carole: One of the many beauties of Mexican life is that, in most cases, your relatives tend to you in your home or theirs. It’s just taken for granted.


      1. Yeah, we have four kids and none within reach and beside that, dual income and kids in school.


      2. I’m certain that it’s a great comfort to you, Felipe, that should you become feeble and infirm, your sister-in-law will happily involve herself in your care.



    1. Ms. Shoes: Unless you know of something certain, I’d wager that I would be the only American-Mexican paleface so planted. In any event, the only one like yours truly.

      Like the cartoons.


      1. Which is exactly why I want to sell everything, move into a tiny house on wheels, and drive over the horizon to park under a nice shade tree and metabolize.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ray: I sort of doubt it. I imagine having Catholic credentials is part of the deal. On the other hand, it could be they’ll ring the bell for anyone willing to cough up cash to the priest. It’s an imperfect world in which we live.


  2. I guess you’ll have earned your keep while La Guapa Señora is keeping your urn.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where, given the sheer number of cemeteries, there may be more dead than living.


  3. Edgar Allan Poe got it about right:

    Hear the tolling of the bells – Iron Bells!
    What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
    In the silence of the night,
    How we shiver with affright
    At the melancholy menace of their tone!
    For every sound that floats
    From the rust within their throats
    Is a groan.
    And the people – ah, the people –
    They that dwell up in the steeple,
    All Alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Burial in the cold ground has always been a bizarre concept to me, as in the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout.

    The urn in the hacienda is a nice concept. That way you can still keep an eye on things, as it were, and fend off any future suitors of la guapa who may come calling. I, however, will be feeding the fish under Los Arcos in the Bay of Banderas.


    1. Charles: A solid, metal casket, I think, would deter the worms, but I prefer cremation. Both my parents were cremated, and it’s a tradition I wish to continue.

      So, you’ll end up in the Bay of Banderas. You could do worse. However, let’s hope we both will boogie along for a good spell yet to come.


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