Papacito Day

jetSUNDAY WAS Father’s Day, of course. Unlike Mother’s Day, which falls on different days in Mexico and the United States, Father’s Day is on the same day. One wonders why.

I am a father, but my daughter has gone entirely, it seems, to her mother’s side (my first of three wives), and her mother long ago remarried, providing my daughter with a substitute, and he is a very good guy.

That leaves me, apparently, not a father anymore. I have been deleted.

That means, for me at least, yesterday was not Papa Day. It was Papacito Day, which is another matter altogether. Being a Mexican woman’s Papacito is a romantic thing. And being a Mexican man’s Mamacita is too. I am married to my Mamacita, and she is married to her Papacito.

It is not always that way. You can have a Mamacita or Papacito on the side. Even though you can get into trouble doing that, it is fairly common.

We celebrated Papacito Day by dining in a nice restaurant just outside a village near here. The restaurant has an unpronounceable name that comes from our local indigenous people. I think it’s sort of silly to put an unpronounceable name to a business, but it seems to be doing well.

eat2And here is the restaurant. It’s a humble place. The ceiling and the roof are one and the same. Beams and artificial clay tiles. A major storm erupted while we were both digging into plates of breaded fish and guacamole, and a few raindrops fell on my gray-haired head.

* * * *

So you may be asking, What’s with the airliner?

I snapped that shot on Sunday too, as we were driving to the restaurant. Our hardscrabble neighborhood on the upside of town is where you’ll find our airport. It’s a dirt strip, and walking distance from the Hacienda.

A few years back, someone started an ultralight business there for tourists to see the area from on high. In the early days, we often had two-seater ultralights over the Hacienda. But that’s kind of petered out. And we’ve had hot-air balloon festivals at that airport too. But not recently.

A couple of years ago, someone decided to buy an old Aeromexico DC-9 airliner and install it at our dirt strip, you know, just for show. Getting the airliner here was fun. Here’s what happened:

It was trucked here. The wings were removed and the tail too, leaving just the cylindrical body, which was lowered onto some monster trailer and pulled by a semi. It came from the direction of the state capital, and everything was going fine until it arrived at the turn here in our neighborhood. A DC-9 corners poorly.

At the right turn from the main highway onto the secondary road, there is a gentle incline downward, and there is a carnitas stand right on that corner, directly by the highway, and it was the eating hour.

As the airliner entered the turn, it began to roll off its trailer. It landed on the highway with a considerable thump, one imagines, I was not there, wish I had been, and began to roll toward the carnitas stand.

You can imagine the eyeballs of the fellow slicing carnitas as the DC-9 rolled toward him. It stopped just a few feet away. I happened to drive by minutes later and saw the airliner resting on the highway, which is not something you see very often, especially without blood, body parts, mangled luggage and flame-retarding foam.

To make a long story shorter, they got it off the highway somehow, and later installed it on a concrete stand at the nearby airport, and put the wings back on, plus the jet housings.

Months later, I drove to the airport, and the owner was there, the same guy with the ultralight business, and he gave me a tour inside the jet. The seats were missing, but it’s fun to stand inside a bit of aviation history.

I took this shot Sunday, and we continued on to the restaurant with the unpronounceable name, breaded fish and terrific rainstorm.

All told, it was a good Papacito Day.

And I hope I have lots more.

13 thoughts on “Papacito Day

  1. I don’t know when it happened, but women started celebrating other women on Mother’s Day, just because they were a mother to someone. I grew up with the idea that the only woman who was supposed to be feted on that day was your own mother. And maybe your grandmother. Or someone who may have stood in place of your own mother. But not your sister or female friends. That’s crazy. And to prove that it is, you don’t see men celebrating Father’s Day in the same way.


  2. Well then, Happy Papacito Day. Does Hallmark make cards for that? If not, I may have found a little niche for my photography and ridiculous poems I dream up. I’m on it!


  3. A Target-like, discount department store in whose bakery I was working back in the ’70s would run promotions over its PA system. On of the memorable ones was “Fathers’ Day gifts for Dad.” I always got a kick out of its mindless redundancy.

    Don Cuevas


  4. So is that the restaurant where you, la guapa señora and I had lunch last spring? If not, it’s a dead ringer.

    Very funny story about the DC 9. You think the guy might have tried to buy a plane that could make just one last flight, but I guess that would have cost more than trucking the thing in pieces.

    Did anyone at the carnitas stand lose their lunch?


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where plenty of fully-functioning planes fly over the house, and that’s as close as I hope they ever get.


    1. Kim: No, this is a different restaurant, but I see the similarities now that you mention it. As for the DC-9 making one last flight instead of being trucked in, I don’t think DC-9s land at little dirt strips unless everyone in the passenger compartment is screaming their heads off, and the jet is trailing flames.

      As for people hurling at the carnitas stand, I have no idea. I imagine it was a very exciting moment, however.


      1. You know, that one last landing of the DC-9, as you suggest, would be an appropriately dramatic way to send off a Mexican DC-9. Minus the passengers, of course.


  5. I would like to see that strip if I ever get up your way. I have never been a fan of dead airplanes on sticks, but that prejudice is limited to fighters. A DC-9 would be a different story.

    As for Father’s Day, several people, with broad smiles, wished me a “Happy Father’s Day” on Sunday. The only problem is that I lack the requisite spawn to claim the honor. It is almost as if the day has turned into a celebration of the fact that my plumbing is different than that of mothers. But, there I go, falling into the same tortuous definitional trap.


    1. Señor Cotton: Dead airplanes on sticks. Well, there’s an interesting phrase. And I don’t understand why you make a distinction between fighters on sticks and airliners. In any event, I do like airplanes on sticks, any sort. The guy who owns our DC-9 and who gave ultralight flights till the customer base dried up lives in Mexico City. I have no idea what he’s doing here with these activities. Obviously, he has money to burn.

      Our “airport” is deserted 99 percent of the time.


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