Rambling man

THIS MORNING, shortly after  dawn, I stepped out onto the upstairs terraza, as I often do at that hour, looked at the thermometer and saw 60 degrees. That rarely varies a degree much of the year at that hour.

The moment brings the standard thought: I’m lucky to live here.

I pause. I listen to the roosters. I listen to the burros. I listen to the dogs, all distant enough. Sometimes I listen to a passing freight train. It’s music to my ears, as someone famous once said.

Almost every day I head downtown in the afternoons for café at a sidewalk table, and there are options for baked sweet potato, lemon ice, shrimp cocktails from sidewalk stands and hot fig bread from a woman with a basket on the small plaza two blocks away.

Truth is, I rarely am interested in going elsewhere. When you’ve landed in a sweet spot, as I have, why climb out of the bowl? I’d just as soon not, but sometimes it’s necessary.

We’re heading to Mexico City shortly for as brief a visit as I can manage. We have to air out and dust the condo, plus my wife is going to try to make a hair more headway toward getting the deed to that place.

We paid it off years ago.

And then we’ll come home. Bus both ways. And the following morning, just at dawn, I’ll step out onto the upstairs terraza. There will be sounds of dogs and burros and roosters, and the air will measure 60 degrees.

And the red sun will just be creeping over the mountains.

29 thoughts on “Rambling man

  1. I believe it is time to wish you another “Happy Birthday.”
    Enjoy the city while you are there.


    1. Señor Gill: Jeez, man, do you have me on your calendar? If so, please delete it. At this point, celebrating another year’s passage makes far less sense than hoping it moves by totally unnoticed.

      Yep, 71 on Sunday. Horrors.

      But thanks anyway. Good to know one is being remembered. Better than being forgotten.


      1. At our age, you never know if it will be the last birthday. Enjoy life and be happy when you wake up alive.


        1. Señor Gill: See what you’ve gone and started with the birthday thing? Funny you should say that about being happy when we wake up alive. My father once said something similar when he was about my age. We were talking about something or other, and he said that at his age he never knew if he’d wake up each morning. And then a couple of years later — he didn’t.

          He was never an optimistic guy.


    2. PS: The Mexico City trip coinciding with my birthday was pure coincidence.

      I made a big whoop-de-doo here last year when I turned 70:


      However, I doubt I will do that much in the future. That was a milestone of note. This one is not. I don’t think you’ll be hearing of my birthdays again until 75, if I last that long, and what makes 75 notable — for me at least — is that it’s the age at which my father died, and my father and I were almost clones in many respects. He died of a heart attack, and I have a ticker issue too, though apparently trivial and common.

      But his last decade or so included quite a few health issues and, so far, I have none. Knock on wood.


          1. I know it’s not necessarily a good thing. Coming from a very long-lived family, where the last few years were generally ugly, I am *very* conscious of that fact, and spend some time thinking about what I might do about it. Being childless and (for now at least) spouse-less, it’s not a minor concern.

            Have you seen the film “Harold and Maude?” So far I’m in Maude’s camp.


  2. Nice portrait of a good life.

    Happy Birthday wishes from Dixie, where 60 degree mornings are a month away, but you can still hear roosters and donkeys if you live a little ways out in the country.


    1. Ray: I find it hard to believe that you can easily locate a donkey in your neck of the woods. Roosters, sure. And dogs and pigs, but donkeys? We prefer the burro word down here, of course. Can’t imagine why anyone would have a donkey in Alabama except as a pet.

      One of the swellest things about not living in the Southern side of the United States anymore is this perpetual cool that I enjoy. I don’t recall this phenomenon in New Orleans — perhaps I was not paying enough attention — but in Houston the cool arrived almost without fail around the 20th of September. It was very specific. I defined cool there as somewhere in the 50s. It could get hot again after that, but that first taste of cool was wonderful.

      And now I always have it!


      1. Donkeys have made quite a comeback in the South. Some keep them as pets, but a lot of country-folk who keep livestock (especially goats) put them in the pasture because they protect the herd from coyotes, We have developed quite a population of coyotes in the last twenty years. Donkeys won’t tolerate them and are a much lower-maintenance solution than any type of herd-dog.


        1. Yes, this is true. We were advised to use burros when we lived in the Ozarks to keep the coyotes away from our goats. But, someone dropped a Rhodesian ridgehound on us late one night and she kept everything and everyone from our property, including a mountain lion that liked to stalk the fence lines .


  3. As an Older Man, by a few days, I can assure you, the water is quite fine this side of the 71 mark. You hardly notice the difference. Wishing you the very best. Enjoy each day. Many won’t.

    We have no burros here, a few donkeys, but they’re mostly political and are easily ignored. Happy birthday. Bob


  4. You know, you can still hear roosters and dogs in Mexico City, perhaps even a burro if you’re lucky. And the weather there too should be fabulous — cool mornings, warm days, and temperate evenings.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we are loving the summer weather and snickering whenever anyone claims it’s “hot.”


  5. Well, darn. I was hoping your condo was in Morelia. We are thinking of relocating to that area and were going to inquire about renting. We are visiting Patzcuaro for Dia de los Muertos and will take a look around there for rentals. BTW, a friend told me that the high elevations can mess with your blood pressure. Is this true?


    1. Bonnie: We have an apartment-style condo in Mexico City and a townhouse-style condo — by far the superior one — here in town. We do not rent the Mexico City place, but we do rent the place here, but just short-term for vacationers, a couple of months maximum.

      But no pets, no smokers, and I think you qualify on one or both of those. Perhaps my memory is faulty. Let me know just before you arrive for Los Muertos and I’ll treat you to a cafecito on the big plaza. It’s quite nice.

      I’ve never heard of our altitude affecting blood pressure, but some people say it makes one short of breath for some days. I’ve never felt any of those things in the slightest.


      1. No smoking. No pets. No kids. No…well, you get the idea. We are coming to Patzcuaro for Dia de los Muertos Oct 30 – Nov 2 and staying at a hotel on the larger of the two plazas. I can’t remember the name of the hotel at the moment, but we are traveling with a tour group – it was the only way to get a hotel room in Patzcuaro – everything was booked a long time ago. Yes, definitely come over for coffee. You will recognize us – we are the old couple on the tour from Chapala.

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