Less than a tithe

This is our neighborhood church. Built, I’m guessing, in the 1500s.

WE USUALLY don’t answer the doorbell because it’s often passing kids goofing around or someone selling something we don’t want. And it’s almost a two-block round trip from inside the house to the front gate and back. That more than anything.

* * * *

A Catholic spell

I come from country people who were never anything but Baptists or Methodists that I know of.

In spite of that, I was deposited in a Catholic school for kindergarten and First Grade in Albany, Georgia, about 10,000 years ago. My mother did it because it had the best reputation in town, education-wise.

My sister was sentenced there too. My sister had imagination, however, or maybe it was just childish ignorance. She came home one day and announced that she’d changed the Holy Water, freshened it up with stuff from the tap.

Neither the priest nor the nuns ever noticed, which tells me that Holy Water’s fame is overstated somewhat.

My mother, before enrolling me, made the nuns promise they wouldn’t try to turn me into a Catholic, and they did so promise because, one imagines, our money looked green.

However, one day I came home with the report that, after having misbehaved in some way, I was made to kneel on rice before a painting of the Virgin and beg forgiveness.

Mother took me out of the school at that point, and I left Catholicism forever if you don’t count that my second ex-wife is a recovering Catholic, and Mexico is full of Catholics.

My child bride does not seem to be a Catholic, but the environment rubs off. Her father was an atheist and her evil stepmother, after father died too young, became a Jehovah’s Witness, one of those pests at your front door.

* * * *

Speaking of doorbells

As I was saying, we rarely respond to the doorbell here at the Hacienda unless we are expecting someone.

But my child bride was toiling in her pastry workshop the other day when the doorbell rang — it rings both out there and here in the house — and since there was little walking involved, she opened the little speakeasy portal in the steel gate.

Two ladies were there, and they were not pesky Jehovah’s Witnesses, but Catholics on a collecting mission.

You see our neighborhood church up top? It is very old, and it’s in bad condition. We were informed that City Hall has agreed to chip in a percentage for a much-needed restoration, but residents here in our poor barrio have to pony up too.

We were being asked to pony up, so we ponied.

We learned that the amount one is asked to contribute is based on how well-off you look. In our hardscrabble neighborhood, we look quite well-off, so we were asked for 1,000 pesos.

We paid for the sake of architecture.

I think the Vatican should pay for the entire restoration, but it doesn’t seem that Headquarters pays us much mind.

I hope enough money is raised because I like the church. I see it every weekday morning during our exercise walk. I’ve rarely been inside, but I hear singing at times, and I see funerals and weddings there. All part of the tapestry hereabouts.

25 thoughts on “Less than a tithe

  1. I wish we had a “no soliciting” sign on our phones as we have on our doorbell. There have been at least ten calls today from a fake phone number telling us our house has been selected to be outfitted with solar panels. We didn’t answer but I was able to look up the phone number on the computer and read comments by others about the scam. Then there are the East Indians calling to say they’ve been electronically informed we have a problem with our computer and if they can have permission from us to let them have access, they can fix it. That one has gotten many superannuated persons in the US. Luckily we are engaged electronically enough to know ahead of time about these scamps.


    1. Carole: One of the many fine advantages of living in Mexico is that I have not received one junk phone call since I moved here lo these many years ago. Not one. Appears to be an above-the-border phenomenon. And I never win the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes either.


        1. Don Cuevas: If you’re talking about a cell phone, there are call-block apps. I have one on mine, and it works great, blocks both calls and messages. If you’re talking about a landline, why on earth does anybody have landlines anymore?


          1. We have a landline and it’s unlisted so virtually no solicitations. It’s about the only thing that’s gone down in price…being unlisted. And I can be understood rather than sound like a parrot being choked as is the case with most cellphones. I see the many zombies walking in the middle of the sidewalk oblivious to everything but their device. I don’t want to be one of those people. The sun is out and the birds are chirping. Life is good and we’re going to the Yucatan for a month in 3 days !


            1. Brent: True, the sound is better with a landland. As for walking out and about, staring at your cell phone, oblivious to the world around you, that’s a personal choice. I don’t do it. I have a smallish Sony Xperia, which I use almost totally for calls and text messages, 95 percent of which go to my wife. About the only exception is that I can check my bank account with an app, but I don’t do that on public WiFi, only at home. And I use a call blocker app too. Very sweet, that one. The Sony is my first smartphone, which I bought only about two years ago “preowned” via MercadoLibre for 1,000 pesos, about 50 bucks at the time. I came late to the smartphone world, and I did it mostly because my previous cell, a dumbphone, had such poor sound quality.

              So much of Western civilization has gotten silly and stupid that at times I understand ISIS and their opinion of us. Cannot support their methods, however.

              Month in Yucatan, eh? You’re gonna sweat your keister off, but have fun.


      1. You know, for a while I had a MoviStar cell phone in Mexico and they called me every single day for a while trying to sell me something. After realizing that speaking to them in English didn’t put them off one little bit, I finally told them in Spanish to take me off their list. Blessedly that worked.

        But don’t imagine that telemarketing hell doesn’t exist SOB.

        It does.


        1. Kim: Doesn’t exist for me at all. Well, if you don’t count my bank often calling to tell me my loan has been pre-approved. Other than that, nada. Must be my clean living.


  2. Give to the needy, it’s good karma. Besides, you don’t need nor will you miss the money, but keep it reasonable.


    1. Carlos: I’m not sure chipping in to renovate the church classifies as giving to the needy. I do think the Vatican should be involved in this sort of stuff. It is, after all, their outpost.

      Once here, about eight or so years ago, I was sitting at a sidewalk table downtown when a couple of nuns passed by, asking for money for something or other. I suggested to them that they should ask the Vatican. They were not amused. Made perfect sense to me. Still does.


  3. I thought I had explored most of Patz but I don’t remember that church and we usually go in all that we see. Next time.


    1. Replying to myself. I scratched my head in that copper town near you (Cobre etc) where there are 2 or 3 nice churches on the same small square. I wondered how they convinced the higher ups to fund that.


    2. Steve: My hardscrabble neighborhood is the first thing you get to as you arrive from the state capital. It long was a separate village, but now we’ve been eaten up by our larger neighbor. Due to our once being a separate village we have a big plaza and the obligatory church to go with it.


  4. Sometimes the needy are those needing more than money …. that might include the Vatican … but then, we all get to make our choices …. it’s just that some of us have the good fortune to not starve while we do it …. keep ’em coming Don Felipe….


  5. As of this morning, a thousand pesos seems to be $53.25. You are rather generous.
    I haven’t paid tithing to my church since I was 16. I think they are keeping track of that. I told my wife that when I die, as I lay in the coffin, to put a check in my hand for everything I owe. I will give it to God when I see him.

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    1. Señor Gill: A thousand pesos was the “suggested” amount for us. I could have paid less, but I want the church renovated. I can afford it, so I paid it. Were it left to my child bride, it would not have been paid.


      1. I am with your wife. Let those that attend the church pay up. If they cannot afford it, then pray harder. The government has no business putting public money into a church.
        Just my two cents.


        1. Señor Gill: Unlike up there, down here the concept of separation of church and state is an alien notion. But you know that.

          Anyway, my contribution was an architectural gift, not religious.


    2. PS: About eight years back, we were asked to chip in on a much-needed bridge across a gully down the street. It would have immensely assisted driving in the direction of the state capital. I gave 200 pesos. The work got started but never finished. My wife has cast a suspicious eye on such requests ever since. That in spite of some other projects we’ve contributed to that did get done. She can’t let go of the bridge thing though. It sticks in her craw.


  6. Your neighborhood church is lovely. I’m glad you chipped in. But if they are only asking you for $1,000 MN, then one has to wonder how tiny a budget they’re going to be working with. Even with local labor rates it seems they won’t be able to do much. Let’s hope they don’t plan to repaint it. The current patina is nothing short of amazing.


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where all the churches are modern and boring.


    1. Kim: City Hall is weighing in with cash too. I don’t know how much. The interior of the church is in dire need, especially the ceiling, which is about to fall down, or so it looks. As for the exterior, it is nice, and was repainted only about five or six years ago.

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