The game of chess

The two of us headed downtown this afternoon to do lunch at a restaurant and complete a few chores like paying the annual water bill for the Downtown Casita and tax bills for the Casita and the Hacienda. Unlike some years ago when they were boring, time-consuming procedures, it went like a snap today.

For a few minutes, we sat at my sister-in-law’s coffee shop, out on the sidewalk, and I shot this photo of a chess game. The young fellow with the black mask is one of our numerous nephews. He was just learning to play, which heartened us because normally all he does is lie in his dark bedroom playing video games on his cell phone.

The guy with his back to the camera is also a nephew who is visiting from Querétaro. Both the boys are 17 years old. The older guy standing up is giving them some chess pointers. Below is a photo of him that I took three or four years ago at the same location.

He’s an artist who needs a pair of glasses. Reminds me of Tom Waits.

Long ago in Mexico

At home in Taretan, Michoacán.

My child bride was born at home in Uruapan, Michoacán, a bit over 60 years ago, but the family quickly moved to a smaller town nearby, a place called Taretan. As some of you know, her father was a doctor, and he delivered her, as he did his entire throng of offspring.

It usually went well. The only time it didn’t was baby No. 5, a delivery that resulted in mama’s death, which surely was very hard on the doctor, but he went on to marry again and have five more children. He was fond of kids, perhaps to a fault.

Today I was looking through photos, and here are three. My child bride is in them all.

A bath in a galvanized tub, a good fit at the time.
That’s her on the right. The other is a sister.

Day of the virgin

Where I will be sitting after I water the terraza pots.

And not just any virgin, mind you. It’s the Virgin of Guadalupe whom we are celebrating today. It began this morning with lots of explosions, which is how Mexico prefers to celebrate, and the explosions begin at dawn or before. Such fun.

It it’s a repeat of last year, and it likely will be in spite of our being told not to gather in crowds, we will have not one but two bone-shaking concerts on the nearby plaza. Those will be accompanied, of course, by more explosions. The virgin likes blasts.

At 8 a.m., it was 10 degrees Celsius and 50 Fahrenheit outside, which is just fine. An otherworldly cloud hung in the sky, perhaps Guadalupe gazing down on my hardscrabble barrio. I hope so. We need all the help we can get.

Or maybe a space ship?

Being Saturday, chores are in short supply. It’s mostly a day of rest, but I do have to water the potted plants in the downstairs terraza. Then I’ll sit a spell in the rocker, trying to ignore the racket that’s already under way on the plaza just up the street.

The little girl

Returning to the Hacienda today from a downtown restaurant where I enjoyed chile en nogata while my child bride chowed down on arrachera, chorizo and guacamole with totopos, we passed a new but humble business near our home.

We stopped to purchase half a pollo a la penca for another day, more to test the new establishment than for needing chicken right then. She went inside, and I waited in the Honda. This kid sat on the stoop. I reached into the backseat for my trusty Fujifilm Finepix and took a shot. She never even noticed, even though I was sitting so near.

That’s the chicken-cooking pit behind her.