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.

Opening the album

I’LL BE TURNING 76 before the month’s end, outliving my father, so I opened the album to see what used to be, and I’m sharing with you because I’m a sharing sort of fellow.

I’ve posted some of these photos before, maybe all of them, but it’s been years. I began this internet writing effort in 2005.

I do not have lots of photos from my past. When my second wife tossed me onto the hard Houston streets in 1995, I left most of our photos behind. Wish I had not. It was almost 20 years of memories, but I still have some shots from before and after.

Let’s start when I was in the 7th Grade. That’s me in the middle. Note the shoes.

Roundabout that same year I would pose with my sister in the back yard of our home on Cesery Boulevard in the Jacksonville, Florida, suburb of Arlington. My sister will turn 80 next February, and she lives in what appears to be a double-wide in Arcata, California. We have not communicated in almost a decade. Why? In a nutshell, she is quite difficult.

Our backyard in the 1950s.
Movie extra in New Orleans, 1970s

By the late 1970s, I was living on Prytania Street in New Orleans with Julie who would in time become my second wife, but we didn’t marry till after moving to Houston in the early 1980s. It was while living on Prytania Street that I bought my first manly motorcycle while growing even fonder of the varieties of the demon rum. And gin.

Holding a highball and weighing 225 lbs.
With daughter Celeste, age 12.
With a French friend atop the Torre Latinamericana in Mexico City, the mid-1970s.

In 1976, Julie and I took our first trip to Europe. We visited England, France and Spain. This photo was taken outside our home on Prytania Street as we were heading to the airport. I am a foot taller than she is, so I was scrunching down a bit, bending my knees.

Or perhaps she was standing on a box.

She was a cutie.

In the mid-1980s, my mother and I split the cost of a “new” car for my daughter, and Julie snapped this photo at the moment I presented it to her. She was happy. I’ve been in Mexico 20 years now, and I’m still awaiting a visit from her and her husband, Mitch.

Celeste was happy to see me that day.

The following shot was taken in my apartment on Braes Boulevard in Houston around 1998. Still coping with my involuntary bachelor life, i.e. Julie, combined with having recently broken up with a lovely Latina, i.e. another name, with whom I was much enamored, I was not a happy camper. I cut all my hair off.

Another bad day.

But life improved. A lot! The following shot was taken on the patio of our favorite hotel suite in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, about 10 years ago. I did not weigh 225 pounds anymore. I was sleek and trim. Some would call me skinny.

One reason I wrote this post is because WordPress just now forced a new editing program on us, and it’s incredibly complicated. In the process of putting this together, I’ve become a little more comfortable with it, so I can continue for another 15 years.

There are new features. For instance, now I can put on a slide show, which was not possible before. Here are some color photos, all shot by me a few years back.

And below that is yet another new feature, a tiled gallery. Again, all my photos. All are clickable to see larger versions and to leave comments, which was not possible before.

A morning shot

shot

UNLIKE MOST mornings when I stay home till past noon, today I drove downtown just before 9 to open the Downtown Casita for the maid. The place had not been officially tidied in two months. Normally, it’s done once a month when there are no tenants.

But the Plague Year has made me fall behind on my responsibilities. However, last week a pack of kin from the nearby state capital spent the night there, so it was a good excuse to hire the maid even though the kin always leave the place neat.

I scooped up the used sheets and towels and drove two blocks to a laundromat. As I got out of the Honda, I looked back up the hill that I had just descended and decided to take a photograph. There’s a VW Bug up there. Bet you don’t see them much anymore above the Rio Bravo. They’re still common here.

It rained a bit last night, so the morning was cool and fresh.

My father will die tomorrow. Stay tuned.