Sweep, rake, burn

MEXICAN LIFE isn’t all about sunsets and margaritas. Sometimes it’s work. Yesterday, for instance.


First, I swept the upstairs terraza. I got to enjoy a view of the mountains and our neighborhood’s red-tile roofs.


Then I swept the service patio downstairs. That’s where the washing machine, water heater, clothesline and propane tank live. Not much of a view there.


Third on the list was the veranda. Pretty good view, but there’s lots of stuff to sweep around, complicating matters.


At that point, I moved outside. First, the rake which resulted in three piles. Here’s one. Most leaves fall from a pear tree.


I lit a match to a piece of ocote, stuck it into the pile, and flames erupted. Soon it was consumed, a black smudge.


Back to the broom. I head out beyond the Alamo Wall to sweep the driveway and clear the pastry workshop entrance.


And, finally, it’s out to the street where I swept the sidewalk and a bit of the street too. Unlike in some cities above the Rio Bravo, we have no mechanical street sweepers.

I’m a Virgo. We like to be tidy.


Lastly, the gardener gets a breather on the veranda, posing with his tool while his child bride wields the Canon.

The street sweeper

I swept the street and sidewalk outside the Hacienda this morning. I never swept the street in Houston. The city did it.

broomWell, the city never did it outside my suburban home because it never needed it. Like magic, the street was always clean.

But the city did it lots of other places, mostly downtown. It was not a job for the citizens. They paid taxes for that.

Where I live now, if you want a clean street and sidewalk outside your home, you must do it yourself. I still, after all these years, have trouble understanding that nobody will do it if I don’t do it.

So I rarely do it. Perhaps three or four times a year.

I do pick up large trash on a regular basis, however. We never have a shortage of broken beer bottles, candy wrappers and — my personal favorite — soiled disposable diapers, the worst and best invention ever.

gooseMy sweeping the street and sidewalk today was sort of a homage to autumn. Inside the house, my child bride did her own homage by spreading the goose down comforter on the king bed.

After sweeping the street and sidewalk, I enjoy a brief spell during which I drive home and admire my handiwork, the civic duty I have done.

But it does not last long. The beer bottles, the candy wrappers and the diapers reappear, and I’m right back where I started.

Sometimes it does not pay to get out of bed, especially on cold mornings when you’re under goose down with a warm woman.