One-way chat

I found the railroad spike buried in the yard years ago.

Let’s chat a spell, or chatear, as some folks here say in Spanglish. All you often have to do to transform English into Spanglish is toss “ar” or some variation on the tail of the English word. It’s an abomination, but I’ve been known to do it.

I’m writing this near dusk on Wednesday. Normally, I drive the Honda downtown daily around 4-ish for a nice sit on the plaza with the Kindle and a café Americano negro, but it was made impossible today by the Virgin Mary, or some sort of virgin.

I don’t follow Catholicism very closely. Actually, not at all. Any other religion either. I leave that to others, but I don’t begrudge them. On the contrary, I encourage it. For others.

Well, anyway, I was nearly downtown when I ran into a nasty traffic jam. I knew the cause. Every year on this day, the locals pull the Virgin from her lofty perch in the Basilica and parade her through the streets like a blessed tourist. And she gets some fresh air. She’s made from cane paste, and she’s way older than I am.

I thought I would beat the traffic jam, but no, so I whipped around in the middle of the street and headed home, no café Americano negro for me this day. And I’ll crack the Kindle tonight in bed.

—–

Abandonment issues

I’m being hung out to dry for five days next week, or at least it will feel that way. Hung out to dry, that is. The five days is a fact. Unlike Macaulay Culkin, home alone is not my preferred circumstance.

My child bride, one of her sisters, her stepmother and a hired driver will be heading to Guayabitos on the Pacific Coast to address some legal issues around a property her father purchased decades ago, and his numbskull widow has allowed to get totally screwed up.

Why don’t I go? I don’t want to. It’s a long drive, and you have to plow through Guadalajara. And the coast is too hot.

So here I will be, home alone. This has rarely happened in the almost 20 years we’ve been married. The good thing is that I never get bored, but I prefer her presence. I’ll live, I guess.

I’ve enjoyed our chat.

I dreamed of New Orleans

Dawn today.

—–

But I woke up in Mexico to a chilly August morning.

Last night just after midnight, fireworks exploded on the nearby plaza. Just after midnight meant we’d entered another day, one that merited in some Catholic way the typical blasts of celebration.

Being accustomed to this, I went back to sleep and dreamed of New Orleans where I was walking on Carrollton Avenue, and I had a job on the newspaper again. I met a friend of an old friend. He remembered my name, but I did not recall his, which is one of my many defects. There was no clear time of year, but had it been August, it would have been hot, very hot and humid.

Just past 6, I was awake again, and it was cold, cold in August. I thought of a visit to Guanajuato in the 1980s with my second ex-wife. It too was August, and I remembered it was cold there for the same reason, altitude, and how amazed I was on walking out the hotel door to a cold August morning in Mexico.

I finally got out of bed at 7, walked into the kitchen and looked out the dining room window. And took this photo on another cold August morning. I like it here, and they’re still making noise on the nearby plaza, a small band now, celebrating something or other that I care not about in the slightest. I’m not Catholic.

Soaked morning in mourning

New Image
Our barrio church.

IT RAINED LIKE a motheroo last night. I awoke at 2:30 to the pounding of horizontal water, thunder and my child bride closing the bedroom window.

The rainy season got off to a spotty start about 10 days ago. It blew in big-time one evening, then rained two or three times more. Then nothing for six or so days. Till last night.

I went back to sleep, but awoke about an hour later to the near silence of a calm sprinkle. I got up to open the bedroom window again. Then back to dreamland. It was easy. The air was cool.

Just before 7, I opened my eyes to a gray dawn through the window and the gonging church bell on the plaza 1.5 blocks away.

Someone had died. Death is marked here in the barrio by a slow, dismal gong that continues for hours, often all night long, and it’s done manually. A guy is up there in the bell tower pulling the rope about once every 10 seconds.

Not an enviable task.

Sitting down at the dining room table for bagels and cream cheese at 8, I saw the downstairs veranda under a lake, water that had blown in from the storm. The upstairs terraza had a lake too, but a far more modest one, so I decided right then to install at least one more canvas curtain up there, closing four of the five sides.

The sort of storm we got last night, blowing so much water into the two terrazas, is rare. Last summer it only happened two or three times during the daily, five-month monsoon.

Less rare is a neighbor’s death and the slow gonging of the announcement.

Not being a Catholic, nor even much of a barrio participant, I will not get a gong when I die. That’s too bad. I would like that sort of sendoff, especially if accompanied by lightning, thunder and flooding tears from heaven.

Drama and death suit one another.

I wonder if it will rain again today.

I am a Godfather, it seems

bride
A bride waits outside the Basilica for her big moment.

FOR THE FIRST time in my life, I have been roped into the role of Godfather.

This is strange due to my not being a Catholic or a Christian or even a believer as they define it. I’ve dodged this job a number of times since moving south many years ago, but I finally got volunteered by my child bride. I don’t recall if she asked me first or not. She likely did due to being a Mexican wife.

They are quite different from Gringas. Better.

While I am the Godfather, she is the Godmother, and she did all the work. I just showed up yesterday and tried to look devout. I was the only Gringo there, so I stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Our guest of honor, our Godson, is the second child of a nephew. The baby, about eight months old, is named Oliver Lobsang if you can believe it. Lobsang is not his last name. It’s his middle name, and Oliver Lobsang doesn’t even like me. He howls when I enter the room. He’s anti-Gringo.

But now I’m his Godfather. Take that, Oliver Lobsang!

When we showed up at the Basilica downtown at 1 p.m., there was lots of activity, mucho money-making on the part of the priests. A little girl was getting what I assumed was her First Communion. Waiting in the wings outside was a bride-to-be. That’s her in the photo. Fewer quesadillas, honeybun.

The Baptism took place in a side chapel, and there were about eight babies being soaked at the same time. God gets assembly lines.

I assumed a sanctified face, exuding spirituality.

The deed being done, we headed nearby to the traditional party. Tacos were served, as was beer, Sprite, Coca-Cola, salty nuts and a big cake. I only stayed an hour because the music was loud, and those things run on forever.

As I stepped out to the cobblestoned street, I heaved my Holiness aside, and headed to the Honda with a smile on my face. I’m a Godfather. I hope Oliver Lobsang doesn’t expect much from me. I was dragooned, amigo.