Church work

church
Scaffolds abut the church as guys do the much-needed renovation.

ABOUT A DECADE back, folks knocked on the gate and asked for a contribution to construct a short bridge over a ravine a few blocks down our street.  It would have solved a serious traffic glitch, so we kicked in 200 pesos.

The work on the bridge began, but it never finished, and remains undone to this day. The traffic glitch lives on.

A couple of months ago, folks again knocked on the gate and asked for a contribution to renovate the church. They asked for lots more, 2,000 pesos, about $115 U.S.

My wife mentioned what happened to the last money we contributed for neighborhood projects. Oh, no, this time it will happen, the folks declared.

Being community-minded and knowing the 500-year-old church on the plaza was on the point of collapse, we handed over the cash, mentally kissing it vaya con diós.

But religious projects trump street work any day hereabouts, so the church renovation is under way, and I have no doubt it will be completed. I am glad even though I am neither Catholic nor Christian. Architecture matters.

In the almost 15 years we’ve lived in our hardscrabble barrio, and the thousands of times we’ve walked the plaza, I imagine we have not stepped through the church doors more than five or six times. The same cannot be said of our neighbors. The church is the focal point of the community.

The weddings and funerals we witness there are numerous. There is no priest in residence, so masses are sporadic.

One cannot help but wonder why the Pope, who is likely richer than Bill Gates, Raul Castro and Carlos Slim combined, does not finance the renovation of his churches, leaving it sometimes to unbelievers like myself.

While walking the plaza this morning, I also shot the photo below. An old, beat-up VW Beetle and an old Chevy Pop like the one we owned from 2000 to 2014. I wonder how often one sees these old Beetles above the Rio Bravo now.

They’re quite common down here even though Mexico halted production in 2003.

cars
History survives in many forms.

Post-bagel labor

MOST WORK around here gets done in the morning, and that would be after the bagels and cream cheese.

The labor this Good Friday morning included the yearly cleaning of the underground cistern.

Child bride descends to mop after I had descended to sweep.

Our concrete cistern holds 9,000 liters of water.

The reason you don’t want to drink tap water in Mexico is less because the water didn’t come from a clean source at the get-go. It may have. For instance, our municipal water comes from an underground spring. It is quite clear.

What happens is that almost everyone stores water in an underground cistern. From that cistern, water is delivered, one way or another, to a roof tank, and from there it’s dropped into the house faucets via gravity.

There are variations, but basically that’s how it works.

I have no statistics, but I’d bet a pocket of pesos that few homeowners ever clean their cisterns. I’ve peered into cisterns that you could use for a horror-movie scene.

But we are better than that.

Here’s how we clean ours. First, we turn off the incoming water. After that, it takes almost two weeks to empty as we use the water in the house. Finally, the cistern is empty, and we switch to a small backup tank for a day or two.

We leave the lid open overnight, and the cistern’s dry in the morning. I go down and sweep. She goes down and mops. We turn the water back on, and toss in half a liter of bleach.

Here comes fresh water into the clean tank! Yipee!

It takes three or four days to refill. The municipal water runs six days a week for six to eight hours daily.

* * * *

Other labor

Having finished that work, it was time to reassign cacti.

You’d think that after what happened with the monster nopal that I would have learned my lesson regarding prickly plants.

But I’m stupid that way.

I love deserts and the things that live in them. I used to plant cacti in my yard in Houston, and they never did squat.

The tall ones.

Next to the verandah, there’s this stand of pole cacti that I started years ago with one small one. The tallest now is six and a half feet high.

Another shorter — but not by much — stand nearby provided a cutting about 15 inches tall. It has been planted out by the property wall, and I anticipate a nice stand of pole cacti there in a few years —  if I live so long.

The little bugger.

Being a newbie, it needs a little support from string and a stick.

Following these two chores, I only had to water the potted plants on the verandah, dust the shelves and sweep the floor.

The only other labor for the day will be cooking pasta and broiling salmon. After that, it’s a café Americano negro on the downtown plaza, watching the beautiful tourist babes.

It will be a Good Friday. Even if I’m not a Christian.

The abortion thing

Health care? No. Abortion? Yes.

LET’S TALK about abortion.

I’m a fence-straddler on this contentious topic. Not being a Christian, I have no religious issue with it. Like many people, abortion has been a part of my life.

My first wife got pregnant unexpectedly. It was before we married. We were young and shocked. Rather quickly she found an abortion doctor. This was before Roe versus Wade.

It was illegal.

I, however, was troubled and nixed it.

We married, and my life sailed in a direction it would have not sailed otherwise. I still feel the effects.

An unexpected pregnancy for young people is like a 10-ton boulder rolling down the mountain straight at you.

You can dodge it with an abortion. Or you can stand still, wide-eyed, and see what happens.

I support abortion rights when done early, and the fetus is just a nub. Where it gets troubling is when it’s done later and the fetus is a formed child.

Early, yes. Late, no. If you drag your feet making a decision, tough luck. Be decisive.

There’s lots of hubbub about Planned Parenthood, which is an abortion provider, and nothing more. Its supporters say it’s about women’s health. That’s baloney.

A reporter recently phoned Planned Parenthood facilities in various states to ask what prenatal services were provided. The answers were all the same. No prenatal services offered.

Planned Parenthood is an abortion mill, period. And given the strong emotions on the subject in many quarters, it should not be receiving taxpayer money.

Let the customers pay.

If you get pregnant unexpectedly, decide what you want to do with no dilly-dallying, and make an appointment with a doctor who provides the service. It’s legal.

Don’t wait five months and do it. It’s grisly.

Numerous undercover investigations have been done into Planned Parenthood, and what’s been discovered is quite disturbing. You’ll never see these reports in the socialist media like Huffpost, Mother Jones and The New York Times.

Abortion should stay legal for early stage. Illegal in the late stage.* To outlaw it altogether will just return us to the days of blood-soaked butchery in back alleys.

Outlawing all abortions is like outlawing drug use. It just creates worse problems. Use common sense.

* * * *

* Being an anti-government guy, I find even this troubling.

(Note: Later in my first marriage, we had another child, another accident. Ian Lee was born prematurely and with two club feet. He died three days later. After that, I got a vasectomy. I was 24 and out of the procreation game. My daughter recently turned 51 and lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband. She is thick as thieves with her mother and has little to do with me. Irony.)

Elbows and shins

LET’S LOOK at illegal entry into the United States. Leftists, those marvelous language-twisters, have melded illegal entry-invasion with the broader, milder topic of immigration.

They label this stew of issues with one word: immigration. Yes, that is correct. The U.S. legal system by which foreigners apply for and — if they are fortunate — receive visas, and the issue of criminally tunneling or climbing fences into America is one and the same. No real difference, ya  know.

Leftists’ intentional combining of the different issues does this: It smears those of us who favor law and order, a positive thing, with the stench of xenophobia, a negative thing.

errorLeftist command of language is remarkable, and conservatives’ lack of such is lamentable. Leftists are so skilled that they’ve donned the lovely cloaks of “liberal” and “progressive.”

There are basically two groups who favor open borders: (1) Confused Christians and (2) Flower Children.

Sometimes a person is both.

Christians cite the need to care for the unfortunate. South of the Rio Bravo and, especially, south of Mexico, there is a multitude of unfortunates. The confused Christians favor letting as many as possible move to the United States.

It’s the Way of Jesus. Glory, hallelujah!

This is admirable, dreamy-eyed, and absolutely unworkable. America cannot support all the world’s unfortunates, or even a sizable percentage of them.

Like Marxism itself, it’s a beautiful notion — a pipe dream — that’s totally unrealistic, undoable.

Flower Children: This category is far broader than actual Flower Children left over from the 1960s. It includes everyone who hums Kumbaya and lacks reasoning skills.

These folks invariably support the Democrat Party.

The distinct issues of legal immigration vs. illegal sneaking across the border should never been confused. If you support the former and oppose the latter, speak out when leftists maliciously accuse you of being anti-immigration.

Immigration is a far cry from the graver problem of a nation that picks which of its own laws to obey, something we see from the Oval Office down to sanctuary cities.

When you hear people pretending that they are one and the same, give them your elbow. Then haul back and kick them in the shins. You’ll feel so much better for it.

Don’t remain quiet.

It’s criminality that conservatives oppose, not immigration.