We do not live alone

Shot this morning. Lovely day.

For years I’ve given the impression that there’s just the two of us living here, but that is false. We share the Hacienda with crickets much of the year.

Like most Mexican homes, the Hacienda is full of little spaces through which they enter, and they prefer to hole up in the kitchen, which is good because they sing at night — and it’s not opera or even Bo Diddley — and the kitchen is as far away from the bedroom as you can get.

Behind the refrigerator is a favored spot. Sometimes when I enter the kitchen at dawn I will find one in the sink. I imagine he was thirsty. For years I just trapped them and tossed them into the yard, but now I smash them and toss them into the trash.

On rare occasion, a cricket will grow bold and exploratory, and there’s only one direction for that, toward the living room and, even farther, toward the bedroom where their night yodeling is not permitted. They are hunted down and slain.

Better crickets than mice, and we’ve never seen a mouse. Occasionally, we spot rats in the yard, and there are holes out there that look suspiciously like rat tunnels. At times, I toss poison down there, but I’ve never seen a corpse. If we ever see a rat in the house, or perhaps even a mouse, my child bride will immediately move to the Downtown Casita.

But the crickets aren’t so bad if they stay on their side of the house where they belong.

Pile of broken flower pots and excess roof tiles sit in the Garden Patio today.

Music and whiskey

TWO HOURS after shooting the video above from the upstairs terraza, I was sitting on the Jesus Patio eating seedless green grapes and listening to the hog next door expressing displeasure with her situation, which she does often.

This is being written yesterday, Saturday. The previous night had seen a heavy downpour that lasted I don’t know how long because I went back to sleep after waking briefly to notice it.

Some things don’t change much in these parts, and the sounds of sunrise are one of those things. Roosters, tractor-trailer trucks on the highway up the mountain behind us, crickets, the loudspeakers of the house-delivery propane trucks.

However, some things do change, and they’re generally for the better. We got some great news recently. An international chain of movie theaters, Cinépolis, is opening here in our mountaintop town. Hooray! Now we won’t have to drive to the state capital for first-run flicks.

The changes that have occurred over the past 17 years that I’ve been here are considerable. There were no major supermarkets. Now there are two. There were no stoplights. Now there are many. There were few Gringos. Now there are way too many!

I wonder how they’ll react to the Cinépolis chain. Over a decade ago, the Mexican convenience store chain Oxxo opened its first store here, and the Gringos, many of whom are aging hippies, went bananas. Egad! Modernization!

We have numerous Oxxos now, including one directly on the major plaza. Another sits on the nearby smaller plaza. Their signs are subdued, not intrusive.

I’m praying for a full-blown Walmart and Costco.

Convenient shopping is a good thing, and it does not detract from the morning views I get from the upstairs terraza, something I love and that never changes.

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An old friend emailed me this week. I rarely hear from people above the border, so it was a welcomed event.

He and I worked together on newspapers for decades both in New Orleans and Houston. Like me, he is divorced more than once. Unlike me, he is not currently married. He’s three years older than I am, and he lives alone in a home he bought in Colorado after he retired from the Houston Chronicle.

I had sent him a note after seeing him briefly on a Netflix documentary of Janis Joplin who was a close friend of his in high school in Port Arthur, Texas, and later in her early years of fame and drug-addled degeneracy.

My friend is a much-published poet, but not in recent years. He said his life now is mostly whiskey and music. And that all his major life decisions were wrong ones. That last resonated with me because all my major decisions were wrong ones too. Till 1996 when my major life decisions did a 180.

What happened in 1996? I stopped drinking. My friend is 76 years old, and I doubt he will do that.

I didn’t even mention it.

Here’s to music and whiskey! And staying the course.

Time of crickets

New Image2
Rainy season makes plants go wild.

WHEN THE rains come, the crickets decide to move into the Hacienda uninvited. It’s an annual event.

They have a cat attitude toward water.

Their being inside wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t also love to croon, and they croon quite loudly.

The good thing is that the kitchen is their preferred location, and it’s a good distance from the bedroom. And they sing only when the lights are out at night.

But sometimes an adventurer will go exploring. He will hop into the living room, much closer to the bedroom. The adventurers are also singers, so something must be done.

When one heads out from the many hidey-holes available in the kitchen to the wide open spaces of the living room, he’s easier to spot and catch. I toss them back outdoors.

How do they get inside in the first place? you might wonder. Easy because Mexican home construction offers a plethora of pathways. One wonders why even more wildlife doesn’t live with us inside. So far, not one mouse.

That would send my wife over the brink.

Another phenomenon of the rainy season is teeny-tiny bugs the size of pinheads that appear on the ceiling of the downstairs bathroom. They  fall to the counter where we pick them up and toss them down the sink drain. That’s it.

Those guys haven’t appeared this year, and some years they do not appear at all. It’s a mystery.

New ImageNever a dull moment.

A hot-air balloon festival arrives this weekend, and since our local airport — a grassy strip — is quite near the Hacienda,  they’ll be floating over us, which is lovely.

I took a hot-air balloon ride early one morning in Houston years ago, and I did it with a beautiful woman, which is the best way to be in a big straw basket, floating, as the sun rises.

On bed, looped

soused

THIS PHOTO appeared in my mind this morning, lying in bed before dawn listening to distant howls from glue-sniffers (that or something similar), a common occurrence on weekend nights here in the barrio.

I am atop another bed,* one I inherited from my maternal grandmother, in New Orleans about 1978. By the look on my face and the glass in my hand, I detect that I was five sheets to the wind, as I often was in those distant days when not at my duty station at the newspaper, and sometimes even then.

I am (Good Lord!) sporting polyester shorts, and I weigh about 225 pounds, the heaviest of my life. But, as you can see, I am not really fat. I am simply very big. I don’t know how I pulled that off. And the shirt is a baby-blue guayabera I had purchased in Puerto Rico a couple of years earlier.

Now I weigh 170 tops, am a teetotaler, own no polyester or guayabera, and there is not a black hair on my head. It all went silver like the Lone Ranger’s horse. Colors change. Lots of things change.

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* I used to go to sleep as a child on that very bed next to an open window in rural Georgia, listening to crickets singing in the nearby grass under Southern moonlight.