As a youngster, I often spent summer weeks at the farm home of my grandmother in southwest Georgia. It would only be the two of us, separated by long decades of life. We slept in the same bedroom on two spindle beds head to head just by an open window that faced the yard, the passing dirt road and, beyond that, a pasture that sloped down to a tree-lined creek a quarter of a mile away, more or less.
There was no air-conditioning, so we depended on the incoming breeze. We would talk a while before dozing away somewhere or another.
Often there were fireflies in the yard.
Decades later, long after my grandmother’s death, I slept on that same spindle bed in Houston. I do not remember how it got from Georgia to Texas, but it did and, after the divorce from my second wife, she sold the bed for some reason known only to her.
The first place I lived after being tossed unceremoniously out into the cold, unloving world, was a small apartment in a downtown Houston high-rise. I left the spindle bed behind and chose instead to use this bed that I had painted.
A happy bed for a sad time.
The bed of many colors was a double, what we call a matrimonial in Mexico. While they are fairly common below the Rio Bravo, they are far less so up north. That was true even back then in the 1990s.
I left the small apartment after a few months, moving to a much larger place where I still slept in the bed of many colors. And after a year I moved into yet another apartment, and that was when I moved up to a queen bed, leaving the bed of many colors somewhere I do not now remember, but I do know that my daughter has it today in North Georgia unless she got rid of it too. Women do odd stuff.
Queen beds are more spacious than doubles, of course, and I enjoyed the extra room even though I rarely slept with company in that last Texas bed.
On arriving in Mexico, I spent seven months in the capital city in two very different beds. First was a lumpy twin in a room above a garage. The slats collapsed regularly, dumping me onto the floor. Then I moved into a sparsely furnished house that had a brand-new king, my first king ever. I slept like royalty.
Later, on moving to the mountaintop, I bought a double for the rental in which I lived alone for one and a half years. After marrying and moving into the Hacienda, I was back in a queen with my bride. Then, a few years later, we moved up in life and bought a king. That’s the situation today, but overnight guests sleep in the queen that now sits upstairs.
I suspect I’ll die in this king unless I’ve been hauled off to a hospital. I hope not.
My mountaintop town debuted a crematory this week. Before now, bodies waiting to be torched had to be transported elsewhere. And here’s a photo, which gives me the ability to see precisely where I will end up, barring unforeseen circumstances like dying elsewhere, which is highly unlikely.
I find this fascinating. The room has the traditional colonial colors of our area, the red below and the white above, and the oven looks like serious business. I hope it’s going to be the final fire I feel after I die, if you get my drift.
The installation also included related services, an area for wakes and other stuff, and the total cost was the peso equivalent of about $220,000 U.S. It is not owned by a funeral home, which I think is the norm above the Rio Bravo. It’s a municipal installation.
This is yet another beautiful example of the directness of Mexican life. How many of you who are planning to be cremated have seen first-hand where it will happen?
I am taller than most Mexicans, but I think I’ll fit nicely in there.
AUGUST DAWNED chill and gray. I like the chill part.
The first day of any month brings chores. I pay my Megacable bill online. I do my monthly car checks — air, water, oil, etc. And sometimes the first of the month falls atop other chores unconnected to the first of the month. That was the case today because I had to drive downtown early — to avoid heavy traffic — and check my post-office box, which I do every second Saturday. Only one item in the box, which is about par.
Often there is nothing, which I prefer.
I very rarely get mail these days from above the border, and 99.9 percent of the mail in the PO box comes from above the Rio Bravo, invariably pension stuff.
And since it’s Saturday during the rainy season, Abel the Deadpan Yardman came to cut the grass, something he’s doing at this moment as I write to you.
August is the month when the incessant rain becomes obvious in the yard, which gets very beefed up, so to speak, greenery thick and abundant. It looks nice.
We’ll be having beans, rice and sausage for lunch today, and this afternoon we’ll drive to another small burg abutting our lake to look for some religious thing to attach to my mother-in-law’s tombstone in the not-distant town of Taretan.
My child bride and some of her sisters had the tombstone renovated recently because it was in bad shape. She died over half a century ago at the age of 31.