Border wall

This is today, April 5, 2017.

I AM BIG on border walls. We have one here at the Hacienda. It separates us from the sex motel next door.

Walls create happy neighbors.

Stepping out to the terraza this morning — it was 48 degrees! — I snapped this photo to illustrate the difference between the two worlds of Hacienda and, well, you know.

When the motel was constructed almost a decade ago, I had this section of wall raised about a foot so folks in the motel rooms could not peer directly into our yard.

But we still can peer directly into their rooms.

You’re also looking at our two border guards, which are yuge!* The nopal and the bougainvillea, both of which I planted when they were little pups out of pots.

The sex motel manager recently asked if I would mind if they cut the bougainvillea on their side of the wall. I cannot imagine why they would want to do that. It’s quite pretty.

I replied yes. What they do on their side of the wall is their own business, not mine.

What I am particularly pleased about this morning is the temperature of 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

It makes me happy to be alive.

That and other factors too, of course. Like the V-formation of white egrets that just flew overhead.

* * * *

* Tip of the sombrero to the Blond Bomber in the Oval Office for adding this spelling variation to the language.

The Middle Ages

AROUND  6 P.M. yesterday, I was watering the yard with a hose. Six months a year, this is not necessary. The other six months, it surely is. Just plants. I don’t water the grass.

If grass grows, it needs mowing.

I started with the Alamo Wall, spraying the ivy that covers the far side. Had you told me when I was middle-aged that I would spend my waning years behind an ivy-covered wall, I would have thought you daft or worse.

I went on to water things on the wall’s other side, where the yard sits. I only water plants I like. I do not like the loquat tree or the peach either. Not too fond of the pear.

They are trash-tossers.

I do water the sole remaining banana stand, the four rose bushes and the two daturas. I water the towering nopal cactus because I don’t want it to die and thunder down.

I do not water the huge maguey, but I do soak the two beefy aloe veras and the surrounding greenery. I douse the pole cacti, which are over my head now.

I water no bougainvillea. Damn things are on their own.

While watering I was thinking about history.

I have a bachelor’s degree in history. There are few degrees more useless than history. I almost topped myself, however, because when I first attended a university right out of high school, I majored in philosophy.

That was at Vanderbilt in 1962. But I soon dropped out and dropped philosophy too. What was I thinking?

I read lots of history these days. Recently, I’ve been focusing on the Middle Ages, the Dark Ages, but it’s unfashionable to say that now. Maybe it’s a race thing.

There was lots of fun stuff in the Middle Ages. There was Charlemagne; his daddy, Pepin the Short; Vikings; Dual Papacies; tribes with names like Lombards, Franks and Jutes; and women named Gerberga and Himiltrude.

Nobody is named Himiltrude anymore.

lady
Gerberga

About a thousand years passed between the Roman Empire’s demise and the Renaissance. That time in between was the Dark Ages. We’re about 200 years shy of another millennium passing.

We’ll enter another Dark Age because people never learn. When baby girls once more have names like Gerberga and Himiltrude, you’ll know it’s time to dig caves and stockpile canned goods and hand grenades.

In the meantime, I wake every morning in the king bed next to my child bride, feeling fine and looking ahead to another day of blue skies, cool breezes and flocks of snowy egrets flying between here and the green mountains.

My Middle Ages were Dark Ages, but now my Old Age is a Grand Age even though I gotta water the yard.

Out to dry

sheets
Usually there are far more blankets, pillows and pillowcases out there.

I LIVE NEXT to a sex motel. It’s not as bad as you might think. Actually, it’s great because it functions as 24-hour security.

The motel has just eight rooms. They sit above their individual carports with outer curtains so Nosy Parkers can’t even spot the vehicles. Gossip, you know.

It’s a pretty snazzy joint. Late in the construction almost 10 years ago, we crept into one of the rooms for a peek. The rearmost room even has a jacuzzi.

Here’s something odd though. At the back of the mostly two-story building is a third story, the laundry room. There are a number of washers, and an indoor clothesline.

But no dryers.

The clothesline is, by necessity, rather short. The sheets are dried there, but the blankets are not. They are spread out on the roof to air-dry, and air there is a’plenty.

Blankets are blown about quite a bit on the rain-stained roof. Pillows are out there too. You can spot one by a skylight.

This does not seem sanitary. I wonder if they sweep before tossing out blankets, pillowcases and pillows.

I also wonder why they didn’t install a lengthy clothesline on the roof. Maybe the owner thought it would look cheesy. Wouldn’t want a sex motel to look cheesy.

The human shadow you see is your photojournalist himself. The two tall shadows are the Hacienda chimneys. The Hacienda sits higher than the sex motel.

And the skinny shadow to the right is my WiFi antenna.

While up there, I snapped the photo below in the other direction. That’s how the area looked from the roof Friday morning. It was 42 degrees, blue skies and breezy.

vista

If you click on the bottom shot, click again to enlarge it, you’ll spot a V-formation of white egrets at the top left.