News of the day

Photo from seven years back, standing in the kitchen one evening.

This photo sat hidden on my computer. I’m sharing it with you. It’s a chilly morning today. On Friday it snowed in Chihuahua, way north of here, and this morning there were weird, front-type clouds in our sky. Winter is on the way.

Winter is always a challenge due to the Hacienda’s lack of adequate heating, so we bundle up. It won’t be long before I don my thermal underwear which I will keep on till Springtime. Perhaps we’ll light the fireplaces on occasion, but we rarely do that. I still have lots of firewood that I brought here 17 years ago from our previous home.

We rely more on portable gas heaters, two downstairs and one upstairs.

Mostly, we just bundle up with extra layers.


The trains are running again

After a lengthy, silent lapse, railroading continues down the tracks just a block away, providing us night music of a rumbling nature.

One or more of the teacher unions, in cahoots with ever-radical “student teachers,” had the tracks, which are a major commercial link to the port of Lázaro Cárdenas on the Pacific coast, barricaded for two months to protest some nonsense or other.

The government stood idly by, as it always does if possible, till commercial interests finally forced action, and the government came to some agreement with the trouble-makers and the tracks were cleared. Among the common demands of “student teachers” and their union cronies is guaranteed employment after graduation. That’s right, guaranteed.


Elections coming up

Mexico has elections next year, not a presidential vote though so many of us would love to get rid of our demagogic doofus, but we’re stuck with him for another four years. No, the elections are lower ones, especially congressional spots.

The three traditional and long-running parties, the leftist PRD, the rightist PAN and the whatever-works PRI, are joining in an odd alliance to support common candidates against Morena, the party of the presidential clown. I wish them luck.

Morena is a new party formed by the doofus when no other party would have him.

In Mexico, people must have laminated IDs to vote, and you have to prove citizenship to get one. And you can’t (insert laugh track) mail it in. You go to the polling place and stand in line. The United States could learn a thing or two from us.

Speaking of elections and mail-in votes, I leave you with the following:

No-show from Santa

firespot

THIS IS OUR upstairs fireplace, a photo I shot just this morning.

There were no footprints in the ashes, so it appears Santa did not come in through this route. There is also a fireplace downstairs, a larger one that would be more appropriate for fat Santa but again, no footprints in the ashes.

I woke up this morning, leaped out of bed and ran into the living room to see what I had scored, but there was nothing waiting in spite of my having been a good boy all year.

I spent last night alone after transporting my child bride to the nearby state capital yesterday afternoon where she hoopla’ed late into the night with a gang of her relatives, a Mexican family requirement on Christmas Eve.

This after she had just returned the previous day from Guanajuato, again with a gang of her relatives. They were there three days while I cooled my heels at the Hacienda overseeing the painter who will return tomorrow, by the way.

Well, anyway, I rushed into the living room this morning and found squat in the way of gifts. I had asked for an AR-15, a bazooka and a Trump T-shirt.

Perhaps the fact there is neither Christmas tree nor stockings hung on the chimney with care had something to do with Santa’s ill-spirited no-show.

Maybe I should have put out cookies and milk. Or whiskey and steak.

Could it be that Santa does not like Mexicans?

I’ve learned my lesson. Next year I’m not going to be a good boy.

The arch at night

arch

HEADING TO bed the other night, I turned around and saw this, and it occurred to me that I’d never taken a straight-on shot of the arch.

The camera was sitting on a table by the front door just off to the left, so I grabbed it, set it on flash, and shot this picture. I almost never use the flash, but it was necessary.

I was standing in near-total darkness.

Those two large plates hanging on either side of the arch were purchased years apart. The one on the left we bought about a decade ago during a trip to Taxco. The one on the right we bought more recently in Ajijic, Jalisco.

Ajijic, like San Miguel de Allende, is one of the most beloved spots for Gringos who want to live down here, do “art,” and not have to be bothered with learning pesky Spanish.

See those two carved-wood columns at the bases of the arch? That was my child bride’s idea. She came up with some doozies during the Hacienda construction.

About a week after moving into the house in 2003, we had a party to show it off to people we knew here. It was back before I turned into an almost complete hermit.

One of our invitees brought someone visiting from above the Rio Bravo. He was an architect, and he told me that finding someone in the United States who could build that arch would be almost impossible these days.

The old guy who built ours, Don Felipe Gonzalez, did it by hand, and it was interesting to watch the work. He was the boss of the three-man construction crew. Don Felipe turned 70 during the construction, and he’s since died.

He also chipped stone blocks out of rock piles to build the two fireplaces and, later, the Alamo Wall out in the yard. He did them by himself. Don Felipe was an artist.

When we hired him to build the Hacienda, he was 69 and just recovering from a lengthy illness of some sort. He was having trouble finding work due to his age.

Ageism, sexism, almost all the isms, thrive in Mexico.

People thought he was not up to it. He was recommended by a relative, and Don Felipe gave us an exceptionally low price for the labor. We jumped at it.

He’s long gone, but I think of his talent almost daily as I wander around here, even late at night before beddy-bye.