About milk

THE BEST thing about being in the Air Force was the endless supply of milk. If there had been an equal supply of green grapes or flan, I likely would have been a lifer, a career man.

milkThe Air Force mess halls always had big stainless-steel contraptions where you only had to lift a handle and milk came out. It was like a cow or a new human mother. And I did love milk.

My mama, when I was a youngster, always complained about the quantity of milk I consumed, and once I made myself sick by eating green grapes. But the Air Force never held back on the milk supply and for that — if little else — I loved it. If only there had been grapes or flan.

There was no flan in my childhood. That came later.

When I arrived in Mexico, the milk situation surprised me. Though you can find chilled milk in cartons in the supermarket coolers, just like above the Rio Bravo, almost no one purchases it that way. It’s a specialty item. Customers buy milk off the regular shelves where it sits unchilled in sealed cartons.

The first time I spotted this, I thought: Yuck! But since this is by far the most common way to buy milk in Mexico, I bought it. I keep two in the fridge and the others on the kitchen shelf. After you chill it, it tastes just as it should.

I drink far less milk these days because Mexicans don’t drink much milk, even kids. My wife, my other new relatives, would look at me and giggle when I poured a glass of milk to accompany, say, a lunch. But it wasn’t the giggles so much as it was that the environment is different.

Nowadays, I drink milk with cereal and the occasional pastry at night, but normally I drink water. I still love a good mound of green grapes, however. They’ll never convince me otherwise.

And there’s less good flan here than you might think.

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(Note: I was a grunt in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1960s.)

Nights with grapes

I just measured my blood pressure and pulse: 101/60, and pulse of 69, which is a good score for the old goat that I am. Probably better than yours.

I have one of those electronic gizmos that you strap around your wrist to measure pressure and pulse. I bought it in the late ’90s to use when I ingested ecstasy, which I did five or six times. Ecstasy is like amphetamines. It increases your pulse, a lot.

Here’s what I did, and I always did it alone. I would have liked company, but none worthwhile was available at that time. I was flying solo. At night I would set the stage, putting out a big bowl of green grapes and a pitcher of water in the living room.

grapesEcstasy dehydrates you, so one must take care. I took care with grapes and water, and during the 3- to 4-hour flying time I would also measure my pulse and blood pressure.

You do not lose your mind with ecstasy as you certainly can, temporarily, with LSD, psilocybin, peyote, etc. You remain aware of the world around you, which is why you can safely do it alone.

Take it from ole Felipe: Don’t do those other products alone.

It would be dark, and I would light candles. Not eating for about five hours in advance is advisable. I would put disks on the music machine, usually starting out with Deuter’s Land of Enchantment. It’s good to be enchanted.

Somewhere during the evening I would play Kitaro’s Light of the Spirit, which is one of my favorite tunes of all time. Music is a major factor when taking any mind-altering substance. Light of the Spirit, combined with ecstasy, will knock your socks off.

Having set the stage with green seedless grapes, pitcher of water, blood-pressure device, lit candles, I would take 125 mg of powder, sit on the sofa, cross my legs and wait until it came, and it would always come, and I loved it. You get a feel for God.

I have not had a Night with Grapes since the late 1990s, and I never will again.

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(Kitaro’s Light of the Spirit.)