Southern life

Just before 11 p.m. Thursday, we felt movement. We were lying in bed reading our Kindles. It was a 5.2 quake centered about 15 kilometers north of Zihuatanejo on the coast. The ceiling light swayed.

We’ll be spending Anniversary #11 in Zihuatanejo in a jacuzzi suite overlooking the Pacific next week. Better the quake now than then.

We feel the ground move in these parts on occasion, but it’s relatively stable here, more so than in other areas of the country.

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The Las Vegas Motel

Later that same night, about 2 a.m., gunfire erupted. I might have slept through it except for my child bride’s insisting that I share her alarm.

She elbowed me.

It continued almost nonstop for over an hour. There were single shots and lots of short bursts from automatic weapons. It was in the distance.

odds__endsI went back to sleep, but she stayed awake the whole time with her knuckles in her mouth, convinced it was all happening on the street outside and that the melee would pour over the property wall at any moment. It didn’t, of course.

Yesterday morning we learned it was a shootout between cops and crooks at a hot-springs motel about half a mile from here.

The Las Vegas Motel, it’s called, and that’s no joke.

Two cops were winged, we heard later, and that was it. Obviously, they’d encountered The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

This is the kind of thing that gives our nation a bad name. However, it was typical in that it consisted of bad guys and cops shooting at one another. It rarely involves civilians, which is more than you can say for Chicago.

Or New Orleans or Detroit or . . .

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The Arsonist

I‘ve been burning dead leaves in a fire circle on the lawn since last fall. I raked a pile yesterday, and did what I always do. I lit a match to it.

fireAlas, what I neglected to take into proper consideration was that the lawn is brown and crispy, all of it. We are deep into the dry season. You can imagine what came next.

You read about how fast fire travels, but experiencing it first-hand is another matter. I made a dash for a bucket of water, which I sloshed out of a galvanized tub in the Garden Patio out back.

Then I returned for a second bucket.

It was doing no good whatsoever, and the little flames (and they were very little but spectacularly speedy) had blackened an area about 18 feet by 10 feet when a light bulb lit over my snow-white head: the garden hose, dummy.

That I was slogging water buckets like a 19th century pioneer woman instead of simply running in the opposite direction to turn on the hose demonstrates how fast one’s mind can fail in an emergency.

The hose solved the problem quickly, but now we have a huge black area in the yard that looks like a bomb landed. And I feel like a dang fool.

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Plaza stroll

Later yesterday, with visions of earthquakes, shootouts and rampaging fire fading from memory, I purchased a lemon ice on the downtown plaza.

And strolled about, passing lovers on benches and a man sweeping leaves with a palm frond. The sky was blue. The air was cool.

The ash trees were high and majestic. The fountains were full, and the ancient buildings sat where they’ve sat for centuries.