The age of dust

WE ARE IN The Age of Dust. It lasts, more or less, two months, April and May. There is also the Age of Rain, the Age of Freeze and the Age of Loveliness.

That last one runs from November until late December. It is the Age of Loveliness because it has stopped raining; it is not freezing, and there is no dust to speak of.

It is neither hot nor cold. Our world is green, and the sky is blue. It is like that little bear’s porridge, just right.

The Age of Dust rivals the Age of Freeze as the worst of the year, but even those two Ages are pretty swell because this mountaintop is a wonderful place to live.

April also brings our wedding anniversary, 14 years now. Of my three marriages, this has been the longest even though I lived with my second wife for 19 years.

We were married just the final 10.

My Mexican child bride and I had known each other just under six months when we wed in the interior courtyard of her sister’s home on the main plaza.

We did not know each other very well, in large part due to the language barrier. My Spanish was still marginal, and her English was nonexistent.

But we took quite a shine to one another, and 14 years later it’s turned out just fine. I’d do it all over again.

Here’s a photo from the evening in question:

wedding

It was a low-budget affair. We didn’t even hire a photographer. A friend took pictures that were mostly useless.  A professional wouldn’t have that mystery hand in the photo.

There were about 30 guests. There was dancing, pozole and music, part of which was provided by this fellow:

We were married in the Age of Dust, and one day we will be dust, the both of us, likely me first, of course.

But it’s been a spectacular time. If you marry often enough, eventually you get it right. Dust doesn’t matter.

Memory Lane

WELL, THAT’S enough about you. Let’s focus on everyone’s favorite topic: Numero Uno, themselves.

Here are four of my favorite photos of my own true self. Sure, some have been posted here before. So what? When one focuses on oneself, overdoing is not an issue.

I was young once, but I’m not anymore. I like to look back and think, Gee, is that me?  And it always is.

My life up to this point has been a bit more varied than most. I did not choose that road. It just happened. Some was fun. Some was decidedly not. Booze played a role for a long spell.

But I’ve been a teetotaler now for 16 years, and I’m having an even better time than before. What does that tell you?

With no further ado:

OneSitting in a San Francisco streetcar in 1963. I was 19 and in the Air Force.

I had dropped out of Vanderbilt University about a year earlier — women troubles — and enlisted. Women have long been a curse for me.

It was only when I latched onto a Mexican woman late in life that the curse was cracked at last. Heed this, young men.

twoFlash forward about 15 years, and here I am sitting in a Cessna 172 in New Orleans. The cap was a gag item. I used to fly small planes.

I never mixed booze with planes because I am not totally stupid. I did, however, mix booze with motorcycles on a regular basis, indicating I am somewhat stupid.

Roundabouts the same year, someone took the next photo, likely my second wife. That’s my daughter on the back.

She’s cute, and considerably older now. Pushing 50.

fourOver the last couple of years, I’ve developed a real hankering to buy another motorcycle. I’m not going to,  however, for a number of reasons. My bones won’t mend so easily, and Mexican roads are full of potholes and maniacs.

The previous photos are in time sequence, but we’ll have to back up a bit — about five years — for the following.

threeI love this shot. I’ve even used it as an avatar online.

Note the cigarette and, if you’re sharp, the apron. I like to cook, or I used to. Now I just prefer to be served.

And I used to smoke — cigarettes, cigars, pipes — but I stopped that stupidity about 25 years ago.

The photo was snapped by my Argentine girlfriend atop our penthouse apartment in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Now I’m 71 with a child bride. And feeling fine.

And that ends today’s stroll down Memory Lane. Feel free to post your own old photos in the comments.

Mardi Gras days

Carnival

CONTINUING THE old-photo theme I started Friday, we have here a shot from early 1966. That is me with my first wife, who went by the name of Ginger in those times, but not anymore.

She was, as the baggy blouse indicates, in a family way.

I was, as the beads draped around my head and neck and the Dixie beer can in my grip indicate, in an inebriated way. However, my fondness for booze did not really start till five years later.

We are standing outside a rooming house on St. Charles Avenue in Uptown New Orleans on Mardi Gras. A parade was passing in the street, which is how I caught those beads. I was 21, and she was 20.

This first marriage — for both of us — lasted a bit over five years. Ginger later married a more appropriate fellow, a great guy, and they’ve been together for decades. She had two more children. She’s now a therapist in New Orleans and, from what little I know, doing well.

The anniversary

patios

I’VE HAD THREE wives, and yesterday the third and best helped me celebrate our 13th anniversary, which is far longer than I was hitched to the previous two brides, though I actually lived with No. 2 for more time — 19 years — and I’m now striving to crack that record.

To mark the occasion, we had a nice lunch downtown, walked around our 500-year-old Colonial burg, then took a ride out in the countryside. Here are some highlights from the day.

The top shot is self-explanatory. That’s the sort of town in which we live. It’s old.

Then we hopped into the Honda, heading to the countryside. On the outskirts of town, we spotted this ice cream parlor, which is not too far from where we live. It’s a fairly recent addition to the neighborhood. What’s a celebration without ice cream? We stopped and ordered.

nieve

Sitting at an outdoor table by the highway and railroad track, we enjoyed the lovely day. The sky was blue, the air was cool, the company was spectacular, and the ice cream was good.

cupsMine was not actually ice cream. It was lemon ice. My child bride ordered that dark stuff that looks like crap in a cup, but she liked it.

After that, we took a trip along a little-traveled route abutting our high-mountain lake. I should have taken another photo because it’s a spectacular ride, but I didn’t.

Then we came home. We’re not big party people. Thirteenth anniversary has a certain ominous ring to it, which is why some hotels skip the 13th floor. But when you think about it a moment, you realize that the 13th anniversary actually marks the end of the 13th year and the beginning of the 14th. If there was cause for concern, it was a year ago.

ship

Yesterday evening, like most all evenings, we watched a movie on Netflix, supped on a nice salad and went to bed around 11ish. Passing through the living room, I saw this sailing ship that sits on a table. It’s a symbol of my continuing voyage to God knows where.