King’s clothing

THIS TIME OF year hereabouts everyone goes nuts for flor de calabaza,  pumpkin flower, or maybe it’s squash in English. Don’t know, don’t care. Irrelevant.

The interesting thing is that the locals go nuts about it. They eat it in every possible form. They crow about it on restaurant menus. The fact that it’s seasonable just boosts the allure.

As you can see, it’s a very pretty flower. That’s my child bride holding a bouquet she bought in the neighborhood plaza this morning while we were doing our exercise walk. She paid 10 pesos, which is about fifty cents U.S.

When flor de calabaza is included in a recipe for whatever and cooked, it loses its beauty entirely, but that does not reduce its popularity one bit.

Today I’m going to reveal something that may get me run out of Mexico. I may have my citizenship revoked. I may receive death threats. Only the Goddess knows, but here goes:

Flor de calabaza has no taste whatsoever. None.

The king is parading in the streets buck naked, and everyone is oooing and ahhing at his raiment. And not only that, as I mention above, when it’s cooked it loses its loveliness.

So what is going on here?

Flor de calabaza is a beautiful flower. And it’s edible. This means its beauty must also make it tasty.

‘Fraid not. So flor de calabaza is merely an idea, a notion, a myth of sorts. I often say Mexican life is like Alice’s Wonderland, and this is a lovely — but tasteless — example.

Don’t tell anyone I wrote this. Por favor.

* * * *

(Note: My child bride admitted a couple of years ago — the first actual Mexican to do so — that flor de calabaza is tasteless. So why did she buy it? To include it in her pastries for the weekly sidewalk sale. Myth sells, amigos.)

Door to October

October’s door is about to open.

Long ago, when I lived above the Rio Bravo, October was my favorite month. In large part because you could count on cooler weather, always a relief in those sweaty Confederate climes that I inhabited.

Likewise, October is good here too but not because it cools off because it doesn’t. It gets cooler in June, if you can believe it, when rain arrives.

October is sweet here because it’s when the rains end, and it stays cool anyway, for the most part. But October is not the best month here on the mountaintop. November is.

doorThat’s the month of perfection, something to keep in mind if you want to visit one day. November is cool, blue, sunny, fresh and green. And the people are smiling.

November holds risk above the Rio Bravo because it can grow cold, very cold. Before my mother died in 2009, we would sometimes go up for Thanksgiving. And occasionally it would be so cold we would be disinclined to take the post-meal walk around the neighborhood.

That was Atlanta. I started the post-meal walk around the neighborhood with my second ex-wife earlier in Houston or maybe it was New Orleans. It’s a good technique to settle a turkey-stuffed tummy.

Both with my second ex-wife and with my mother, Thanksgiving was enjoyed at a hotel buffet. No cooking or dishwashing. There are hotels in both New Orleans and Houston that put on spectacular Thanksgiving buffets.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. No gifts to buy or cards to mail. Just show up on time, and stuff your face. Now that’s what I call living.

Tragically, there is no Thanksgiving in Mexico.

But autumn is here. You can feel it in the air, which remains cool but with a different whisper. The leaves fall off the tall trees in the Plaza Grande, and the light looks new. Children don’t consciously notice, but I do.

October gives one hope.

When I was a working stiff, on newspapers (remember them?), I would place a tiny pumpkin atop my computer monitor on the first day of every October, and it would sit there till Thanksgiving.

A small symbol of the season.