Sweet potato girl


ANY OF THE three words in the headline puts me at risk of being labeled a Mexican Harvey Weinstein, but I don’t care.

The Day of the Dead festivities are getting under way here on the mountaintop. A canvas roof supported by steel posts is being erected around the main plaza.

The only “Dead” items on sale as of Thursday were sugar skulls, which are always the first things to appear. I could have photographed them, but everyone does that, so I opted instead for the girl selling sweet potatoes.

I like sweet potatoes.

By this weekend, the entire plaza will be chockablock with goodies of all descriptions, some having to do with The Day of the Dead, but most will be varied artesanías (handicrafts) from our area and farther afield in Mexico.

The event is well organized, which is more than you could say when I arrived here in 2000. It was a mess. There was no canvas roof around the plaza, and much of the stuff on sale was the sort of crap you’d find at a five-and-dime in Omaha.

We’ve upped our game in a good way. You can buy some really beautiful things now to take back to wherever you came from, and lots of people come. Traffic gets nasty.

But you can eat sweet potatoes.

Muffins, apples, rain, death


AWAKENING AFTER an overly rainy day brings many new things, some related to the rain, some not.

1. Fallen apples.  The gumpy neighbors next door have an apple tree that abuts our property wall. It is common for the mentally challenged to plant little things in inappropriate places, not thinking years down the line. And then tall trees grow from small saplings. They outgrow their diapers. The tree now provides two things: apples that often fall on our side and a night roost for their chickens to cackle at us in the mornings.

The apples are nice, and the chickens are, well, poultry. Yesterday’s rain knocked down lots of apples!

2. Dead datura.  I occasionally post photos of our glorious golden datura, and it is glorious indeed for a spell. Then it dies … or is knocked down by heavy rain. This morning I picked up 50-60 datura blooms from the soggy ground. The Lord giveth and She taketh back too. Or rather, She smotes down. Watch out for Her!

3. Dead cat.  At 9 a.m. I drove to the downtown casita to let the maid in for the occasional cleaning. Just across the cobblestone street in a patch of grass was a dead Siamese cat. Her eyes were open, but she was a goner. This has nothing to do with the rain, I guess, but dead cats are not what you want to see when the maid arrives.

4. Muffins.  This too has squat to do with rain or apples or dead datura or stone-cold cats, but I include it here anyway because it is delicious, a positive life thing, which we need at this moment. Those are sweet tater and cinnamon muffins up there, which my child bride has added to her Saturday offerings on the plaza.

The intricate tapestry of life.

Those of you who live far away don’t know what you are missing.