Tag Archives: Virgin Mary

Less than a tithe

This is our neighborhood church. Built, I’m guessing, in the 1500s.

WE USUALLY don’t answer the doorbell because it’s often passing kids goofing around or someone selling something we don’t want. And it’s almost a two-block round trip from inside the house to the front gate and back. That more than anything.

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A Catholic spell

I come from country people who were never anything but Baptists or Methodists that I know of.

In spite of that, I was deposited in a Catholic school for kindergarten and First Grade in Albany, Georgia, about 10,000 years ago. My mother did it because it had the best reputation in town, education-wise.

My sister was sentenced there too. My sister had imagination, however, or maybe it was just childish ignorance. She came home one day and announced that she’d changed the Holy Water, freshened it up with stuff from the tap.

Neither the priest nor the nuns ever noticed, which tells me that Holy Water’s fame is overstated somewhat.

My mother, before enrolling me, made the nuns promise they wouldn’t try to turn me into a Catholic, and they did so promise because, one imagines, our money looked green.

However, one day I came home with the report that, after having misbehaved in some way, I was made to kneel on rice before a painting of the Virgin and beg forgiveness.

Mother took me out of the school at that point, and I left Catholicism forever if you don’t count that my second ex-wife is a recovering Catholic, and Mexico is full of Catholics.

My child bride does not seem to be a Catholic, but the environment rubs off. Her father was an atheist and her evil stepmother, after father died too young, became a Jehovah’s Witness, one of those pests at your front door.

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Speaking of doorbells

As I was saying, we rarely respond to the doorbell here at the Hacienda unless we are expecting someone.

But my child bride was toiling in her pastry workshop the other day when the doorbell rang — it rings both out there and here in the house — and since there was little walking involved, she opened the little speakeasy portal in the steel gate.

Two ladies were there, and they were not pesky Jehovah’s Witnesses, but Catholics on a collecting mission.

You see our neighborhood church up top? It is very old, and it’s in bad condition. We were informed that City Hall has agreed to chip in a percentage for a much-needed restoration, but residents here in our poor barrio have to pony up too.

We were being asked to pony up, so we ponied.

We learned that the amount one is asked to contribute is based on how well-off you look. In our hardscrabble neighborhood, we look quite well-off, so we were asked for 1,000 pesos.

We paid for the sake of architecture.

I think the Vatican should pay for the entire restoration, but it doesn’t seem that Headquarters pays us much mind.

I hope enough money is raised because I like the church. I see it every weekday morning during our exercise walk. I’ve rarely been inside, but I hear singing at times, and I see funerals and weddings there. All part of the tapestry hereabouts.

No sweat

downtown

LIFE INCLUDES worries large and small. With luck, just the small. And with astounding good fortune, even if it lasts only a brief spell, no worries whatsoever. I am in that sweet spot.

So here I sit on a beautiful, large plaza in the middle of Mexico, high in the mountains in cool mid-May, nary a care in the world. An espresso rests on the table while I watch the beautiful women pass, at times glancing at my Kindle, where I am reading, now and then, a good book.

I had small worries earlier this year, constructing the pastry workshop, renovations to the downtown Casita, piddling other things, the stuff of life. But at the moment … nothing.

Peace.

Across the cobblestone street, where the plaza rests, are towering trees and three grand fountains where youngsters sit on ledges to flirt and snap photos of themselves, the ubiquitous selfies.

Small speakers sit low and mostly unseen all around the plaza, releasing music. If you’ve ever wondered how life would seem with a musical backdrop — like in the movies — come sit here on a stone bench or walk the broad sidewalk, and you’ll understand.

A parade passes, or what passes for a parade hereabouts. Usually, it’s a small, out-of-tune band, lots of women and girls in indigenous dress carrying clay pots to indicate their support role in life, and they sashay this way and that down the street. There are men on horseback. Today’s parade includes an old, wooden, two-wheeled cart pulled by a pair of oxen. The cart holds a statue of the Virgin.

They curve right at the next corner and continue toward the smaller plaza, their sounds diminishing. All parades here are pretty much alike — frequent, colorful and out of tune.

I look down at my Kindle and miss a beautiful woman walking by.

Praying place

pray3

MY CHILD BRIDE had a little medical issue a few days back, so we called a new clinic here on the mountaintop and made a same-day appointment, high noon, with an internist.

The doctor arrived about five minutes after we did and, while she was being tended to, I stepped out into the too-small parking area where I noticed the prayer place in the far corner, a chapel.

So, if the doctor can’t help you, perhaps the Virgin Mary can. I mention the Virgin Mary instead of God or Jesus Christ because I often think Mexicans feel far closer to her than the two guys, Father and Son.

I too generally prefer the company of women to men. Actually, at times in my life, women have provided me heavenly moments. Men, never. But let’s not veer off-topic.

As you can see below, there is no pew, no spot to sit at all, so you must speak to the Virgin standing up. If you want to kneel, that ceramic floor is hard, but many Mexicans believe self-abuse of that sort speaks of devotion.

I simply stepped back into the clinic, picked up my wife, and we went home. She’s much better now.

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(Note: Prayer is oración in Spanish, so Oratorio is a place to pray.)

pray