TODAY IS Mexico’s Independence Day. We tossed off the shackles of Spanish colonialism almost two centuries ago.
I can’t say that really improved things, but it’s always best to steer your own wagon, no matter how crookedly.
My child bride likes to don traditional attire to mark the occasion. At left is a photo I took this morning. She hand-stitched the apron, but it’s not quite finished.
She’s been working on it, off and on, for years.
Downtown is closed off today. There’s a parade in the morning, and mobs of people mill around doing their celebratory thing with food, finery and folks on horses.
Beer and tequila too. Gallons of it.
At left is a photo I took eight or 10 years ago in the same spot. Note how well she ages.
She doesn’t normally wear pigtails, but it’s the customary hairdo of the indigenous women of our area.
The color photo is my child bride when she was an actual child. She’s standing on the roof of a building owned by a relative here. She had help from her mother to get dressed on that occasion, but today she did it all by herself.
WE ATE WARM biscuits and honey for First Breakfast* today instead of our usual options of croissants and orange marmalade or bagels with Philly cheese Lite.
At quarter till 9, I jumped into the Honda and headed downtown to the post office, a biweekly trip, to check my box, a service I’ve had for 19 years.
I rarely find anything there anymore, which is why I rarely check it. It has to be checked though. Recently, a threatening letter from the IRS** lurked in there longer than it should. But usually, nothing is there, which is how I like it.
These early morning drives to the post office are fun. Traffic is light, and I see things I don’t see in the late afternoons, which is when I’m normally downtown.
An old Mexican town waking up.
Up until about five years ago, I checked my box on any afternoon. It was easy to drive down Calle Obregon and park near the post office. But then City Hall was moved from the main plaza where, I imagine, it had sat for centuries to the same block as the post office. The block became way more congested and nearby parking is impossible weekdays.
So now it’s early every other Saturday morning.
I park at a nearby corner on Calle Carrillo Cárdenas.
I read a local internet forum aimed at Gringos. There are always things to chuckle at there. Most participants seem to embrace the notion that the Mexican postal system does not work, which it does. People are often asking if someone is headed to the border and if it would be possible to take a letter or package to mail in the United States.
Mexican mail works fine. It’s just slow, and if you’re in a rush, it has an express service, which costs a good bit more, and there is registered mail too. You can track both express and registered items to their destinations above the border via the internet.
Not only does the Mexican mail work, so does the healthcare system, another issue that provides me laughter because, as they don’t trust the mail, the Gringos don’t trust the healthcare system either and if it’s anything more than a routine doctor visit, they often flee above the border for “real” healthcare.
Okay, many do it for “free” Medicare, I admit, but even major issues can be addressed here at a minuscule fraction of the ripoff prices above the border. And, more importantly, healthcare here is nicer and more personal.
There was nothing in my post office box this morning except a routine advisory that my pension from the Hearst Corp. had again been sent electronically to my Mexican bank. It’s a waste of postage on Hearst’s part, but they send it anyway.
At least there was nothing dire from the IRS.
* * * *
* Second Breakfast arrives at 11 a.m. Lunch at 2 p.m., and supper at 8 p.m.
** I phoned the Internal Revenue Service and discovered the problem was their error, not mine, and all was ironed out peacefully.
TWICE IN THE past week, I’ve noticed a feel of fall, which is odd because it’s cool here most of the time. But this feel was different. It felt like fall, which is still more than a week away.
During the 15-plus years I lived in Houston, the arrival of fall was a huge deal because summer was such a misery, weather-wise. The arrival of fall here is less notable, but it’s sweet to feel it anyway. At times, some of our leaves actually change color. Not spectacularly like they do in Atlanta, but it’s a nice touch.
In Houston, the arrival of autumn almost invariably happened on the 21st to 23rd of September, a very narrow time span. I defined the debut of fall, officially or not, as the arrival of the first front that dropped the temp to 59 or less.
It did not matter if the temperature rose above 60 later in the day or even to 70, the mere fact that it hit the 50s at dawn was good enough for me. It was exhilarating.
Autumn of the year takes on an additional significance for those in the fall of their lives, and even more so for those of us in chill winter with snow-white heads.
Time moves on and, with luck, we’re still around in springtime.