IN THOSE FARAWAY days, when I awoke in the inner suburbs of Houston, Texas, the only thing I ever heard was the occasional woof of the dimwitted dog next door, the one the Baptist pastor owned.
In these present days, when I awake in the hardscrabble outskirts of my mountaintop town, I rarely encounter silence. Sometimes it’s just the chickens next door or a loudspeaker atop a pole in the next block where someone is announcing something totally incomprehensible due to the poor quality of the decrepit loudspeaker.
Perhaps it’s firecrackers and/or a small band on the plaza at dawn or in the street blaring trombones and trumpets to the Virgin Mary. Sometimes it’s a love song from a neighbor’s full-tilt music machine, which can erupt at any hour.
This morning, it was Vicente Fernandez crying in his cerveza over Tu Maldito Amor, your damned love.
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(Only in Mexico might you wander into a rural cantina with sadness in your heart, thirst in your throat, a song on your lips, and there is a 10-piece mariachi band dressed to the nines waiting to give you musical backdrop.)