Dry times ahead?

veranda
Just this very morning.

HERE I SIT on the veranda having just returned from six laps around the neighborhood plaza where, on Thursdays, we always traipse around and through the temporary market that’s erected this day every week.

There are two large fruit-and-veggie stands, used clothing spread atop sheets on the sidewalk, fresh fish — many are still hopping around, wondering where the water went — beans, of course, and ladies selling various foods and munchies. I think what I like best is the vat of oil that fries pigskins.

It’s the smell, which reminds me of my childhood on the Georgia farm.

But the big news of today is that the sky is mostly blue. It did not rain yesterday and, the Goddess willing, it will not rain today … or tomorrow … and so on.

It’s time for the annual rains to halt. I think that would have happened already were it not for the hurricane out in the Pacific. It’s gone ashore now, far north of us, and is petering out, which is what you want hurricanes to do.

It gave us lots of rain and, in the nearby capital city, plenty of street flooding; in some places up to three feet deep. We drove down a street there Tuesday where people had their furniture on the sidewalk drying it out or throwing it away. It reminded me of Houston or New Orleans.

But people in Houston or New Orleans can better bear the financial hit.

But it’s gone now, that storm, and I’m optimistic as we head into the best month of the year here on the mountaintop. November is as good as it gets.

The Day of the Dead is next week, and sugar skulls, etc., are on sale around the plaza downtown. Come visit. Everyone else will be here, it seems.

With a touch of luck, it won’t rain.

Till next June.

Mood piece

JUST CAME in from the morning walk around the plaza, and I’m in a good mood, which is the norm.

It’s common to see people in bad moods. You can see it on their faces. Some are young with their lives ahead of them while I am old and my life is mostly behind me.

No matter. I’m almost always in a good mood. Maybe because it’s too late to worry. That time has passed.

Coming in from my plaza walk, I poured a glass of green juice and sat on a rocker here on the veranda and looked around me. It was so nice I decided to share.

The camera was just inside the door, sitting on a table.

We haven’t had one hard freeze so far, which is rare. It could still happen. The peach tree would be shocked because it’s full of pink blooms, thinking it’s springtime.

You’d think that plants and weather would be better coordinated, that they’d have meetings or something.

I shot the video for you, my internet amigos. It’s both a mood piece and a brag piece. It illustrates what’s possible with a little planning, a modicum of money and courage.

As I type this, a couple of hours later, my child bride is downstairs frying chiles, the punch of which is wafting upstairs and almost bowling me over. That happens.

You sauté raw chiles, and you’ve got a fight on your hands.

She’ll dump them in the pot of beans that will accompany the roasted chicken on the menu for lunch.

Roasted chicken, beans and rice are good for the mood.

Only Gringo graveside

marigolds

LIKE EVERY YEAR, we went to the downtown cemetery this morning to tidy up the grave of my child bride’s oldest brother, gone about 25 years now.

The graveyard is directly downtown and — due to crowded conditions, I imagine — is not open the previous night, the famous Night of the Dead when relatives sit till dawn amid marigolds and candles. The graves are so tightly packed there’s no room for both relatives and tourists too.

But it’s open in the morning, and locals flood inside to gussy up the graves, light candles and incense, and leave their best wishes with the interred in broad daylight. That’s what we do. And there are no tourists because they’re recuperating after staying up all night visiting outlying villages and their splashy graveyards.

Ironically, though our town is one of the most well-known in Mexico for its Day of the Dead doings, neither of the two downtown cemeteries are open on the night of November 1. You must head out of town if you want to see the stuff that makes us famous. To places with names like Tzintzuntzan, Ihuatzio, Arocutin and my personal favorite, Cucuchucho, which sounds like a passing train.

But let’s return to our downtown graveyard.

Invariably, I am the only Gringo among the hundreds of people.

Another item of interest: Planted two plots down from my brother-in-law is a fellow — young, I imagine — who came out on the wrong end of a gunfight with cops three years ago. Here is what I remember. There was a shootout between police and some narcos in late October of 2011. It was written up in the local press.

Four days later, we were in the cemetery on our annual visit, and I noticed the fresh grave nearby, someone named Luis Enrique but his nickname was Choco. It was a plain metal marker painted black. It included his name, the date of his demise — that same late October day — and an automatic rifle was painted on there too.

Today I noticed the original metal marker still stood, but directly next to it was a nice marble headstone, also engraved with Luis Enrique’s full name, his nickname Choco — and the machine gun too.

On finishing our work, we packed up our gear — broom, dustpan, brush, trash bag, etc. — and headed to the main plaza for a nice cafecito. A couple of hours later, we dined on chicken meatballs, rice and beans.

A year from now we’ll do pretty much the same thing, the Goddess willing.

I’m no spring chicken.

Honky Mexican

beans

I’M A NON-HISPANIC Mexican. A white, Spanish-talking, Georgia-born, grits-eating Cracker, taco-loving Mexican married to a brown-skinned, (mostly) non-English-speaking Latina born in a town called Uruapan, which you likely cannot even pronounce correctly, but I can.

I’m an American lefty’s multicultural wet dream, more diverse than most anybody you know above the Rio Bravo. Ain’t dat something?

Georgia flag
Georgia

But I don’t demand respect or preferences or a front-row seat in any university classroom or boardroom or any sort of room whatsoever. I mind my own business and drink my cafecitos quietly.

I don’t support multiculturalism in spite of being one of its shining stars.

Ain’t dat something too?

I’m a honky Mexican, a member of a very elite group.

We fly no angry banners. We hold no meetings. We never take to the streets in a snit. We came into the country legally, and went through the process, jumped through the hoops and got the papers. Now we’re just danged happy to be here.

Looking around, I see universities, scholarships, trade schools, help-wanted ads in newspapers and in store windows, ease of starting a business, modern shopping malls, love of capitalism, great highways, a fine healthcare system, an improving economy, and a growing middle class.

It’s enough to make a honky Mexican grin into his plate of beans while he’s dreaming of grits and butter.