Louisiana birthday

jumbo
The pot is much larger than it appears.

I STIRRED UP a nice pot of jambalaya today for my 74th birthday.

Years ago, in Mexico, I fixed jambalaya much more frequently. I rarely make it now, but special occasions call for special food. There will be no cake.

I also whip together a passable gumbo, but that’s even more labor-intensive. I may never do that again, but who knows? But I’m lazy.

I lived in New Orleans for 18 years if you don’t know. Both my first wife and my daughter were born in New Orleans, a place that forms odd people.

Time passes far more quickly as you age. Not just years, but weeks and months, even days. It’s a strange phenomenon. So, here I am at 74, just one year younger than my father when he died of a heart attack. In spite of getting annual physicals, there had been no indication of any heart issues for him.

So much for annual physicals.

Apart from a lower energy level, I had no age-related issues until I hit 73. That’s when I really started noticing. Now I feel it, but I still get around pretty good. There’s the occasional wobble.

Aside from anything major, probably the most noticeable change that comes with age is the loss of sure-footedness. This in spite of my doing more exercise than most people my age, plus the significant issue of possessing a child bride.

This afternoon, as I toss Tabasco hot sauce (from Avery Island, Louisiana) on my bowl of jambalaya, I’ll wonder if I’ll make it to 75 or, even more significantly, to 76, something my father did not manage to accomplish.

Felíz cumpleaños to me!*

* * * *

* And just like last year, my child bride forgot.

Card from Mexico

one

LAST WEEKEND, we leaped into the Honda and drove to the far side of our big lake to eat at a favorite restaurant in celebration of my child bride’s birthday. She’s 57.

That may not sound like child-bride territory, but considering my advanced vintage, she could be my daughter. My actual daughter is only five years younger.

She ordered beef. I ordered shrimp. It was very well-prepared. She said her beef was a bit overdone. She should have ordered shrimp, but separating a Mexican from beef is no simple matter. It’s like separating them from cheese and chiles.

Especially when there’s celebration in the air.

shrimp
This was my plate of fried shrimp. I really like fried shrimp.

One of the best things about this restaurant is the location. It sits alone near the shore of the lake. The views are spectacular. Below is a shot in another direction.

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Even if the shrimp weren’t great, the view would justify a visit.

Birth and death

WE WERE IN Mexico City for four days, and a couple of important things happened.

My birthday — I am 69 yet again — and the shocking death of Juan Gabriel. First things first.

People unfamiliar with the Latin world might not know of Juan Gabriel. He was Elvis. He was Frank Sinatra. He was everything. He died, and Mexico went bananas.

Juan Gabriel was a fantastic singer, prolific composer and a stunning showman. I’ve been a fan for decades, far longer than I’ve lived below the Rio Bravo.

Gabriel was also a flaming queen, making his fame ironic in macho Mexico. We forgave him everything.

He came from very humble beginnings and even spent a spell in prison due to — according to him — being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It happens.

Like Elvis, he started young and handsome, and he ended fat, dissipated-looking and filthy rich. No matter. His talent and heart overshadowed it all. I will miss him.

And the second matter: I keep getting older. I have already racked up six more years than did Juan Gabriel.

Were I to light an accurate birthday cake, we’d have to phone the fire department. Just recently I was sitting on the Jesus Patio when my child bride took this photo.

feliPlease note that my hair remains as coal black as it was when I turned 25 not that long ago.

Our brief jaunt to Mexico City was to air out the apartment and pay a few bills that cannot be paid online.

But it’s sweet to be home at the Hacienda. We returned yesterday.

Hula hoop girls

hula

SITTING ON the big plaza eating a cupcake I purchased from the bakery just back of the concrete bench where I was perched, I watched the hula hoop girls yesterday.

Girls just wanna have fun.

Purple banners are going up around the plaza in preparation for Semana Santa, Holy Week, which is a big deal around here, almost as big — or HUGE, as  Donald Trump would say –as Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

silencio

There are a number of religious processions downtown during Holy Week, and my favorite is the Procession of Silence, which passes by silently, as advertised. That’s it in the photo, another year, and, yes, they dress up like Klansmen.

But we’ll be missing that parade this year because part of next week will find us in the Gringo-infested town of San Miguel de Allende. I’ll be visiting the consular office to renew my U.S. passport, a passport I don’t anticipate ever needing again, but it’s a habit I cannot seem to break.

We’ll be staying downtown at the Hotel Quinta Loreto. It will be our first stay at that hotel.

While Friday will be spent renewing the passport, on Saturday we’ll be visiting with an old friend whom I’ve not seen in 15 years, the psychologist who stitched my heart back together after my last divorce in the mid-1990s.

He’s visiting San Miguel for only four days, his first trip there. He lives in Austin, Texas.

But that is next week. This week — today, actually — we’re having a birthday party at the Hacienda. Our nephew, the lad once known as the Little Vaquero — turns 13. It seems like only yesterday that he was brought home from the hospital with those huge ears that look quite normal now.

And there you have it: hula hoop girls, Holy Week, San Miguel de Allende and the birthday party.

It’s just one thing after another.