Mexican life

The Prussian and the hippie

HAVING HAD three wives means that my life on occasion has been visited by the ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.

I’ve never decided if I should be envious of people who get married young, and stay hitched to the same person till they die. I appreciate that there’s a long-term solidarity, but they’ve missed the fun times of shrieking terror that multiple spouses occasion.

ox
Till death — or the farmer — do us part.

Hitching two people together long-term usually is a challenge because folks can be quite different. I’ve read that two-ox teams pull badly till they become accustomed to one another and learn the other’s personality. Sometimes the oxen never get in lockstep, and must be paired with other, more amenable oxen.

Are humans and oxen really all that different?

My first wife was quite messy, which was not surprising considering the chaotic home in which she was spawned. That one aspect was a challenge for me. We only lasted five years, but her messiness had nothing to do with my departure.

prussianLet me inject here that a Prussian drill sergeant and I share many traits. You can see how this could provide problems in a matrimony.

My second wife was fairly well-organized, so that was not an issue, which explains, in part, why we were together almost two decades. We likely would still be together if she hadn’t become smitten with an illegal-alien yard boy half her age.

I think my Prussian-ness was a major factor. How much further is it possible to stray from a Prussian drill sergeant than into the arms of Mexican yard boy?

Wife #3, my child bride, lacks my Prussian personality, but it’s not been a problem because I am older, wiser, softer. When we first met, I asked what her worst traits were, and she said disorganization and distraction.

She was not lying.

hippieShe’s something of a hippie in spite of being politically conservative. I watch her life swerve this way and that, and I marvel, usually with my mouth shut.

I think the path to a successful marriage often is no more complicated than keeping your mouth shut.

Mexican life

A better way for water

filter
The new compact system.

THE HACIENDA has come into the 21st Century, water-wise.

After 18 years of hauling heavy, five-gallon, plastic jugs here, there, everywhere, we have retired the longstanding Mexican tradition of getting purified water via the big bottles and kitchen dispensers of various sorts.

bottles
The old cumbersome system.

Instead, we have the little blue thing you see up top. It has three filters inside. If you’re interested in buying one you can go to Amazon or directly to the company itself.

Not visible in the photo is a little knob where you can easily switch from drinking water to normal water for washing dishes, etc.

We’ve installed the new filter here where we live, in the separate pastry workshop and in the Downtown Casita. The next time we head to Mexico City, we’ll take yet another to install in our condo there.

This change was inspired by my back trouble a month ago, which I detailed here. I could not lift one of the big bottles, and my problem lasted two weeks. Painful as those two weeks were, I’m almost grateful due to its bringing about this new system.

Change comes to the Hacienda slowly, but it comes.

My child bride now informs me that when she was an actual child, her family did not buy bottled water but instead had a filter attached to the kitchen sink. It took her almost 16 years of watching me haul big jugs to tell me that, and she only told me after I switched to the new system. Sometimes you gotta wonder about folks.

Even the one you’re married to.

 

Memory Lane

The in-between time

CHRISTMAS, FESTIVUS and Kwanzaa are all behind us, and we’re careening toward the New Year. It’s an appropriate time for memories.

I went to the photo album, found these shots and, being a sharing sort of fellow, I’m putting them here for you … and me.

jax

This is the house I grew up in, the Arlington area of Jacksonville, Florida. The house looked far better back then. This photo was taken by my daughter about five years ago. There was no sidewalk in my time, and the yard was well-tended by my father. There was a mimosa tree to the left. There were flowers everywhere.

The house was painted aquamarine.

My parents purchased this place brand new in 1952. I lived there from the Third Grade until I graduated from high school. The window on the left was my parents’ bedroom. The one in the middle was my bedroom. My sister’s room was in the rear. Due to my father’s drinking, this place does not hold fond memories for me.

houstonhouse

This small apartment is in a high-rise called the Houston House or, as it was known locally, the Heartbreak Hotel due to the number of divorced guys in residence. It was where I moved when my last wife decided to take up with an illegal alien yard boy half her age in 1995. Like the home above, it too holds no fond memories.

But it had a spectacular view. I was on the 22nd floor.

fly

I’m including this shot just for the heck of it. It was taken in rural Texas, as the time stamp clearly indicates, on July 30, 1994. That was about a year before my second wife developed goo-goo eyes for the yard boy.

That’s me on the right, and we’re about to take off in an ultralight. I already had a private pilot’s license, but I didn’t know how to fly ultralights. The guy on the left was the pilot. I never got around to learning ultralights. Life intervened, and not in a good way.

patio

The photo shows a happy time, my Mexican wedding in 2002. Well, for the two on the left, me and my child bride. I was 57 at the time, and she was 41. The not-so-happy folks are the other two, my wife’s sister who spent the evening glowering with jealousy. Yes, that’s a double-dip ice cream cone over her head. Irony.

The guy at the right was her husband. Long-time readers here may remember him as The Eggman. They later split up, and a couple of years after, in a cry for sympathy, he shot himself with a .22-caliber pistol. He did not intend for it to be fatal, but it was. He now lies beneath the floor of the Basilica here on the mountaintop.

Forevermore. Like the Raven.

Mexican life

Shields and loquats

escudos

AMBLING ALONG the plaza two days ago, I was waiting for my child bride.

She, her sister and a nephew had walked to the mercado with a big bag of loquats, fruit from a tree in the Hacienda yard. The loquats were for the young widow of our nephew who died of cancer last winter.

The widow, about 32 years old, as was our nephew when he died, recently opened a small business in the mercado where she sells women stuff, mostly makeup. A sister of hers shares the space with a hairstyling business.

Alma is the widow’s name. It means soul in English. Why does no one name a baby Soul in English? I guess for the same reason no one names a baby Jesus either, and that’s fairly common in Spanish. We have a nephew named Jesús.

Alma is a very beautiful woman, and we hope that will help her snare another husband before long because she could use some support — financial, emotional and otherwise.

But she comes with two kids, a deal-breaker for some fellows.

Before selling her car to obtain the funds to open her mercado business, she had worked years for a television cable company, signing up new customers. The pay, however, was inadequate for her new role of single mother.

She does get occasional financial help from relatives, including my child bride.

The kids — Candra and Jaime, age 7 and 11, respectively — are very fond of loquats. They are very nice children, too young to lose their father.

After my wife, her sister and the nephew whom I used to call The Little Vaquero (the Little Cowboy), but he’s almost 15 now, returned from the mercado, we connected in the plaza and drove home. That would be my child bride. We left the other two downtown where they live.

You may be wondering, What’s up with Shields in the headline? Shield is escudo in Spanish, and the photo is the entrance to the Hotel Los Escudos. I walked past as I was waiting for the family. It looked nice, so I shot a photo.

Many years ago, we spent a night in the Hotel Los Escudos on a lark. We enjoyed it, and maybe we’ll do it again one day.