Goofy stuff happens

flors
Orchids that hang onto the peach tree are blooming in the yard.

A FUNNY THING happened on the way into what’s normally the stuffiest month of the year: It rained. Repeatedly. Cooling things off.

Usually, May is the final and worst month of our seven-month, bone-dry season. That “worst” is a relative matter because the weather here is about perfect all the time. What you read about Cuernavaca — that “eternal spring” business — forget that.  That’s what should be said about our mountaintop.

Oh, it will rain in the dry season, but it’s really rare, and it usually is just a one-day deal. However, the first week and more of May has seen almost daily rain. I hesitate to label it an early onset of the rainy season, as so many are doing. I think it’s a fluke, and a look at a satellite map seems to confirm that. A front the Gringos sent is very slowly moving through Mexico.

No matter. It’s been really nice the last week or so. Alas, the grass has started to sprout and needs a good trim. I dropped the Craftsman mower off at a shop yesterday for a tune-up and, with luck, Abel the Deadpan Yardman will come this weekend to put all in order.

In the meantime, we’re sleeping at night without the fan.

* * * *

LONG TIME GONE

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it would be like to visit the United States, something I have not done in almost a decade.

No two abutting nations in the world are more different than the United States and Mexico. This was startling, and quite disturbing, when I arrived at the dawn of the 21st Century. But it’s become normal now, and I imagine a return visit above the Rio Bravo would be weird at this point.

From what I read online, things have really changed up north.

I follow a Yahoo forum that caters to Gringos in my area, and it seems that most of them are going “back home” to visit on a regular basis. Nothing wrong with this, but I view them as vacationers here, not residents.

I have no plans to ever return to the United States, surely not to live but not to visit either. It would probably give me a headache. Everyone would be speaking English (except in those Sanctuary Cities), paying for stuff with greenbacks sporting pictures of George Washington and Alex Hamilton instead of pesos with pictures of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Damn communists.

The streets would be smooth, confounding my old Honda, and red-clay roof tiles would be a rarity, found only on rich-folks houses. And hard-shell tacos. What sort of person eats hard-shell tacos?

No, I better stay home. It’s cheaper, and the weather is better. Medical care is nicer, and the government generally leaves you in peace.

And the summer rains can come in May.

Though they usually don’t.

Just like home

SEVENTEEN YEARS ago when I packed my two bags and flew to Mexico alone to reinvent myself in late middle age, I arrived in a spectacularly strange world.

Many of the things I was accustomed to simply were not available down here, and most of those things were commercial. I am a fan of capitalism and the goodies it offers.

Flash forward from 2000 to 2017 and — oh, my — how things have changed. Just about anything you can buy above the Rio Bravo is now available Down Mejico Way.

There is even a Mexican version of Amazon.com even though I much prefer our homegrown MercadoLibre.

The list of Gringo chain stores in Mexico is too lengthy to repeat here, and it seems to grow longer each year.*

I was particularly delighted when Bed Bath & Beyond, one of my favorite stores when I lived up north, opened recently in the nearby state capital. I shop there often.

There are eight BB&Bs in Mexico. Six are in Mexico City or its environs. A seventh is in Cuernavaca, the not-too-distant Mexico City playground,  and the eighth is in our capital city, the only one relatively remote from Mexico City.

Why were we chosen over the considerably larger burgs of Guadalajara or Monterrey? God knows.

Mexico commercially improves on a daily basis. You can now get most of what is available to the Gringos up north. Plus, we have great tacos, fresh avocados and beautiful babes.

Best of both worlds.

* * * *

* Very incomplete list: Best Buy, Sears, Costco, Walmart, McDonald’s, Burger King, Chili’s, Sirloin Stockade, iHop, Home Depot, Office Depot, Office Max, KFC, DQ, Starbucks.

(Note: We don’t depend entirely on the Gringos for great shopping. For example, the Mexican chain El Palacio de Hierro — The Iron Palace — will knock your high-end socks off, especially the flagship store in Mexico City’s Polanco.)

Dark to light

IT WAS COLD and dark, but she did not shiver nor was she afraid.

She was dead, lying inside a refrigerated cubicle in the morgue of the Hospital Popular in Los Santos, Mexico. She had died yesterday after weeks of silent suffering and waiting, waiting for this day and death.

Her children visited most every day, but not yesterday, the day she died. They should have been notified, of course, but perhaps the staff was rushed or maybe it was a clerical error. But here she sprawled inside the cubicle, alone.

The cubicle door opened, and the drawer on which she lay rolled out into the cutting room. Though it would be bright there, she remained in darkness, and the cold did not go away, though it did not bother her. She heard gasps of her two daughters, Gertrudis and Lupita.

Then she was pushed back into the drawer.

Time passed. She had no way of gauging it, and it did not matter anyway. But then the cubicle door opened, and she was pulled once more into the cutting room. There was Father Ignacio. He spoke in the tongue of the old Romans and she felt his hand on her head.

LeafShe opened her eyes. The blackness had turned to a baby-blue light, and another hand was on her head. It was Manuel, her husband of 42 years who died long ago. He smiled, and he was young again. And so was she.

And it was warm, like the constant springtime of Cuernavaca.