Beneath a cool, blue sky

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The grass circle behind is where the cursed peach tree lived.

THE PERSONALITY OF Tom Snyder, who hosted the Tomorrow show late nights on NBC from 1973 to 1982, was once likened to a Harley-Davidson with the throttle stuck wide open.

I often remember that line when I think about my child bride because she’s a high-energy sort who almost never relaxes.

I, on the other hand, am an old Vespa stuck on idle.

An obsession she’s resurrected recently is knitting, and she’s very good at it. I took the above photo yesterday while we were enjoying the midday sun on the new yard patio under clear, blue, cool skies.

She’s making a shawl for a niece, Paula Romina, who’s just shy of 2 years old. My bride promises she’ll later knit a sweater for me. I already have two she’s crafted, one a black wool and one a wine acrylic.

Breakfasts have been ratcheted up a notch in recent weeks, emotion-wise, because she watches (on a Samsung tablet) the 7 a.m. press conference given by our doofus, leftist president. That means she arrives at the table around 8 a.m. in a state of high dudgeon. Daily.

She really loathes the prez, who recently compared himself to Benito Júarez, exhibiting an stunning level of hubris. It would be like Trump comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln.

Being an old Vespa, however, I react in a more leisurely fashion.

* * * *

Life goes on

I went to a dentist here in town yesterday at 5. My usual dentist, since 2014, works in the nearby state capital, but I had an issue between Christmas and New Year’s, and he was on vacation.

So I called a young woman dentist here, and she saw me on Christmas Eve day at noon. The issue was resolved, but a small cavity partially below the gum line in the back was discovered. That’s why I saw her yesterday.

She shares a practice with two brothers. The three have different specialties. Their office looks fairly humble from the street, but once you step inside it’s very modern and large. I would recommend them to anyone in town who doesn’t want to drive to the state capital.

Speaking of which, that’s what we’re doing today, driving to the state capital for shopping. Normally, we do that weekly but, due to the gasoline shortage caused by our new doofus president who thinks he’s a reincarnation of Benito Júarez, it’s only the second trip there this month.

The gasoline crisis has vanished for now. Gas stations are open. They either have no line of cars waiting, or the line is very short.

Lord knows what the ding-a-ling is going to pull next.

10-great-white-egret-in-flight-paulette-thomasReturning to the Hacienda about 6:30, I paused at the archway entrance to the veranda.

There was still a good bit of light — the days are getting longer — and I saw a low-altitude, V-formation of white egrets.

Perhaps if I’d returned to the veranda 30 minutes later, I would have seen our bats depart on their nightly bug hunt. Life goes on.

But not for some of those bugs.

Geezer dreams

easy-rider-dennis-hooper-peter-fonda-jack-nicholson

OVER THE PAST month I’ve been embracing some very thrilling ideas.

Dreams that have reached the very edge of realization though the reality has yet to happen and likely will not.

We all have dreams, but what sets these dreams of mine apart is that they were given very serious consideration. One or both might still happen, but likely not.

Without further ado, here they are:

(1) Buy a motorcycle. I’m a biker from way back and even though I sold my last ride around 1990, the siren call remains. Over the past month, research has narrowed my future ride — if the dream were to get off the ground — down to this:

The 2016 Suzuki Boulevard C50, an 800-cc, cruiser-style machine. I think I would look very fine astride it.

Much of motorcycling is about style, of course, and I’ve even investigated that. Were I to buy the bike, I would also order appropriate accoutrements from this place.

They’ve told me they ship to Mexico. I told you that I was looking into this very seriously.

I already have a biker babe here in the house, the most important accoutrement of all.

Given the spectacular exchange rate these days, the motorcycle would cost about $8,000. The Harley Sportster I purchased in 1977 cost $5,000. That the comparable Suzuki is just $3,000 more almost 40 years later is surprising.

(2.) Buy a new car. This is slightly more likely to happen, but just slightly. My current ride is a 2009 Honda CR-V, which I purchased new. I’ve never liked it.

It’s about eight years old now, and has never given me a lick of real trouble. It’s a great car. Its sole defects are some design lunacies that only the driver would notice.

Of course, that is always me.

No matter. If I buy a new car, I’ve narrowed it down to the 2016 Chevrolet Trax.* It would be the fourth new car I’ve purchased since moving to Mexico, if you don’t count the 2014 Nissan March we bought for my child bride 18 months ago.

With the current resale value of the Honda factored in, the Chevrolet would set me back about $8,000, just like the motorcycle. How about that? I have $8,000.

I don’t need a new car, and I probably would perish on the bike, so neither of these dreams is likely to happen.

But you never know.

Magic happens in Mexico.

* * * *

* The two cars previous to the Honda were Chevrolets, a Pop (Geo Metro clone) and a Meriva, also available as a German Opel. I loved them both.

Aerial adventures

Me

ONE SWELL THING about multiple marriages is that you get a recess between wives.

My recess between Wife #1 and Wife #2 was five years, and it was a great recess out there on the playground of naked women.

On the other hand, the recess between Wife #2 and Wife #3 was a spell of much misery and lasted seven years. Recesses can vary in tone.

One of the many happy things I did in the first recess was learn how to fly small planes.

A favorite activity during that time was landing a Cessna 172 at the New Orleans Municipal Airport right next to Lake Pontchartrain after an hour or so of fun flying over the swamps of south Louisiana or maybe a jaunt over to cornpone Mississippi.

During steaming summers, I would park the plane, hop aboard my 1977, black, Harley-Davidson Sportster, and haul butt about a mile south on Downman Road to a sprawling clapboard tavern that kept the air-conditioning in the neighborhood of 35 degrees year-round, or so it seemed, and it was sweet.

I was often alone and wearing cutoff jeans and a T-shirt that said San Juan. The best things about that bar, the name of which escapes me, aside from the air-conditioning, were boiled crawdads and chill Dixie Beer.

Not being rich enough to have my own plane, I joined a flying club, which basically was a bunch of folks who banded together to maintain a few small planes, and each of us paid a fee per hour to take one up. It’s how poor people fly, but in time even that system got too rich for me. By the late ’70s, I was a retired flyboy.

Much of my life back then was haphazard. My first flying lesson took place on July 23, 1974, with a lanky, hillbilly instructor named George Gunn. He was an inch taller than I am, and I’m 6’3″, so it was quite a squeeze in the cockpit of the tiny Cessna 150 training plane.

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A flying companion, my daughter.

I first soloed on June 28, 1976, which was quite a spell later. I must have been paying more attention to Dixie beer and crawdads than I was to flying lessons with Gunn.

The last time I took a plane up was November 9, 1978. I still have my logbook. Later, I went up in a hot-air balloon, parachuted once and put in some training hours in gliders.

There were only two times I ventured far from the skies over South Louisiana and Mississippi. Once was a Christmas when Wife #2 and I flew to Southwest Georgia to visit my parents and sister out in the boonies.

Due to a menacing weather forecast, we left early to return to New Orleans on Christmas Eve morning.

We were forced down, hair-raisingly, in rain and buffeting winds at the airport at Dothan, Alabama, where we spent the night in a motel, not much of a Christmas, trust me.

The second venture was down to the border where I flew with two friends to visit the sins in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. This flight too presented problems. First, I neglected to adjust the altimeter to the higher altitude of the airport in Laredo, Texas. As I entered the pattern to land, a birdie whispered that I was quite low. I didn’t understand why until after I landed and a light bulb ignited over my head. Whoops!

* * * *

Radio out, overshooting runway

Flying back to New Orleans from Laredo the next day, the plane’s radio went out. I could hear transmissions directed at me, but nobody could hear my response. But before that happened, we were forced to land at Galveston, Texas, due to bad weather, again. I did not have the proper license to fly in bad weather.

I was a fair-weather pilot.

Two of us spent the night in a motel, but the other companion decided to return to New Orleans in a bus. He said he was in a hurry, but I believe he’d just lost his nerve, the panty-waist.

Early the next morning, we took off again, one man lighter, and it was over Southwest Louisiana that the radio went out. Some airports allow landings without a radio. Some do not. New Orleans is one where you cannot.

Just north of Lake Pontchartrain is a small airport in the piney woods. I needed to land there to phone the New Orleans control tower to let them know to expect me. That’s one solution to not having a radio.

Here’s how I landed at that airport in the tall piney woods: badly. Due to those tall trees, you must come in rather steeply and level out at the last moment. Alas, it was a very windy day. To offset that added peril, I came in faster than usual and landed farther down the runway than I would have done in a perfect world.

When the tires finally screeched down, halfway down the short runway, my passenger and I watched as the trees at the other end got nearer and nearer with alarming rapidity. I braked like nobody’s business.

The concrete runway ran out.

And we were still barreling along — through high weeds. But we stopped short of the trees.

We taxied to a hangar where I phoned the other airport. An hour later we landed in New Orleans uneventfully. I believe that flight was my last. I decided to stick to motorcycles, crawdads and Dixie Beer.

And I did that with a vengeance.