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.

Energy of autumn

FALL MAKES  me want to do something. It puts a spring into my step.

In just the last few days, the presence of autumn has become more obvious. Leaves fallen from the peach tree litter the Jesus Patio, and the summertime dawn temperature of 60 has plummeted to 58.

So, this morning, with that spring in my step, I cast procrastination aside and decided to do something. First, I did what I do every Saturday morning, and that’s water the potted plants in the veranda.*

Dave Brubeck played Take Five  through the living room window.

fallEnergy up, I cleaned the glass-top table and web chairs on the Jesus Patio. I brushed dust and bat crap from the shelves along the veranda walls. And I swept the floor.

I cleaned the psychedelic ceramic birdbath and changed the water. I swept the Honda carport but not the Nissan’s.

I stuck my head into the bakery workshop and said hi to my child bride, baking in a cloud of flour. It smelled good in there.

I walked upstairs and oiled the squeaky parts of the gym set.

Fall has always been my favorite season. When I lived in Dixie, it was as far as you could get from the next summer swelter. There is also a certain sadness — a tristeza — involved, but a sweet sort.

In spite of that, fall holds optimism for me. It inspires hope, and that’s always a good thing. It’s fall, not spring, that reminds me of love.

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* I am reading my third excellent book in a row about India by William Dalrymple. There are lots of verandas in India, and I like the word. Plus, it applies to what we have here at the Hacienda. So veranda will replace the old “downstairs terraza.” The upstairs terraza will remain a terraza because it is not a veranda. It’s mostly uncovered.