First of December

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Dining room near dawn today. No sign of Santa. Or reindeer.

THIS IS HOW the dining room looked this morning when I entered from the rather distant bedroom just after 7 a.m. The Canon sat nearby, so I snapped the shot.

The First of December, so the Yuletide is upon us if the shelves in Walmart and Costco are to be believed. They’ve had Christmas stuff for some time now.

Like most kids, I loved Christmas in those distant days when I was young, but I’ve lost touch with it. I’m not sure how that happened or when. I loved it, and then I didn’t.

Due to an ever-stressed environment (booze) at my childhood home in Florida, Christmas was best celebrated at my mother’s family farm in southwest Georgia, my maternal grandparents. The tree was always tall and green, and Santa was fond of stopping there though Lord knows how he found us in those rural, dirt-road boonies, but he did.

Maybe he smelled the cows or was drawn by the orchard of pecan trees.

I hesitate to cast blame, especially when I played a major role, but I think I went south, so to speak, on Christmas during my second marriage. That wife, you see, was fanatical about Christmas. You couldn’t deck the halls too much. More was always better.

The tree had to be a real one, of course, and those things are nasty. It’s a sticky tree. They prick you. They shed. And then you have to get rid of them somehow, dragging them out the door while they leave a trail of trash behind. And those are all things the guy must do. The womenfolk just direct. I balked, and so did she.

It was an annual crisis. We both were at fault. Her overdoing, my underdoing.

Wife No. 3 does not provide those problems. We have an elegant, high-end, artificial tree we bought about 15 years ago at a department store in the nearby state capital.

Sometimes we put it up. Sometimes we don’t. I say we, but it’s really her. She does not ask for help. I sit on the sofa providing moral support. She does not get mad about it. We rarely have visitors, so I’m not sure why it gets put up. It’s just for us, and I don’t much care. I do enjoy traditional Christmas music,  however.

Silent Night, Holy Night, and so on. Deck the Halls!

Christmas Eve does not happen at the Hacienda. She does the usual Mexican thing elsewhere with her relatives, sometimes here on the mountaintop, sometimes at the nearby state capital. We have kinfolk splattered all over the place.

Christmas Eve dinner takes place near midnight in Mexico. I don’t do midnight, so I’m at home enjoying peace and quiet. When they get around to eating, I’m snoring. Everyone is happy. Our Christmas tree stays up till she gets around to dismantling it. Again, I watch and provide moral support, reveling in not having an angry Christmas spouse.

This is just one of many pluses one finds in Mexican women.

I wonder if she’ll put up the tree this year. I’m always ready with moral support.

Fa-la-la-la-la and Kalamazoo!

I am a Godfather, it seems

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A bride waits outside the Basilica for her big moment.

FOR THE FIRST time in my life, I have been roped into the role of Godfather.

This is strange due to my not being a Catholic or a Christian or even a believer as they define it. I’ve dodged this job a number of times since moving south many years ago, but I finally got volunteered by my child bride. I don’t recall if she asked me first or not. She likely did due to being a Mexican wife.

They are quite different from Gringas. Better.

While I am the Godfather, she is the Godmother, and she did all the work. I just showed up yesterday and tried to look devout. I was the only Gringo there, so I stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Our guest of honor, our Godson, is the second child of a nephew. The baby, about eight months old, is named Oliver Lobsang if you can believe it. Lobsang is not his last name. It’s his middle name, and Oliver Lobsang doesn’t even like me. He howls when I enter the room. He’s anti-Gringo.

But now I’m his Godfather. Take that, Oliver Lobsang!

When we showed up at the Basilica downtown at 1 p.m., there was lots of activity, mucho money-making on the part of the priests. A little girl was getting what I assumed was her First Communion. Waiting in the wings outside was a bride-to-be. That’s her in the photo. Fewer quesadillas, honeybun.

The Baptism took place in a side chapel, and there were about eight babies being soaked at the same time. God gets assembly lines.

I assumed a sanctified face, exuding spirituality.

The deed being done, we headed nearby to the traditional party. Tacos were served, as was beer, Sprite, Coca-Cola, salty nuts and a big cake. I only stayed an hour because the music was loud, and those things run on forever.

As I stepped out to the cobblestoned street, I heaved my Holiness aside, and headed to the Honda with a smile on my face. I’m a Godfather. I hope Oliver Lobsang doesn’t expect much from me. I was dragooned, amigo.