Thinking back …

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YESTERDAY MORNING, after hard work in the yard, I was sitting at the dining room table after second breakfast, cereal. My child bride had returned to her pastry workshop, so I was alone, gazing out the window toward the distant Alamo Wall.

With elbows on the table, I placed my face into my hands, closed my eyes and thought. What a high pile of memories.

Three-quarters of a century of breathing combined with an adventuresome, sometimes reckless personality lead to all kinds of crap, most still alive in the cranium.

Three wives, two countries plus a Caribbean island, two languages, planes, parachutes, motorcycles, hot-air balloons, mind-altering materials, a number of jobs but only one of any duration. I did stick with that, which was good, and why I’m here right now.

Dancing in clover.

I wonder about people who live in a more linear fashion. Finish school, a real profession, marriage, have kids, grandkids, buy a home and stay put for decades. Take vacations every year to places like Paris, then head home again.

Yes, I know far fewer folks live like that these days, but many still do.

I ponder if I would have preferred that. Some moments of my life have been pure terror. Try two divorces for starters. Once I had a small plane spin out of control, but it got leveled off. Once I flew into a cloud bank with no training on how to deal with that. And once I overflew a rural runway and ended up in the weeds.

Drive a motorcycle drunk? Count the times. Other stuff so absurd I’m not even going to share. Yet, there I sat at the table, full of cereal, low-fat milk and chia seeds while my child bride was baking brownies, and the sun was shining in a cool, blue sky.

A night in Santo Domingo

sunrise

I’VE BEEN IN lots of brothels: Port-au-Prince, Haiti. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros, Mexico. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Barcelona, Spain.*

But I’ve never purchased the principal product, just the secondary, alcohol. I came close once,  however. A booze-fueled, Caribbean night in Santo Domingo.

I related this story years ago on a former website, but it’s vanished. If you remember, be aware that some details may differ. It’s been a long time.

Some things are fun to repeat, and I’m a fun fellow.

It started one morning at the airport bar in New Orleans. My traveling companion was an old French friend from years earlier. We’d met in the Air Force in California.

(Trivia: Sitting two stools down from me at the airport bar was Kris Kristofferson, but I pretended not to notice him. I was cool like that.)

We continued drinking on the plane, and by the time we landed in Santo Domingo we were well-oiled. We rented a car and drove to a downtown hotel. As night fell, we hired a taxi driver to take us to the brothel zone, which he did.

(More trivia: Dominican hookers were the most beautiful I ever saw, far outstripping the international competition from my experience. Just so you know.)

We continued drinking. My French friend partook of the wares but I, as always, took a pass. Sex that way has never interested me. Going to brothels was a sociological experience and a very fascinating one. But the night wore on, and I drank more.

And, Lordy, they were lovely.

Around 3 a.m., the two of us walked out the front door to hunt another taxi. At my shoulder I noticed a cute working girl who’d tailed us. She wanted to come along. I said yes, so we three took a cab to a restaurant and ate.

After eating, we caught another cab to the hotel. Somewhere along the line, I had decided to abandon my hands-off approach. We entered the hotel lobby, the three of us, but the hotel’s security man stopped us. Not the girl, he said.

My friend headed up to the room, and my companion and I walked back outside. Habitual drinkers, which I was at the time, can reach a state in which they’re quite ambulatory, steady even, but completely plowed at the same time. I was there.

We got into the rental car, and she gave me directions to “a place I know.” It turned out to be an old, two-story, wooden hotel on the beach highway. It’s about 4 a.m.

Things get foggy now. I recall entering the hotel. The girl was walking just ahead of me up a broad stairway. Behind me was a man, a hotel employee, I suppose. I suddenly got wary of the situation, suspecting I was going to be robbed or worse.

I changed my mind.

As we entered the room, I told the girl I had left something in the car and that I’d be right back. I turned on my heel, headed out the door, bounced down the stairs and leaped into the car. But she was right behind me. She didn’t want me to leave her there.

Okay, I said. Jump in. But she had left her shoes in the room upstairs. Go get them, I said. But you’ll leave, she replied, accurately. This exchange continued for a few rounds till I started to drive off. She ran around and jumped into the car without her shoes.

We pulled out onto the moonlit highway while she yelled, My shoes! My shoes! I braked and pulled over, opened my door, walked around to the other side, opened her door and attempted to pull her out. She grabbed the steering wheel. I could not extract her painlessly, so I gave up, returned to the other side and continued down the highway.

Twenty or so minutes later, we entered a downtown plaza. There was a parked police car, and two cops stood on the sidewalk. The girl stuck her head out the window and began yelling which, of course, caught the officers’ attention.

Deciding not to make a run for it, I just pulled over.

The girl got out and spoke to the police. We ended up driving back to the hotel. The girl and I led the way, and the police car followed. When we arrived at the hotel, she walked upstairs to retrieve her shoes while I and the smiling cops waited.

She returned wearing her shoes and told me to give the police some money, which I did, not wanting trouble and thinking myself lucky so far. The officers drove off, and I did too, with my companion. I offered to take her home, an idea she liked.

Ever the gentleman. It was the least I could do.

She lived in a low-rent area, of course. As we pulled up to her humble home, she asked, still hoping for some cash, if I’d like to come in. I said no, and asked how old she was. After so many years, I forget what she told me, but it was 16 or so.

As I headed alone back to the hotel, the sun was rising.

And I remain to this day a whorehouse virgin.

* * * *

* This was unintentional. My second wife and I entered, sat at the bar and ordered drinks before it became clear where we were. We did finish the drinks.

(A Christmas Eve brothel in San Juan. Plus another romance on the road, also a true story.)

All my fault

I LEFT THE United States in pretty good condition when I moved over the Rio Bravo in January 2000. Bill Clinton was president, and the stock market was going gangbusters.

Alas, my absence was noted, and the nation went straight to Hell. The stock market started a two-year plunge that year. Then other horrible things began to happen.

Mohammedans attacked New York City. U.S. military expeditions into the Middle East were mucked up.

The economy collapsed in 2008. Would this have happened had I stayed home in Houston? There’s no way to know.

And things grew even worse.

Voters put a left-wing, mulatto community organizer with little useful experience into the White House and then, astonishingly, re-elected him four years later. Kool-Aid moment.

The White House power vacuum emboldened murderous Mohammedans far and wide. Leftists overran American universities, kicking out contrary opinions.

And here we are today.

Manning

The White House’s community organizer freed the traitor Bradley Manning* from prison in January, and Brad will soon do an interview with ABC “News.” Expect sympathy and softballs.

Meanwhile, in New York City, the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade is honoring a Puerto Rican terrorist who took part in fatal, bombing campaigns in the 1970s.

The New York Times prefers to call him “a militant.”

That’s nicer than calling him a murderer.

Furthermore, the City University of New York — a public, tax-funded institution — has invited Mohammedan terrorist supporter, Sharia Law-loving Linda Sarsour to be keynote speaker at a graduation ceremony.

As I look back on the past 17 years and remember the good nation I left compared to what it became immediately on my departure, I cannot avoid thinking that I am the cause.

It troubles my nights. Truly, it does.

* * * *

* Manning loves to be called Chelsea these days, which makes me think of Chelsea Clinton who recently said that child marriage and climate change are interconnected. She said this at a CARE National Conference in Washington D.C. where she was introduced as a “thought leader and change agent.” No joke.

A thought leader.

The rooster

I WAS LIGHTING incense with a stove torch in the living room yesterday, standing next to this. The sunlight from the big window was doing a swell job of illuminating.

I took a photo.

Cockfighting is alive and well in Mexico. You see fighting birds quite often while you’re out and about. Not fighting, but you see them, mostly in little roadside cages.

Or guys with cowboy hats and mustaches carrying them down the sidewalk or in the rear of pickup trucks.

I’ve been to a cockfight once, but it was in Puerto Rico 40 years ago. Don’t recall much about it. I likely was not sober. I do remember the covered arena, but not the fight itself.

I’ve also been to a bullfight once. That was in the Plaza México in Mexico City. As with the cockfight, once was enough. I have nothing against cockfights, however. Bullfights either.*

Chickens are dumb as rocks, and cattle suffer far more in slaughterhouses around the world. Toros in bullfights actually get a pretty good shake, as shakes go.

But the rooster theme is quite common in Mexico. In addition to this artwork of papier-mâché, you’ll see other roosters in the Hacienda. Lots of skeletons too.

* * * *

* Never been to a dogfight. That would bother me.