Wednesday, April 23, 2008

¡¡Hi, homeys!!

So, we were walking down our winding dirt road through our little village one dark evening, and as we passed by a gathering of the older kids (teens and 20s), one of them said quietly to us, and in a friendly way, "¡Hi, homeys!"

Say what?

So, L.A. is arriving in our Little Salty Place ( the name of our village, translated into English)... For those of you who know our friends here, it was another one of Omar´s many uncles... a guy who JUST got back from a number of years in L.A. There has been a bit of a rush on returns here, lately. Each of them smiles, and says they came back because they like it better here.

That sweet little surprise was one of the cherries on the end of one helluva great (WORK) day. It´s a day to be remembered for the uncommon amount of activity...

It began at dawn. We had barely crawled out from under our mosquito netting when Ramon ambled up our hill for a friendly cup of coffee on our porch... It was a cool morning, so after coffee, I grabbed a machete and a stick and headed out to our front yard to begin the great clearing of the jungly overgrowth (we were absent from here for 10 months this time, so our property is buried in such growth).

My clumsy slashing was too much for Ramon. He grabbed a machete and a stick and came out there with me. His help was much appreciated, but alas he cut down two (2!) of our baby lemon trees as well as the humongous weed trees. Anyway, Robert also got inspired, grabbed his machete and stick and took off down the hill to clear where we will build a tower for our electricity pole (yahoo!), and along came Guillermo (dear friend and incidentally the mayor and father of our little shadow, Ariana), with HIS machete and stick. There´s much more clearing to do, but this particular morning made a great dent in it...

....Ches and Kevin, your tent will be there in the newly cleared yard. Anyway, when the sun climbed a bit higher, that was enough of that.

Along ambled Omar up our little hill, with a big bandage on his toe. There I was with a big bandage on my thumb. Both of us, it seems, had cut off the ends of our respective digits. Neither of us could go in the water -- so! We grabbed the wheelbarrow and a shovel and some bags and headed down to the river and dug up rich black earth, brought it back up our hill and created a beautiful vegetable garden, complete with high wooden walls and chicken wire over the top (keeping out the pigs, cows, chickens, whatever). Robert and Omar planted rows of spinach and mesclun (mixed greens), and the little plantlings popped up the VERY next day in long rows!

High noon. Folks disappeared to cool shady places, and I worked on my next children´s book about the ants...

Same day, a bit later, Robert tormented the little kitten with de-flea-ing and de-mite-ing it which was not a quick operation... The kitty got so tired of objecting that by the end, he actually fell asleep while the process went on.

Next! All right!! WATER! We never know when water will begin flowing through our hoses but there it was. Immediately, we filled up both of our brand'new water tanks (gosh, ease in bathing with buckets, ease in washing clothes and dishes.... WATER!).... and there was such a quantity pouring in that all the kids -- who had by then returned to watch the gringos and of course to play Jenga, and play with whatever other toys I always bring down for them -- well, they all decided to wash our brown car and find out what color it really is. It´s a greenish-blue. Who knew?

Time for a break. Break out the watermelon. Great feasting.

Gringo soup (hecho por Roverto, who is a GREAT soup'maker) was shared by all. The kids actually really like Robert´s cooking very much.... But then they go off for the tortillas and whatever else their moms are making -- and off they went.

In the cool dark of early evening (if 9pm is early---well, in the village it IS early, though to Robert and me, it is legal to go to bed) -- anyway, in the cool dark, we decided to spend the next 2-3 hours visiting with Jesus (hay-SUS) Pompa and Francisco...

These two men gather every single evening to sing all the old corridas -- long story'songs of the Mexican tradition -- in the style of "Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican maid..." -- really beautiful heart-tugging songs. Jesus is a tiny and old, bent man with a cane for whom walking is a painful necessity. He plays a beat-up old guitar, his bent'up old fingers running all over the keyboard, and he sings the sweet high harmonies. Francisco is much younger, probably a good many years younger than me, and formerly a scuba diver for fish, all along the west coast of Mexico, now happily retired in the village. He has a beautiful, haunting deep voice that gets so very tender at times it can bring tears to your eyes.

It was on this short sweet walk in the dark from our house to that of Jesus, that we were greeted by the young folk: "!!Hi, homeys!!"

By the way, the waves have been really really big and great even for boogie'boarders.

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