A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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April 25, 2009 — One Saturday Kelly and I walked a few blocks to the butcher shop we use sometimes here in San Juan Cosalá. We got ground beef for our dogs and some lamb for us, and while Kelly was paying, I noticed that the big double doors to a nice house right across the street were wide open. The house is for sale and I had never noticed any activity around it before. But there were a lot of people about, some all in black. There was a handwritten sign that the mass for Don David would be there at 4 pm.

I wondered who Don David had been, but I didn’t know any of the people milling about. As we continued walking, we did notice a teenage boy we know, also dressed all in black, intent on the video game he was playing in a store. I had a moment of concern that it might be his grandmother, who’s been ill, but then remembered she wasn’t named David.

Back to the shopping. We hadn’t been buying chicken yet in San Juan Cosalá but we had heard that there was a new chicken place on the highway, so we walked by there. They had already sold out of pollo crudo (raw chicken) for the day, but the lady said they normally have it Monday through Friday and early on the weekends.

Instead, we bought one of the chickens that was roasting, covered with a spicy coating. It came with macaroni salad, rice, potatoes, and salsa for 65 pesos which most foreigners mentally translate as $6.50 US, but with the dollar riding high at present, 65 pesos is more like 5 bucks even.

I asked in Spanish where the chickens came from. The family who owns this business lives somewhere else in San Juan Cosalá and they raise the chickens in their yard, feeding them corn and sometimes leftover tortillas from the tortilleria across the street. They kill and pluck the birds themselves. You can’t get any more local than that.

Kelly bought a bottle of tequila down the street and we got one peso’s worth of tortillas and the weekly Spanish language newspaper El Charal before going to one of the many tiny grocery stores in the area. This one is also a Cremeria (creamery) and recently they have started carrying my favorite yogurt, at my request: Alpura unsweetened. So some yogurt and some milk would be our last errand.

But they were shut up tight. Kelly figured they were going to the funeral.

We went on home and enjoyed a delicious chicken lunch. That afternoon, when our maid Rosa came for her weekly stint, I asked her about Don David. He died at about 80, and was a great-uncle to the teenager we know, an uncle to someone else we knew, and father of one of our neighbors. And yes, he was related to the people with the cremeria.

Rosa and I sat down to read a little from El Charal, that weekly paper. Rosa teaches me Spanish, and so I read aloud from an article about Saint Cecelia, patron saint of musicians.

The article went on to give some history of local bands, and Rosa interrupted me when I read the name Manuel Morales. “He was my grandfather,” she said, and explained he had been a music teacher and a farmer both. He had been instrumental in starting a band here in San Juan Cosalá, and she guessed that would have been about 1930.Then she looked a photo from the late 40s and recognized some of the musicians.

So walking around town to do our errands, rather than buying everything elsewhere, helps us to get more of a sense of this town. We are feeling more at home here, at the same time that we are becoming ever more aware of how deeply the people who live here are interconnected.

2 Comments from the old blog:

  • At April 26, 2009 2:38 PM,  Amanda said…

    What a cool post, I love the feeling of walking with you through the town. And reading aloud in Spanish sounds like a great way to learn, I need to start doing this with my hubby.

  • At April 26, 2009 3:40 PM,  Rosana Hart said…

    It’s really fun! And you could try reading storybooks in Spanish to your little one, with your hubby helping you w pronunciation…

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