Thursday, July 12, 2018

Timothy Bowden shared “Our Lady of the Garden” with you

Timothy Bowden: Our Lady of the Abutilon.  

Our Lady of the Garden
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Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Feria de San Nadie

And so a long time ago come me and Reloj to these mysterious lands beyond where most norteƱos stopped, further than you're supposed to go in Mexico.  

One village may have been Nadie, but I can't find it on the map now.  It was very hot, and dusty, and it had a central square with a statue of an unidentified military figure lording over a dry fountain.  We asked a passing villager who was the Patron. 


"¿Quien es?"

"Todo el mundo."

"They have a very democratic society here," guessed Reloj. 

 The village consisted of a rectangle of two-story storefronts with apartments on the second floor, and you could traverse the upper level without coming down, and we did that, because it was the Feria de San Nadie and revelers were everywhere and all the doors were open to them.

There was a rickety bowl just off the main square labeled the Plaza de Toros. We followed a string of locals into the stands and sat there.

The crowd was raucous, and the stadium was full, although it was quite small. The gates at both ends of  the oval the plaza made were open, and from time to time cattle wandered through. Their interest was the lush green herbage growing all over the circle at the center of the oval, and whenever one or another cow entered the plaza, great whoops and cheers rang from all sides.

"Is that cabbage?" asked Reloj. 

A whole series of botas were flung about the stands in a clockwise direction. Everyone tried to catch the wineskin and draw from it. You shot a stream into your mouth, as they learned from watching. One of the skins came close enough to grab and both of us had a pull. The dark red fluid inspired a sense of well-being and neighborliness.

An effeminate gent entered and the hoots greeted him. He was wearing a huge sombrero of many colors and it was immediately snatched from him to begin the same transit as the botas. 

They flung it like a frisbee and it sailed up and down and always around, until it arrived back to its owner after two circuits. He replaced it upon his head with great dignity, and the brim was ripped and he gazed about the crowd with affected sobriety through the gash, the brim sagging to his neck. Wild uproar in the stands.

At some signal everyone stood and milled toward the exits, some patting the passing cattle along the way. 

"I tell yuh what," I said, "This bullfighting is one great party."

Our diet was tacos de pollo that season, and some strange mushrooms. We drank Tecate and dirty red all that year.  The progression of the party in Nadie, if it was indeed Nadie, was clockwise, like the botas and the sombrero.

In one apartment, they sit.  It's just one of the upper-level rooms, or another, and neither Reloj nor I could ever find it again.  The hostess suddenly rose up with a stunning idea.  Hey, how about some cabbage!  Wouldn't you love some cabbage right now?  

Without waiting for a consensus to gather (those who cook cabbage alone are seldom aware how they are perceived) she sailed into the kitchen and pots and pans rattled through the open doorway.  She would appear at various points in the process to merely smile out at the group, lit with a glaring exposed hanging bulb from the rear and the purity of her mission down front.  She was one of them who thinks she comprises the general conscious mind.

There is a helium balloon the size of a child's toy floating in the shaded room, just above the heads.  Nobody blew it up or launched it;  they all just noticed in turn it was there.  Hey, there's a balloon. It would hover directly above until you reached up to rap it, and then it would go away.  When it passes the doorway to the kitchen, the fumes of cabbage caused it to waft inward towards the room. 

"It's because of lateral cabbage quantum gravity," decided Reloj. "The fragrance does matter."

This goes on.

Someone would nod and smile, slap his knee, and another would agree. An old one would lean forward and look positive. Kids watched the progress of other partiers past the open door, who would glance into the room. Everyone is decidedly hiding their anxiety that someone elsewhere might be having more fun. 

All thought eventually is upon the balloon.  Should Reloj allow it to stall, fall at his feet?  It will be ever so devastating to his place in this quarter were he to allow that to happen.  

Conversation lightens like helium, becomes hackneyed, mundane.  They talk of the weather because they are all thinking of the balloon.  Hot enough fer ye?  (The language of this and other stops that year was English. Wherever we went, Reloj and I, most of the crowd consisted of lost women from California. There were gringas plus some Chicanas who spoke English or others pretending to be Brazilian who were not aware the National language of Rio was Portuguese.)  

Here it comes. 

The hostess must think they are ripe for cabbage, judging by the level of discussion in the front room.

Cabbage becomes palpable in the dim light.

The cabbage cook resembles Ma Kettle; brash and bellowy, and she believes earnestly and with good heart in fact that the eternal zeitgeist is cabbage.  Meanwhile, out in the room, the balloon drifts.  It has enough gas to remain afloat but not to lodge against the ceiling. The hostess tends her giant pot for us, like MacBeth's weird sisters.

There is a vast inertia in the room.  No one can imagine any force to stop it.  After all, we are only here because something impelled us.  Always there will be the balloon and the cabbage.  It will ever be like that.  We are beginning to acclimate to the reality of balloon and cabbage.

The hostess swoops back into our center.  She says "Ta-DAHHHH!" and proffers a steamy pot.  She just holds it there, bent almost double, her grin a gargoyle's grimace, with no more doubt nor concern about her reception.

Reloj and me, without any transition, like a cat jumping, are back in our VW.  We are trying to decide who is driving, then determine it should be based upon seating arrangement.  The one on the left drives.  

That seems hilarious. They are laughing now, uproarious in the night.  Cabbage? And a balloon?  Then Reloj is grim with the vast potential of history as a millwheel.

"Okay" he says, "something I'm missing here. What happened after the cabbage popped?"  

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

As we follow in the dance. .

Rekoj went away to school and he came back and we talked. One night in one of those streets where I lived then he explained the dance. 

It's acquiring property, he said. Woman is the perfect form factor, he said in less modern terms, and no George Cloney even can ever truly rate the lovely, wise, and daring Amal Alamuddin. Therefore he must get to work. 

Building a nest. Acquiring property. Making a setting worthy of her. And, secondarily, their children. 

Sometimes they distribute their goods more generally. Sometimes they grab the women because they can, because they have the property and thus the right. 

"Why shouldn't we?" asks Charlie Malloy. "if we can get it." Shrugs, puts up his hands. "We're entitled."

This is why, I realized later, the men have such resistance to seeing their one club distributed more widely. 

Why does Eloy Cavazos look so young?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Let me tell the story; I can tell it all.

He was out of luck, , paths, options. Scorned by his neighbors and classmates, in a marriage of necessity and a factory job he found stifling, he essentially quit everything. Wanted to run away to Mexico but was stopped short by reality after a night at a roadside park South Austin. Quit going to his National Guard drills, and the activation notice followed. Showed up at Fort Polk one month late after a mad dash with his brother and three others to California, then clean up to the Canadian border, where they were denied entry, then back home, giving up, then to Ft Polk, from when he left after one night. 

Lived in a trailer near his old home town, went to work as a janitor in Sherman. Went home at times, to his wife and two children. His wife didn't really want him there. She especially didn't want his trouble.

Was a very diffident individual, the wife. Scared of authority. Was afraid of the cable company. The cable company. He was in a dispute with them over a setup fee be didn't figure he owed. So we don't have cable, so what?

She contemplated sneaking down to the cable office to pay the fee, but they agreed to wipe it off the books. She was surprised and relieved. You'd think it was the FBI. 

That was coming up. 

They were looking for him. 

Went to his family home. Two agents. He should leave. Go where? They said that about Billy the Kid. Kills two deputies in a daring escape and doesn't leave Lincoln County. Maybe he just didn't know where to go. 

One night he and his brother left the house where his wife and children lived. They went to Denison, possibly, and were returning on Highway 82. Passed a sheriff cruiser going the other way. The brother said, "They're turning around."

They knew the auto they were in, including the license number. They didn't know which of the two was the suspect. "... said he had a mustache ..." one of the deputies had a clue. He had a mustache. His brother didn't. Instead of waiting for the detective work, he announced himself. Neither deputy thought to ask for ID. 

In the jail HQ. Nobody seemed to know what the charge was. "Ray knows sumpin' about it ..." 

Ray was the liquor control agent. His wife worked with the wife of the accused. 

Outstanding police work. They knew the license number of the auto they were using, even though it was not owned by or registered to either brother. They knew the suspect was mustachioed. But they didn't know which of two choices was their man, nor why they should be after him. 

No matter. It put the whole depressing business behind him eventually. It was no fun, and it might've gone on for a long while had his wife not ratted him out. .

He had an easy time in the army.  Sitting in the orderly room of the unit he would spend his 17 months sentence with, the clerk handed him a note from his 201 file. It was hand written, from his wife to the FBI, telling them she was not living with the Desperado nor was she responsible for anything be may've done. 

"You divorced?" asked the clerk. 

No, but he would be soon. 


Why does Eloy Cavazos look so young?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Niki Tim Bowden shared “Closing Out Pike Creek” with you

Niki Tim Bowden: The story thus far.  

Closing Out Pike Creek
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