Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bonfires and Biscuits at Parque Landeta

The campsite.

Tuesday Janan sent out an invite: Friday would be the first birthday of a number of sibling dogs (created when the dog she was babysitting was impregnated at the beach by a Guanajuato street dog.  Though the mama was a pure-blood champion chocolate lab, it was her one and only batch: illegitimate pups borne out of a spring fling in Troncones).  By Friday the whole gang was there--dogs, owners, dogs without owners and the requisite homeless guy wandering through the campo looking for free beer.  One of the great beauties of life in San Miguel is the fact that not one of us ever has plans.  So when there's an invite to do something fun, we're all there, often with just a few hours' notice.  When there are no organized sports, no relatives, no school functions, really, no nothing, it leaves one wide open for just about anything.

Will, Redding, Marky, Draytie, Will and Mason

Will Macdonald, getting ready to take down some cans.

Tom Macdonald manning the makeshift grill.

Gifford Cochran and Sam.

How adorable.  If only this were their baby and they were husband and wife.  (Janan Asfour and Pablo Hensley)

Like most Friday afternoons it was absolutely beautiful.  We met in an area next to the Botanical Gardens that is completely empty except for some picnic areas where a few anonymous, yet thoughtful, others put together fire pits, tables crafted from planed logs and stone circles for seating.  Sam brought sling shots (as well as his desire to grill) and someone else happily brought a 12-pack of mini Dr. Peppers. which the kids drank as fast as they could dig them out of the cooler.  Perfect ammo to hang from an acacia tree and shoot with rocks.    There were a few bikes, which the kids shared riding through the dirt trails lining the nearly-dry presa.  The grass was about knee high across the river, yellow and crispy from a winter without rain.  There were sausages and chicken on the grill, pasta salads, guacamole, mango margaritas, many bottles of red wine.  And cupcakes for the kids with little dogs on them, biscuits and rubber toys for the birthday canines.

The kids make their own bonfire, close to a source of water just in case.
Sam was very opposed to my letting the kids make a bonfire.  Which I completely understood.  But a concern that I completely ignored.  I knew they'd have a ball, and hey, it was very educational, a great team-building exercise, a lesson in safety and responsibility, and kept them occupied for the better part of three hours.  As nothing that wasn't supposed to catch on fire didn't, and no one got burned, it seemed like a stroke of genius in the end.

Bo tends the fire while Mason gathers wood and Sabina heads across the river.

Bo, the pyromaniac.

Tag across the river.
Maríu and Jorge bring out Baby Santiago.  Jenny gets a baby fix.

Cupcakes for the kids.

Redding Hillers.

Grace and Mary Walker.

Janan, the master organizer and cupcake queen.

Sam and his best friend, Nacho, wearing his party clothes.

Nightfall in the park.

First Day of New School

Sam, Bo and Redding started a new year at the Victoria Robbins School.  Sam is teaching Government and World Politics, and English Reading and Composition.  The boys are not in official grades: Redding is in the Littles, Bo is in the Big Littles.  Higher up are the Middles, the Bigs and the Texas Techs.  Mason is back at the Waldorf School in second grade.  Here is Sam's classroom.
Out front of Vic's School

Carpool in San Miguel.  At least they're wearing helmets.

The Funeral

Mason and I were driving home down Ancha San Antonio and the traffic was particularly slow. Coming up the hill we saw why: a typical Mexican funeral procession was making its way south through the historic district to the Panteón, San Miguel's main cemetery. Like most funerals there was a black car in front (except for when the pallbearers carry the casket down the street and there's no hearse at all). Behind it was a wide crowd of people dressed in black jeans and t-shirts, carrying umbrellas, sheaths of long white flowers wrapped in newspaper, and two-liter bottles of coke. Every procession has a group of walkers heading to the grave site. There are no strings of cars, their headlights shining on out of respect, policemen directing traffic. Lower-income Mexicans don't have cars so they do what they do every day: they walk to the cemetery, as they walk to work, as they walk their kids to school (sometimes two miles each way), as they walk to shops and bus stops. Mason and I pulled over and waited. It was a young crowd but there were not a lot of tears. Mason waited until they passed and then said to me, "I hope he lived his full life."