Thursday, April 2, 2009
This one is a little hard without pictures, but here it goes:
Over Spring Break, we were joined by Dianne’s niece, Ceci and her friend Kristen. Both are in college, both under 20 and both here to explore Mexico over spring break. When we contacted them prior to arrival we explained some of the options for things to do and one they both seemed interested in was a drive up into the mountains to a couple of small towns. So on Sunday, the second full day of their trip, we head off towards Concordia and later Copala.
Concordia is a common tourist stop and is famous for furniture. The whole town seems to be engaged in some aspect of furniture production, distribution or sales. We wanted to show our guests traditional furniture and as were entering the town picked one of the many roadside dealers to stop at. As we pulled in the dirt parking lot to the open air store front it was just before noon. The store has all of its display pieces facing the street to catch the eye of any would be buyer who drives by. Sitting on the right hand side in a very uncomfortable looking wooden bench was a very old looking man, nicely dressed with a lot of class, but only a few teeth. He was speaking with a younger gentleman wearing a sport shirt and tie. Odd appearance for a mountain town, but it was Sunday. To their left in the middle of the store front was another gentleman sitting in a rocker. As we approached the store, I went left and the rest of our gang went right. I was quickly engaged in conversation with the gentleman in the rocker who from his questioning and eagerness to sell was an employee and/or the owner. The others were just out of ear shot, but I could see that they were having a very engaging conversation with the old gentleman and he seemed to be having a great Sunday chat with the young girls. I could hear Dianne and even Danny laugh every couple of minutes and eventually saw Dianne go to the car for Ceci’s camera.
Around this time, I asked my guy if the old man was his father. “No, he just lives next door”, was the answer. Well, next door didn’t look like much, so I can see why the guy hangs out at a furniture store in his free time. When Dianne returned with the camera, she asked the neighbor if she could take his picture with the girls. He beamed a big ol’ wonderful toothless smile, slid himself to the middle of the bench and with his wrinkled probably arthritic hands, patted either side of the bench next to him as if to say, “Absolutely, right here girls”. The picture was taken, followed by more laughter. After the picture, the old man wanted to come over to meet me. He was a great guy and I told him that he looked good for 77 as I had been told his age by the salesman. Again, he beamed and proudly told us that he turned 78 the next day. A few congratulations followed and I asked him if he would want a beer to celebrate as we had a cooler in the car. “No”, the non-drinking old man from next door said, “postre!” Ahh, he has a sweet tooth for baked goods. Sorry, we only have beer and Doritos. A short while later, we said our goodbyes and got back in the car. As we drove off, I commented that it would be nice to bring him back dessert or something as we have to drive by again on the way home.
The day progressed and after seeing Concordia and Copala we found ourselves on the way home and as we neared the center of town, I remembered the postre for our new friend. All we could find open was a bread bakery that happened to have some cookies. We got our friend a sprinkled cookie and wrapped it in a plastic bag. We figured he would still be perched on his bench and if not, he would be at home.
We pulled in with a huge cloud of dust and the salesman recognized us immediately. I think he thought we were going to by two rockers and strap them to the top of the Honda. Sorry to disappoint. The girls hopped out to go make birthday dreams come true and there was no old man in sight. Dianne rolled down the window and asked the storekeeper where the old man was and told us that he had gone home. We pointed to the house for the girls and told them to knock on the door. Did I mention that neither speaks any Spanish? We move the car up near the house which is long and narrow. It looks like it has been there forever, like most of the stuff sitting outside of it. The old wooden door has an old screen door on the outside to offer protection on hot days, and is flanked by two good size windows with the standard Mexican bars over them. We watch as the girls knock on the door and as the door then slowly opens to reveal a very nice lady, obviously the man’s wife, who is staring at two cute young girls from somewhere other than here holding a clear plastic bag with a cookie. What they said, I don’t know, but eventually Dianne helped out by yelling from the car that we were looking for the old man we had met earlier. The wife told the girls that he was showering and then used her hands to motion the washing of hair, just in case we didn’t get it. “Oh, too bad”, the girls said. Sensing the disappointment in the girls’ tone, the lady told them in Spanish loud enough for us to hear, “wait right here”. The girls stand there and wait and Dianne and I expressed concern that this lady is going to interrupt this mans shower just for a cookie. Not exactly. At that moment, the window to the right flies open to reveal a very wet and obviously not clothed almost 78 year old man, standing in the shower, which evidently has a very nice window. The view from the car is about chest up. Words cannot describe the delight in this naked man’s eyes. Here are two very cute girls, dressed for summer, offering up a birthday cookie to a very naked, very wet and very happy old man. The girls say happy birthday and Dianne yells out in Spanish that we are sorry to interrupt, happy birthday, etc, etc, and the man smiles, and with water glistening off his face, chest and arms looks at the girls and says in Spanish, “come on in.”
I like this old guy and I hope I have as much spunk in me the day before my 78th birthday. Sorry there are no pictures. The camera used was lost later that week, never to return.