In our last Blog we reported the passing of our neighbor. The Mexicans have quite a ritual for the dead. A traditional Hispanic Funeral will consist of 3-4 days of services and vigils to honor and pray for the departed soul.
Our neighbor’s body was discovered on Sunday after 13 days missing. His daughter informed us this will not be an open casket event – too much time had passed.
Upon discovery the family and friends sprang into action immediately. I think part of the process of busying the principals (wives and children host the saddened friends) reduces the immediate pain or at least distracts it?
The Calypso Casita property fronts the roadway that leads to the neighbor’s casa. Theirs is a very narrow piece of land down along the river’s edge (southern end) of our contiguous lots. Literally hundreds of folks have come to pay their respects. Space is very limited in their little casita and outside beyond.
Many hombres crowd around on the roadway. They talk amongst themselves in little groups, often sharing an alcoholic beverage.
It seems the drink of choice is aguardiente. Essentially a Latin compound word for fire water – and it is that! Some very high percentage of grain alcohol and cane sugar liquor. Often it is mixed with Coke in a 32 ounce bottle. This is passed amongst the grieving throng – all hombres. And they spend hours drinking and chatting while the ladies sit quietly in a room with many chairs and a folding table displaying flowers, lit candles and the framed photo of Emilio. Emilio’s mother, sisters, wife and children are seated sitting in shifts accepting condolences near the table. If you are there you will be offered tea.
It is as if it was all suddenly choregraphed, which I suppose is fact. Yesterday it started before daylight and finally became quiet around 2 AM. A few short hours later it started all over.
Before 8 AM I caught a glimpse of the casket passing by our house – This hand carried by a group of pallbearers. Groups of people started heading down the road on the way to the cemetery in Xico (about 4 miles away).
An hour and a half later a 4-wheeler ATV came up the road pulling a small trailer loaded with folded metal frames and plywood tops – components to be assembled as tables for the food to be served when the folks return from the cemetery.
It will be another long day of activity just beyond my office/bedroom window.
Earlier I went out and policed the area picking up many Styrofoam cups and beer bottles as well as food wrappers. Anita and I agreed leaving a garbage can out front might reduce the amount of trash just deposited where one is standing – we shall see.
Mexican people in the country-side handle trash differently than in the U.S. They quite simply throw their trash in the roadway with no thought for who or how it will be picked up from there. It is just the way it is.
It seems over the years this condition has lessened, but it is far from cured – far from it – especially a bunch of hombres drinking along the road for hours on end.
I suppose the thought of trash has diverted my own thinking regarding the loss of our neighbor – my friend. We will send up a few prayers for a successful journey from here to there. Rest in peace Emilio.