• Tyin' The Big Ugly In La Cristina Except This Time It Wasn't Ugly, Somehow

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    The
    afternoon when Ron and Sara proceeded to become one flesh, and
    an artifact of globalization, as well as married to the gills,
    their fool dog Toby was eating avocadoes in the yard again, which
    in a dog means he don’t got the sense God give a Democrat. But
    he’s agreeable, which is more important than intelligence in a
    dog. And most people.

    You
    don’t know Ron and Sara. Ron is what Yankees call a Good Ol’ Boy,
    with capital letters so they can feel lofty, and worldly, and
    knowing. Yankees are idiots. Anyway, “Good Ol’ Boy” means somebody
    with judgement* and a Southern accent. (Yankees
    are a mess. It’s hard to believe, but some of them think “red”
    is a word of one syllable. The schools went down something terrible
    after Gettysburg.)

    When
    Dixie plays, Ron stands with his hand over his heart, which shows
    he has his values straight. He eats avocadoes too, like Toby,
    only he usually peels them. He understands trucks. And politics.
    And ‘gators, the which are all over Florida.

    Nobody
    is sure how Ron caught Sara. Everyone agrees that he married above
    himself. It’s not that Ron isn’t upstanding and admirable. It’s
    just that a first-rate Mexican woman is hard to compete with.
    I know three gringos married to Mexicanas, and one more who might
    be if she recognized my virtues. In every case, the man is doing
    better than he ought. (I just hope Mexican women don’t read this.
    If they found out what dirtbags we are, they’d probably marry
    each other. Like feminists.)

    Anyway,
    Sara looks to be pure Aztec, and might weigh ten pounds if she
    were holding a twelve-pound dumbbell. She’s smart as a whip. I
    don’t mean your modern dumbed-down socially promoted whip. I mean
    one with high boards and a degree from Tulane. She’s a nurse.
    She’s funny, and real nice, and no crazier than the baseline for
    the sex.

    Now,
    their backyard where they were getting married is broad and green,
    and littered with avocadoes that Toby hasn’t gotten around to
    yet, with shade trees and a rooftop flat place that’s wonderful
    for watching the brawling-ass lightning storms they have around
    here. And huge sunsets that look like a Chinese lacquer lamp with
    a light bulb inside. There’s a casita out back for visitors.

    It
    isn’t high-end housing because Ron and Sara can’t afford it. It’s
    just pretty and comfortable with a fireplace and gorgeous view
    of the mountains and the brawling-ass lightning storms and quiet
    and peaceful, and I guess I’m starting to wonder why it isn’t
    high-end housing. Didn’t cost enough, I guess.

    People
    started showing up in early afternoon. I was sitting in Ron’s
    office with Ron, who had the willies. It wasn’t doubt. He didn’t
    have any. It was just that marriage is like quadruple-bypass surgery
    and you haven’t seen the doctor’s diploma but he’s holding a Buck
    knife and an ice-cream scoop. Outside, folks appeared in droves:
    Ron the Mechanic, Don the dirt-floored Kentuckian with the maxed-out
    dune buggy, Lex Luther and the Toad Queen, Tommy and Luz, La Fantasma,
    Crazy Fred the Alleged Writer (a bad influence, I can tell you),
    and a whole lot of Messicans.

    It
    may be that some beer wasn’t in the yard. The rest of it was.

    Now,
    you’ve got two kinds of gringos here. The first kind live in gated
    retirement communities to keep Mexico out. I think the locals
    hope the gates will keep them in. I do. They don’t mix with the
    country. After ten years, they are still saying, “Grah-shuss.”

    And
    you’ve got Ron, who doesn’t need gates. You could drop him in
    a remote town in China and a week later he’d know everybody worth
    knowing and have a sweetheart of a girlfriend and be holding barbecues.
    He fits here. Besides, Mexicans are basically Southerners with
    a pronunciation problem. It’s why I like them.

    So
    I sat under the trees and ate ribs and scratched Toby’s ears and
    chatted with Sara, who looked nervous but hadn’t yet gotten into
    her wedding paraphernalia. Don the dirt-floored Kentuckian came
    over and we talked dune buggies. What they do here is take the
    motor off a VW bus, mount it on a tube-frame buggy chassis with
    a serious roll-cage, do things to the engine that would surprise
    the hell out of German engineers who thought it was a family car,
    and stick big tires and a heavy transaxle on it. The result looks
    like the automotive equivalent of Spiderman.

    Boy
    babies in Georgia have been known to be born with a Isky in
    one hand. The South is a place that understands muscle cars. And
    Don’s dune rocket was every bit of that.

    But
    we’re trying to get these folks married. Sara disappeared, Toby
    started chasing somebody’s toy poodle as if he didn’t know he’d
    been fixed, and Ron showed up in a tux. Nobody else much noticed
    because after all weddings seem kind of normal if you aren’t in
    them, and there were lots of ribs and beer.

    A
    nice lawyeress from Chapala was there and ready. Mexico believes
    in separation of church and state, as distinct from persecution
    of the church by the state, so they needed a JP. Somebody banged
    on a glass with a fork and said, hey, we’re here to do this so
    shut up and let’s do it. Everybody shut up because it was the
    right thing to do and anyway they liked Ron and Sara.

    Sara
    popped out of the house looking like a million pesos that hadn’t
    been devalued for a while. As a color scheme, Aztec on white works
    just real well. I grabbed my digital chimera and prepared to immortalize
    the moment for such posterity as mattered. Which includes readers
    of this column, and that’s why the picture is there.

    I
    guess it worked. They’re still married and say they like it, and
    I go over every couple of weeks to eat ribs and visit. Alexia,
    who is Sara’s daughter from a previous marriage, is smart as her
    mother, which is a pretty high benchmark, and makes A’s in school.
    Sara’s a wicked cook and a tremendous gal. Toby is hopeless. What
    can you say about a dog that eats avocadoes? But, well, he’s an
    agreeable beast. That’s better than a lot of people.

    *
    I will not spell a word that has “dgm” in it. Sue me.

    July
    1, 2003

    Fred
    Reed [send him mail]
    is author of Nekkid
    in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well
    .


         

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