I wish this town had a newspaper or a radio station, or that there were some media in a nearby city that would let me know what’s going on around me.
People die and there’s no obituary to read. It not only would assist me in deciding if I want to march to the funeral listening to norteño alabanzas (praise songs), but would help me to know the families of the deceased. I never know who’s related to whom.
We hear the police pickup rumbling and rattling past our house toward El Ángel late at night and know there’s been a crime, probably a killing, but there’s no way of getting information except by word-of-mouth and I don’t chit-chat much.
There have been surveyors on the streets of El Refugio. They’ve got their tripod and transit, what looks like a meter stick, and day-glo scarlet paint they use to mark the curb (where there is one) or the street itself. I wonder what they’re doing and why. Are they going to determine that some people’s houses are on their neighbor’s property? Are they going to tear up the streets, put in sewers, and pave the streets with modern materials so they don’t wear out in a year? Are they measuring the shortest route from the sugar cane fields to the processing plant in Chalchuapa so the super trucks and over-sized trailers can better navigate our old town streets and avenues? I don’t know.
Speaking of the sugar industry, they’re still cutting cane and burning whatever it is they burn. We’ve had a never-ending black snowfall in the patio, the garden, and in the house. Duke enjoys sniffing the ephemeral wisps of carbon which stick to his snotty nose. It’s fun watching him sneeze them off. It’s no fun having them fall in your Cheerios or chicken soup. Even less when you’re sleeping at night and you awaken to the sensation of a spider speeding across your face. When you arise and look in the mirror, you find a smear of blackface where pus and eye-sand normally cling. A small-town American newspaper would let me know when the burning season was going to be over. It’s different here.
I’ve got my first seminary class of the new year at 5:00 p.m. That’s usually when I start getting sleepy. It’s a three-hour gig until March 25th on methods of biblical study. I’ve already taken it but I’ve been told that if we didn’t get a diploma at the end of previous classes, we’d have to repeat. I don’t remember getting anything. And if I did, I probably wouldn’t have kept it. I’m not in it for credits or wall paper. But this time I have to pay $15 for the course. Last time around it was free. At least the seminary gives us a bulletin with the course dates and titles.
There was a news item on TV the other night about a 70-year old guy going to law school. I don’t know what he did before or if he’s retired, but it was impressive to see this little guy in a ball cap in class with young adults. I know a 75-year old guy in a sombrero who’s studying for his final exams. Amen!