Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gabriel Oct 2009

One of the many reasons I love my house in Jocotepec is the neighborhood.
Plain ole middle class Mexican neighborhood.
The kind one is likely NOT to get robbed in.  The kind one is likely to
find a good maid and gardener in.  The kind one is likely to find good
Mexican friends in.  All the good stuff.

In addition to that, a short block and a half away,
the milpas and horses and cows and berry farms begin.
Great for hiking, jogging, running the dogs, bike and horseback riding too.

I had only been running the dogs along the farm roads for about a week,
when one morning I spied the strangest thing coming my way.

At a distance, I determined it was a horse with a hat wearing a hula skirt.
Uh huh.

Trying to be cool,
I demurely averted my eyes until it was directly in front of me before looking up.
The man on the horse, and under the hat, and hidden behind the corn stalks,
adios'd me as we passed.
I could see he was curious about me too.

  I was smitten!

It's been three years, and now when I meet up with him
we happily greet each other by name and stop and chat and often
walk all the way home together talking about the weather,
his day, his animals, how I'm doing, and all the pertinent gossip of the neighborhood.

In his early seventies, he's a soft spoken man with a kind heart and squinty eyes
that sparkle with an uncomplicated, but spot on, sense of humor.
He is wise and ironical and he likes to make me laugh.

He has 2 horses - small Mexican Criollos - and 1 cow.  No chickens, no dogs, no wife.
Every single day he leaves his house on his horse, sometimes leading
another, and rides into the hills where he cuts corn stalks in the milpas for his livestock.

On his return, he passes my house around 5 in the evening.
His 'commute' never ceases to charm me.


Pulling up to his house, he dismounts,
unlocks the front door, and leads his horses - and sometimes
a cow or 2 - through the front door, through the living room,
down the hall, into the courtyard, and out to the back.

I so want to see inside his house, but have
not yet been invited.  Maybe some day I'll
be able to post about how he lives at home.

If I were a man - I could just show up some night with a
couple of cervezas and be invited in - but I'm not and that sure
complicates things, doesn't it?

Is he not the coolest Marlboro man you've ever seen!


  1. Great story. My friends in Oregon think we make up these tales. But we see similar things daily.

  2. I know, Steve, it's so true.
    When I had a friend from California visiting we ran into him on one of our evening walks. He loved having a 2 gringa audience and was particularly chatty. After, and when we got home, my friend said: "OMG, what in the world did you talk about all that time!!!" Gossip.

  3. He is the coolest Marlboro man! When I first arrived in Yahualica, there was an elderly gentleman that rode by every morning and evening on a donkey. My older kids loved to run outside and wave goodbye to him. Sadly, he passed away, but seeing this reminded me of him.

  4. Leslie, too bad you didn't get a opportunity to get to know your Marlboro man.
    There was a time when I wanted a photo of Gabriel so badly that I would stalk him at 5 on his evening return to get the shot.
    Fortunately, when I realized what I was doing, I stopped and soon after that had the above opportunity for photos. He was flattered.
    Better than popping out of my gate snapping away, huh?

  5. yo soy un ombre senserio.... comes to mind (please pardon my most rusty Spanish.) i love that Gabriel commutes on horseback and leads them all through his home thro courtyard at the end of the day... as they are his familia, es verdad?

  6. Hola Sonha,
    Si, verdad, los animales son familia a el.
    Claro. . .