Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Elderly Gentleman in Chacala

Margarito, 83
Miguel Hector, 86
These two gentleman are probably the eldest hombres in Chacala. Margarito*, above, says he is 83. He is still working full-time. Literally full time. He works all night as a security guard at one of the Chacala beach restaurants. Then he takes the collectivo back to Las Varas, where his home (and wife, I think) is, and washes dishes in another restaurant most of the day. He about 5 foot tall, and always wears a cowboy hat. He's a flirt and a gentleman, with a great smile. Which he is hiding in this photo, I think due to his missing teeth.

Miguel Hector, on the left, says he is 86, and has retired from the active life. He spends his days on the patio of Ventura's restaurant, watching the kids and puppies, and generally keeping an eye on things. The story I was told is that Miguel Hector ended up penniless awhile ago. His property in Chacala stolen and sold by a family member. He was penniless and abandoned when Ventura, and her husband, Miguel Angel (the collectivo driver) took him in.

Their connection to Miguel Angel was that he had been a elderly (even then) neighbor of Ventura's when she was a child. When they first took him in he had nothing, but he currently has a small pension, and I think some kind of grant to pay for the small house Ventura and Miguel Angel built for him. With a toilet.

He is another flirt. Not, however a gentleman. I guess some elderly men tend to flirt until their last breath. I remember that from my college days, working in a nursing home. The rule there was, "Never turn your back on any of the old guys".

I think Miguel Hector had a small stroke a few days ago. The right side of his face suddenly changed. But he can still talk and hold a cigarette in his right hand, so he'll probably okay for now. My wish for him is that one morning he doesn't wake up. No pain, no strange hospital. Just friends to take care of him. But he'll probably still be around ten years from now.

*I was surprised when Margarito told me his name. But then I read a book called "In a Village Far from Home", by Catherine Palmer Finerty, which is my favorite book of the year. The author says that many Mexican boys are named after female saints, and the last letter is changed to "o", instead of "a". This book is about a woman older than me, and that's pretty old who spent three weeks a month in a very isolated, primitive, Cora indio, village in the mountains around Guadalajara. For years and years.

1 comment:

SAM said...

Wow, I found your blog to be of great interest to me, I like how you go about at describing how it is to be living in this far away place Chacala.

As far as I ever been to Mexico is down to Baja when I was a kid, although I have been to Tecate many a times more times than T.J.

Somewhere in Mexico I do have relatives that are either lost for a reason or simply had lost contact with us here in the states since their father had passed away some odd years back, and the sad story is they were born in Mexico and many times in the past they have try to come across to the states and were only turn down while their father was still alive.

I will be back 0ften to read more about your life in this interesting place, and I will be adding a link back from my blog to yours.