Saturday, 28 November 2015

Making Ready to Head South - Important things first

    The big deal, to-morrow, is the baptism (christening) of our granddaughter Scarlet.   Bunches of folks drove half-way across the Republic of Texas to-day to bring the baby to this point, to an area where her father and aunt were baptised, and to the same church were her grandfather was baptised several hundred years ago (almost) and where her grandmother is a member of the altar guild and a long time contributor to things such as Sunday School, and social missions.

    The service will be brief, one of the last remaining recognizable things about the Episcopal Church.   We have combined all nature of turkey, pies, the sharing of secrets of the kitchen by my wife with the other granddaughters who are actually interested and adept at producing real, live stuff like the Spanish - Mexican classic "empanadas de calabaza" (a pumpkin-paste filled sweet roll, of sorts....really addictive) that came out perfectly.
     The boss makes grapefruit pie that is a hit even with people who do not normally care for grapefruit, and she made the cherry-ringed, ultra-dark chocolate brownies, all these things from scratch.   The "older granddaughters (ages 7 and 10), seem fascinated with the idea that so much good stuff can actually actually be made of a bunch of disparate ingredients stuck into a heated oven.
 26 November 2015

     We have had a time of it, baptising a baby granddaughter, moving multigenerational people around...all related by marriage or blood to the child to be baptised, and imposing upon a hapless Episcopal priest to comply with the overly sentimental notion that the father and grandfather had been acolytes at the same Parish two and three hundred years ago (so it seems).   All went well, a luncheon with family at a more than adequate theme restaurant, well-attended and and well provisioned.   It was moving, in a way, to have the officiating Priest and my mother-in-law talking earnestly after the service, while still in the Sanctuary.   The Priest, an Episcopalian, and the mother-in-law, a Roman Catholic, at home in their Orthodox surroundings, with the impressively vestured Priest declaring what a pleasure it was to deal with a baptism where four generations were present, all seemed to underscore the theme and purpose of the event.   Certainly, with that many in the Army of Righteousness, this baby could be protected from the Devil until she can defend herself.
     Visits to the very old who are infirmed...among our family....and a twilight with  son-in-law, daughter, granddaughters, daughter-in-law, son, wife, where much was settled in the ambience of the Casa de Palmas Hotel in the very centre of the city of McAllen, Texas.   We were surrounded by various types of very civilized hootsey-tootsey Monterrey-area business people, and other Mexicans, up from the central part of Mexico, on buying trips and negotiations about buying/selling things that people want to by and things people want to sell. The Casa de Palmas  These are the legal and moral sorts whose trade constitutes over 99% of the international business in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
     It ran from around 09:00 hours this morning until about 19:00 hours this evening.  No complaints...but a lot of driving back and forth between McAllen and Mission.   All in all, better than a 100% rating for the day.
     We head down to our little mud hut in the Mexican outback to-morrow, early in the morning.   The things that needed to be accomplished were accomplished and now there are things to do and to say grace over at that mystical place in front of the Sierra Madre Oriental.  We have, perhaps, dodged a bit of a bullet in that the Hurricane Sandra suffered a one-two punch, (1) the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains that rise up almost immediately at the Mexican west coast with the Pacific Ocean, and (2) a frigid Arctic blast that has brought sleet, snow, and freezing rain as far south as the Edward's Plateau in west central Texas.
     This means that a repeat of Hurricane Patricio, about five weeks ago, will not be visited upon Texas and our area in northeastern Mexico.   As you all are aware, the problem is not the winds associated with the hurricanes, because those are bashed out, almost always,  immediately upon coming ashore, due to the rugged and high mountains.   The real problem comes from the collision of super-saturated middle and upper levels of the atmosphere with warm and equally moist tropical maritime air coming up and in from the Gulf of Mexico and even the Caribbean Sea.

     We shall entrust everything that pertains to "North of the Border" to the better three-quarters, while I take care of the things that can be put-off for two or three months.   In that this might be our last transmission for a few weeks, we beg forgiveness from the contributing OROGs for this rapid departure, and remind you all that we are thinking about you and what can be written to justify your  continued presence upon my return.  Many things are afoot both in Texas and Mexico that will merit your interest, and we shall have considerable comment upon re-arrival.

El Gringo Viejo