Lake Chapala at sunrise. It never looks the same twice. Though it is late in the season and should be chill, we do not seem to be having winter this year. The golondrinas, swallows, seem confused and have not migrated as early as they usually do. This year they sat in their thousands, three inches apart, on overhead cables and seemed to wonder what to do. Finally they left. Vifoto.
Before light we awake. The dogs, knowing that they are going for a walk, leap and twirl and bounce and make nuisances of themselves. Violeta brews coffee to rekindle the guttering flame of life. (That’s poetic. Like Milton.) We attach their leashes. They jump into the back of the CRV with enthusiasm. Vi bluetoothes her phone to the car’s sound system, surprisingly good, and we head out to Beethoven or Louisiana blues.
The world is another place before dawn, towns along the lakefront blank and lifeless, stop lights mindlessly changing in the absence of traffic, and existence belonging exclusively to ourselves. Lights glow in Donas’ Donas–Donnas’s Doughnuts–as the staff gets ready for the morning rush. A few cars wait in the parking lot of the all-night pharmacy.
The malecón along the water in Chapala is a wide boardwalk of patterned cement, sometimes fifty feet broad, with benches and trash cans running from the park to the end of town, much of it lit by street lights. It is not quite deserted. Early morning runners are out, and the street sweepers, and others walking their dogs. Still, there is a sense of solitude. We have become regulars and there is much “Buenos-dias”-ing. For a little over an hour we walk at a rapid clip, the dogs wanting to sniff everything and Charlie, a he-dog, signing trees and posts as is right. As the horizon begins to glow we often encounter Arturo, the bartender at the American Legion post, and his wife, who also walk and supervise the arrival of day.
Often in the dimness before dawn there will be a pickup truck or a couple of parked cars with music blaring and much laughter and several young standing around and drinking beer. These are trasnochados, “all-nighters,” men and women, who have spent the night partying. Drinking in public is illegal. So are a lot of things. As long as they cause no trouble, which they don’t, the powers that be somehow fail to notice them. It is a sensible arrangement.
The malecón by twilight. On weekends Chapala swells with tourists from Guadalajara and stalls go up on the sidewalk paralleling the malecón, selling hats and coconut juice and purses and fried this and fried that. On Sunday night the stalls go back down and the town empties. It is as regular as a heartbeat. Phredfoto.
Mikey Laure, a noted guitarist and singer born in Chapala and popular in the Sixties. On the road into town is a statue of Pepe Guize, also of Chapala, who wrote Guadalajara, Guadalajara. In Rosario, a town far to the northwest, there is a statue of Lola Beltrán, the queen of ranchero, in her birthplace. And in Guanajuato, a statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. I think people here have their priorities straight. In statues I much prefer Sancho to some goddam general. Vifoto.
With coming storms the lake has a darker face. The wind comes up, chill and moist with droplets and there is a sense of things going on above our human paygrade. Sunrise never looks the same twice no matter how often we and the dogs inspect it. Vifoto.
Jesús Pescador. Jesus, Fisher (of men). I am not sure to what extent how many people believe what, but the Church is part of what they are and they are content with it. Many of the young are not observant, but this means only that they are not observant, not that they want to abolish their culture and history. Vifoto.
OK, maybe I am getting tedious, but I am an obligate inspector of sunrises. I have been advised to consider therapy for it, but I would rather have hemorrhagic tuberculosis. Vifoto.
Finally, dogs. They are on the right. La Coyota, Africa, and Charlie. As we used to say in Alabama, they ain’t got the sense God give a crabapple, but they are good hearted beasts. The one in the middle, Africa, crept under my stepdaughter’s gate as a nearly dead puppy suffering from full-body mange. Natalia being Natalia, off they went to the vet. There we learned that while few things in life live up to their billings, mange dip works like a mad sonofabitch. Africa turned into a long, low-slung pooch, apparently a cross between a Border Collie and a fire hose, and currently flourishes. Vifoto.
We leave, going by the market for oranges to squeeze for juice in the morning. Mexicans believe that orange juice should have departed an orange no more than an hour before breakfast. This alone is sufficient justification for living here.
Anyway, them’s mornings in the Reed-Gonzalez household. I cannot doubt that
people in their millions have been wondering, “What do Fred and Violeta do in the morning?” I am glad to have supplied this yearning.
More Fun with IQ
I have encountered a chart posted by Audacious Epigone at the Unz Review purporting to show the mean IQs of blacks in most American states. Among enthusiasts of such things, the IQ of blacks is always said to be 85 unless it becomes polemically convenient for it to be something else. Anyway, saith the chart, the IQ of blacks in Massachusetts is 92.6, the lowest 84.4 in Wisconsin, for a difference of 8.2, over half a standard deviation. Another of Epigone’s charts puts Hispanic IQ in Montana at 95.0, and in Rhode Island at 86.6, a difference of 8.4.
If tests are off by that much, methinks they need some work under warranty. Since IQists cannot afford to doubt the infallibility of their tests, they usually resort to speculative and unsubstantiated theories, such as that for some reason smart Hispanics went to Montana to freeze to death, and dim ones to Rhode Island. Thus we make evidence fit the theory instead of deriving theory from the evidence.
Knowing IQists, they will come up with some genetic theory, such as all the smart blacks went to New England after their ancestors brought the slave ancestors from Africa. Or maybe sunspots did it. I note that only of states report a black IQ as low as 85, the black IQ held sacred in most IQist circles. Uh…
In pursuance of what I regard as my God given duty to annoy the self-assured, I will ask y favorite question. Is an IQ of 83 enough to invent writing, the abacus, the wheel, and an exponential number system? The possible answers are yes, no, and haughty silence. I’ll bet on three.
If you think the cover is weird, you should read the book. Amazon: “Fred’s reflections on America as it was and isn’t. In the title essay he tells of his rural Southern boyhood, driving a 1953 Chevy the color of two-tone dirt, an aging wreck serving as heraldic emblem, codpiece, bar and, far less frequently than he would have liked or admitted, love nest. It usually started but remembered compression as an aging gigolo recalls the ardors of youth and on the night of the possum-squashing, with Bobby on the roof and Itchy in the trunk and a great many empty beer cans…. Well, you get the idea. It was another country, says Fred, and he would like it back. Never happen.”