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For the Love of Mexico

White Chedda

Chapter 8

Gerardo & The Gondo Berry (Pt.2)


Gerardo treated me like a cowboy king.

But there were still a few times where I thought

might have walked right into a kidnapping.


There were no signs of the 86 year old Pachita.

Gerardo said she was in Vallarta celebrating

her sister's birthday and would not return.


He, me & blind faith made three.


The gondos grew slow and silent in the late

afternoon sun while I got to know my host in the

front porch shade. I used the presence of the

purple berry as a sign to remind myself

that I was in good hands. Probably.

At one point Gerardo went off somewhere and he told me he was doing so. If my spanish wasn't good,

I could have misinterpreted his message.


'Te quedas en casa'

That's the way a friendly person would say it.


A kidnapper would say...


`Te quedes en casa`


Notice that the only difference there is one letter.

The former communicates something

similar to, mi casa es tu casa.


It literally means `you stay in house`

or more accurately, `you are in your home`


The second is way different.

A command.


Don't leave the house.


I am going somewhere.

Don't leave the house.




My brain had to do a little double take. A little CPU processing to make sure I was reading my clues well.


Another time a man arrived while I was resting and Gerardo was talking to him in great detail about me

and my journey.  I couldn't see who it was but

boy was Gera giving him the whole story.


Oh no!

They are negotiating my sale.

I'm being trafficked.

I hope when Gerardo reads this that he laughs.

In retrospect, that's all we can do.

It was his brother Lupe. Who also lived there.

He was giving detail so Lupe would know who

was staying in their home that night.


Lupe is awesome. A younger version of Gera with a gigantic White Cheddaesque smile that just doesn't

quit. A good conversationalist, like his brother, and

a kind man. A hard worker full of dust.


Our time together was brief but I am

better person for having met him.


Ok, I am fine.

Gondo. Gondo. Gondo.


Two twenty-something men paid

us a visit via motorcycle. Friends of Gera.


I very much enjoyed talking with them and getting a young person's perspective on the state of the union.

They were Carlos & Luis

Something very interesting sprung from that dialogue.

We were talking about Mexico and I expressed to them

an optimism for what I had seen in my time here.


That the country was on the come up.

Growing economically while all the rest of the

continent jealously looks on, wishing they

could escape the bullshit and live here.

I told them I thought the future was bright.


They were in agreement but Luis said,


`Do you think they'll let us stay this way?`


I cocked my head like a puppy hearing high pitches.

Who? Will who let you stay this way?


His inference was that external forces might hold

Mexico back from acheiving its full potential.

I couldn't help but think that my own country might

have been the `they` that he was referencing.


We have such a history of over-involving ourselves

in the evolutions of other countries.


This perspective saddened me.

I think a lot of us believe that there are unseen

groups of immense power and wealth on this

planet that manipulate its flow. And for me,

personally, after Covid, I started

to feel that way as well.


But the universe is balanced.

There is so much good!

In fact we might be imbalanced

more wonder and magic than ugly and cold.


I suggested to Luis that, while his logic might be sound, it would probably be more healthy to celebrate what is happening in his country as opposed to being

afraid that it would all be taken away.


I suppose that is why riQueZo is so important.

It's a chance for those of us who are external to Mexico to demonstrate through real world action that we love the people and are invested in their well-being.


I always have seen riQueZo like a poem.

A beautiful one. That speaks to our goodness.


Even if it doesn't grow beyond a dream,

what a pleasant dream it is.

Something sweet & kind.

Americans and Canadians need to be very proactive in the empowerment of our neighbor if we want to fight off that `Do you think they'll let us` type of thinking.

Let's eliminate the doubt.

We want Mexico to flourish.

Our brothers. Our sisters.

We can show them that we are on their team.

Gerardo fed me very well. For dinner we had grilled chicken quesadillas. I overdrank the Gondo.

Abused that kindness for sure.

But since the plant was growing right there I asked him if in the morning he would let me make another batch. He said I could, though admitted that it

was a tedious process.

Gerardo gave me some names of people for the next towns. He was delighted at how well I remembered them. Referencing his friends and reciting their names back to them as if I already knew them.

Fo him that was funny.

For me it was survival.

And funny.

He taught me how to tie a nuda, the hitch

in a lasso that allows you to wrangle.

I'll never remember how to do that.

I barely can tie shoes.

Something about a rabbit going through the rabbit hole.

Maybe that's why you know me so barefoot.

I always offer to 'serve the house' if I am staying.

Often times that is doing the dishes.

Gerardo smiled while I scrubbed.

He had a word for me, something like Mandolin. But that's not it exactly. A man who helps with the chores.

I was proud to hold the title.

He gave me some really comfortable blankets and a pillow. I slept outside on the floor but quite comfortably.

He told me that in the morning I could find a natural hot spring just a 10 minute walk away. That made me so excited! I am a bath person. And a God person.

So to take a God bath in naturally hot water was a beautiful anticipation.

Gera also told me that the next day a politician running for Mayor of Mascota was coming to that exact house to present to the ranchers in Zapotàn.


If I stay for that, I'll never make it across Mexico, I thought.

Early morning starts are necessary.

But there was something about that proposal that seemed rooted in destiny. Politics on the path.

Something to think about.

I closed my eyes and thought about my babies.

Trying to pursuade my dreams to be about their giggles.

I whispered goodnight and hoped the mountain air

would carry their dad's love right to their souls.

But then I thought about Gera.

He did it. He advanced our theme.

Compassionate. Concerned. Caring.

It was all still in the works but in the morning I knew

I wasn't going to be waking to a stranger.

Mejor, a un hermano.


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