April 21, Sunday

Mary was up early to fold clothes and do some packing prior to our departure. But first, we walked to the local Catholic church for Mass, which was of course in Spanish, but if you've been to Mass, you know that everything takes place in the same order the world round. The music was better than I was used to in our church in Texas, with drums and guitar and maracas and tamborines and a harp and a good latin rhythm. The Eucharist is quite popular, for unlike in our home church, where folks proceed towards the altar for communion in an orderly manner, row by row, in Torreón it was a mad rush for the Altar. This wrapped things up a bit quicker. Outside in the church plaza, vendors sold food, toys, and clothing. Mary bought a small cup of elotes (corn) with butter and chili powder. I bought a coke. Then we walked the four blocks back home and finished packing. Mary's 82-year-old maternal grandfather, Antonio Rodríguez, waited for us at home, bag packed. He was joining us for the ride back to Texas, a trip he makes every spring to visit relatives in Dallas, El Paso, and various towns in northern Mexico. Antonio is one of the coolest old guys you'd ever want to meet--fascinating to talk to, and a man who has lived his life to the fullest and been blessed with family and a long and interesting life. He's a native of the mountain town of Zacatecas, but spent nearly a year in the United States during World War II. He was a "Brazorista"--"the arms" of Mexico, they were called--young men who came north at the invitation of the U.S. Government to work in U.S. industry to help make up for the shortage of American men off fighting the war. Antonio did his time as a track laborer on the Pennsylvania Railroad in Indiana. . . and we pondered the smallness of the world, for during the same period, my maternal grandfather was a maintenance of way boss on the Pennsy--in Indiana. I wonder if their paths ever crossed. . .

The family gathered to bid us all adieu, and we retraced our steps to Saltillo, detouring there slightly to watch a northbound automobile train depart town behind a single SD70MAC. We reached Monterrey after sunset, and stumbled around town in the dark for a while looking for a motel on the north side recommended by our Sanborn's guide book. The innkeepers wanted to charge us $770 pesos. The nerve! But Mary calmed me down when she advised me that was for TWO rooms. Hey, what a deal. And worth a mention--Dorado Motel, north end of town on Universidad past Velásquez. And, the place was AIR CONDITIONED! And cable television playing the trashy Dallas-produced "reality" show "Cheaters" dubbed in Spanish. Ay! Señor Tommy Grand is MUY macho! Eliot was enjoying this as well--his heat rash had all but disappeared since leaving Torreón, and was running all around the room, smiling, babbling, and excited to be feeling better.

April 15, Monday
April 16, Tuesday
April 17, Wednesday
April 18, Thursday
April 19, Friday
April 20, Saturday
April 21, Sunday
April 22, Monday