‘Da Trip

I’m sitting here, researching Florida corona virus and trying to find out if there’s a check point on I 75 going into Florida. My son and I are driving to Florida next week to visit second son and daughter-in-law. And why, you may ask, am I driving into Florida with cases surging there? Because my daughter-in-law asked me to come. As did second son. So I’m going, armed with hand sanitizers and masks.

I will also, no doubt, be going to visit my previous husband and his wife, armed with hand sanitizers and mask. Why am I doing that – the visiting part, not the mask/hand sanitizers part? Because I am a good mother who endeavors to keep her family happy. And ex and I have been divorced for longer than we were married, and because it’s a family tradition of sorts. Ex is also nearing 80 and had open-heart surgery a year ago, and, well, maybe this is the last time I’ll get to say hello.

Older son is mostly driving. I’ll take over from time to time, but we’re driving straight through, unless of course, Florida’s borders are again having checkpoints for people entering Florida. But mostly for those coming down from higher on the East Coast, New York, etc. which isn’t us. So maybe we won’t get caught in the backup.

My current husband can’t go as he’s still teaching summer school, but he has, vigorously, reminded me to always wear a mask, especially at ex’s house, and to keep my distance. He doesn’t even let me go grocery shopping with him, and here I am, venturing down to Florida. My most important protection for this journey is my oldest son who is precise and careful and will not let me go astray as much as I’m inclined to do. Actually, second son is careful of me, too, but he hasn’t had as much experience in ordering me about as oldest son.

And all I really want to do is sit here at my computer and work on the Mexico book which is exhaustive with details stored in a variety of journals going back to 1984 when I first went down there to make a movie. And stayed. For three years.

But what else am I going to do? First book is at the publishers. As usual, I’m going backwards. But first book was easier as it detailed just one year. The Mexico book covers at least three or four. I’ve sort of lost count and have tried at various times to write it to no avail. Maybe because there’s so much. Although writing the second-book-time-wise-first taught me a lot about writing, so maybe it was a good idea. Who knows. This writing thing is such a crazy process. I’m planning on taking a couple of the Mexico journals with me to read on the trip and a supply of post-it tabs to mark relevant passages. I suppose that’s useful.

I have, along with journals, several pieces of various things I brought back with me from Mexico and which now sit in three shelves on a corner bookcase in my writing room. I suspect this room was designed as the children’s playroom and perhaps bedroom. The door is a double door, I expect so a mother could open the top section and see what enclosed kids are up to. That door is now securely attached to the bottom door by second son, whom I’m going to visit, by two metal bars so now one only opens one door instead of each section separately which each have a know. He lived here a few years ago and got tired of opening each section. Ergo, bolted them to one.

The corner shelves hold Mexican treasures: a glass box with a door that opens to a glass tube sitting on a cork. Inside the glass tube is a very strange horned creature with a monkey sitting on its head. The glass tube is about two inches tall so you can imagine how small the characters are inside.

Another treasure is an ofrenda table, about 3 inches long and an inch wide and with tiny cups and loaves of bread and and what look like sweet bread and a skull. All in three inches. An ofrenda table (full sized) is set up in homes on October 31st for three days to celebrate the Days of the Dead and the deceased family members. Oh, my. Here I go with another story: when I lived in Mexico, I made friends with an American woman who was on sabbatical from her university job and came to Mexico to do research. She had a car and we drove out to a small village outside Mexico City and walked the street of food vendors and masks and noise etc etc, until we came to the cemetery beside a small stone church. It was silent. I can still see the tall candles at corners of graves and on one grave near the gate, an old woman in black sitting on the raised stone edge with a sleeping child across her lap.

Yeah. I need to write the Mexico book. It haunts me.

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