Good morning, Mexico
Mornings in our village begin around 5. If we go to the third floor of our townhouse, we can look in several directions and watch the neighborhood come to life.
The first flight of fishermen walk beside the arroyo, on their way to their boats moored on the western shore of Lake Chapala. One optimist pushes a wheelbarrow. They talk quietly. No problem.
Just a little later, big trucks, a long block away, going to or from Guadalajara or some seaport, gear down to carefully work their way over three topes, village landmarks on the highway.
Buses are different. They come to complete stops to pick up passengers. Sometimes they honk for regular riders running late. Restart sounds, shifting gears, are identifiable.
To tell it exactly as it is, some days start earlier than 5. Members of the younger generation are occasionally still trying to find their way home when others are just opening their eyelids. No matter the hour, their music machines are cranked up to concert level. Big bass notes rattle windows. For some reason, those who sing along are always off-key.
Because a pretty teenager lives across the street, designated drivers sometimes slow to the speed of pause to be sure she wakes up and realizes they are thinking of her.
Most mornings, there is no early music — unless you count the calls from one bold rooster and the supporting chatter of hens. Cows mooing and a burro braying in chorus are not offensive sounds. We sort of think we live on the edge of town but the village is a variety package.
Dogs bark before 6 to signal that people are moving on our cobblestone street. Some walk briskly. Some are on bicycles. They are obviously going places. They are almost always carrying something.
At some point the coffee maker turns itself on. Only if we are listening carefully can we hear the faint beep.
This is the time of morning, on the back side of our house, when the sun rises over the far end of the lake. It is an awesome gift from God. Red, pink, orange, yellow, blue and gray changing, mellowing from vivid to soft, spreading gently. Good morning, Mexico.
In observance of some sunrises, if we are really alert, we take photos. Each is better than the previous.
Soon after 7, the gas delivery truck makes a preliminary swing, just in case somebody needs his help with breakfast. The recorded music and sales talk were very disturbing in the beginning. Now, it is a helpful clock, nearly always 7:14.
The early gas truck driver has a sister on our street. He turns off the noise and stops for no more than a minute. Sometimes she stays in the doorway for a brief conversation. Sometimes she hands him a pastry and a cup.
Soon and very soon, the young man who drives the big blue dump truck fires it up and roars away to work, to haul sand and stone.
His father, on a slightly different schedule, has an interesting ritual with his aging Nisson pickup. From the outside, he lowers the window with the palm of his hand and reaches in to unlock the door.
Every day he raises the hood for some minor adjustment, then starts the truck and encourages it to warm up. Next, he steps heavily on the accelerator to be sure the motor is paying attention. He drives away every day with the same rattles and squeaks. He is a good man.
The morning norm is sometimes disrupted by church bells, fireworks, construction crews, strange celebrations and youngsters on the loose before their time.
The early morning is mostly over when fishermen return with their catch, when the bottled water truck visits the village with bell ringing, when the matrons come out in their frocks to sweep dusty cobblestones and exchange information in front of their homes.
Sweeping is a major event in our neighborhood.
The end signal is when the gas truck makes a second run. We become potential customers. We know, by then, the banging and clanging of heavy steel cylinders won't disturb anybody. Well, not much, no more than the Elvis music on the boom box across the way.
Good morning, Mexico. Nice to see and hear you.