Friday, November 20, 2009

The Road To Aticama, Part 14, Cont.

Good Evening Readers,

It has taken a few weeks to find the time to return to my tale of
adventure. Seems like life has a way of demanding heaps of your time
and energy to just get by for most folks, or

as John Lennon once said "Life is what happens while you are busy
making other plans."

I am writing from Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast where I am doing a
small repair job on my extended families beach home. It is a very stormy and
windy night. The ocean is boiling, loud and magnificent! As different
as one could imagine from that day long ago and far away in the sunny,
sunny warm and lazy days of the Plaza at Vera Cruz Mexico.

I guess that I have always been an emotional person. I choke up at
corny scenes in movies. Some music makes me cry. At times emotion
rolls over me like roller waves for no reason at all, triggered by a
word, a sound, a long gone smell or a movement not expected. When I
left my story last I was having such a moment. This old brown man
sitting next to me in an old Mexican park had touched something that I
had locked away deep inside of me with chains of fear, sorrow,
disappointment and denial. A burning image of a different life I had
lived a decade earlier, the tearing sound of the ambulance siren
moving my young pregnant wife to a hospital ER through streets torn
and broken by the force of a mighty tornado. Smells of natural gas
clinging to the damp early evening air, escaping through pipes broken
by giant tree roots upended along the sidewalks. People crying
everywhere and buildings cracking noise in the dying wind. The look on
Terry’s face as she was rolled so fast through the crowded hall of
suffering people, the ugly bruise left on her middle from the slamming
impact of the jeep’s rollbar hours earlier when we were tossed off the
road by the monster wind. I remember cursing God and the world as I
walked circles in the hallway, pleading to trade my life for that of a
tiny baby’s who yet to take a single breath. But it was over.
Everything changed. The bathroom mirror in the hospital where I was
born decades before showed a lost dream with long crazy hair, bloody
broken teeth and swollen broken right side of my face, permanent storm
brandings. Who was I? I only knew then that the Angel in my heart was
now locked tightly, deeply away.

As the years moved along I found solace in the fact that the World was
busy over breeding itself to a slow death. It became easy to justify
my childless life by saying that I would not be a part of this death
by bringing in “…..another mouth to feed…”

Now, a few random words in another language in a different time and
world had freed this little Angels passion in my soul and it burst out
of me in a flood of tears that shook me hard. This stranger on a park
bench had undone me.

Hearing my crying he spoke to me, words that I can never forget. “Look
around you, you see, this is a very poor country, not rich like yours.
Everywhere things are moving and the people do not have enough to eat
or nice clothes to put on their children but they are happy. Look at
yourself - You are like a rock in the stream. Only watching while all
of this life moves by you. You are afraid to have children because you
say it is wrong to bring into this world another mouth to feed. But I
tell you that a man like you can provide this poor world with a mouth
that feeds!”.

These few, simple words changed my life. Changed in ways that my
friends did not understand. Ways that made everything brighter with
colors I had lost. I don’t remember leaving or saying goodbye to this
blind guy. I do remember walking for miles and miles in the blur of
emotion and loss of my glasses. I knew that I had something that I had
to do and that it would not be easy. My destination was now clear, my
path cloudy and curious. My glasses – well, when I finally arrived
back at camp my glasses were there waiting for me. After I had failed
to return to the sidewalk fish restaurant Michelle, Josh and Jess went
off looking for me, stopping at the eye doctor’s and picking up my
glasses. Things came again into focus as I put them on but now
everything looked different somehow. Michelle looked worried and could
see that I had changed, maybe the look of my new glasses. I was a
coward and did not have the heart to tell her that it was my outlook
on life that had changed. Not yet, but soon she would know.


ps. the photo is of the block in Xenia Ohio that I grew up on, taken right after the 1974 Tornado.


  1. Francis- That was an amazing post. You have a wonderful talent with writing. Your son does as well.

    (I have spoke with you as surfinmexico on George's blog)

  2. That had to be a hard post to write but thank you for sharing it with us.