I wasn’t ever going to mention my ex wife, Vonnie, (never say never!) in my blogs, but she is so important to this story that she has to be included. She taught me a lesson that I will never forget, and I’m indebted to her.
It was our first trip to Mexico in 1997, and we had driven somewhere in the morning. Maybe we were getting groceries, or going shell hunting, or just for a drive. It was time to head back to our RV and we were leisurely driving north along the long boulevard that follows the beach at Kino Bay.
Suddenly she shrieked and then exclaimed "There’s a baby running down the street"! And sure enough, there he was, running down the broken sidewalk as fast as his little legs would carry him. I caught a glance as we drove by, but Vonnie’s eyes were glued to the window as we passed. I kept going and she said "We’ve got to go get him so he doesn’t get hurt"!
I was hesitant. We were in a strange country and knew little about the people. I was worried that the locals might think we were trying to abduct the little tyke. I replied "No we’ll keep going, the Mexican might think we are trying to kidnap him" and she shot me a look I will never forget. I was instantly put in my place. Her maternal instincts were aroused and there was no way we were going on without a major confrontation. I meekly turned around.
We found him in the parking lot of a small mini mart, called "Mini Super".
He was milling around looking at things as we pulled up in the pickup and got out. We approached him carefully, not wanting to alarm or scare him, but he was very friendly. He pointed out some things of interest and told us what they were. There was a broken and bent fork laying in the parking lot that had been run over many times. He crouched, pointed and explained. Then to the gas cap of a parked car. Then he showed us an empty candy wrapper, always chatting away. Of course we had no idea what he was really saying, but we got the idea.
Vonnie told me quietly "I’m going to try to pick him up." She carefully walked over near him and knelt down, then held out her arms. He ran right to her and allowed her to pick him up, so much for our concerns. To this day I’m amazed he wasn’t frightened. Vonnie had grayish hazel colored eyes, light skin, and waist length light brown hair. She looked absolutely nothing like a Mexican, most of whom have dark brown/black hair, dark skin, and dark brown eyes.
We started walking back down the street from where the little boy appeared to have come from. I thought for a minute and decided it was time for me to try to talk to him in my halting Spanish. "Donde estas tu madre?" Where is your mother? He pointed further up the street and we continued walking for a full block. There were some Mexicans across the street near the beach and we started to cross. The little boy became a little agitated and pointed back across the street. So we recrossed and continued for another block, but no Mexicans (or anyone else) were in evidence. Finally he said something and pointed up a sidewalk. There was a green screen door with an abierto sign (open) and another small sign that indicated it was a restaurant.
I tried the door, it was latched! So I banged on the door. A man opened the door and his mouth fell open with shock. We had his baby boy and he wordlessly took the baby from Vonnie’s arms. He then invited us in and we sat down. Mom was behind the counter cooking and she almost freaked out when we mentioned we had picked him up at the Mini Super over two blocks away. They had no idea their son was gone, let alone over two blocks away. They had thought he was playing quietly in the apartment that adjoined their restaurant, but he had slipped out. Mom had been doing her hair, and dad was waiting on a customer. The boy had spotted this opportunity and had slipped out the front door. Unknowingly, dad had latched the door and gone back to work. No one new the little guy was gone.
There was another customer sitting there and he got a good chuckle out of this. He told us the boy’s name was Edgar, and he was always trying to sneak out the front door if possible. His parents had put a latch on the door and kept it closed, but Edgar was mighty crafty for someone that young. This wasn’t at all unusual, but he was a bit concerned that Edgar was now wandering so far. The man ate there regularly (because the food was so good) and he was going to have to watch more closely, also.
We settled down to a delicious lunch of roast turkey with enjoyable live entertainment. Edgar busy being a boy.
I’ve never seen these people again. They had moved to Hermosillo, Sonora by the time we returned in 2000. Last I knew, they were all doing fine. Edgar should be 15 years old (March 2010).
The lesson I learned? Help your fellow man, no matter what the circumstances.
How to Rain on Someone’s Christmas-2003
We had been visiting downtown Guasave, Sinaloa doing a minor amount of shopping and checking emails. I have a place I always park near the downtown area. It provides a strait shot drive out of town to where the highway leaves to Playa Las Glorias. So I fire up my Dodge diesel pickup and start fogging down the street to head home. I know the street well and drive it with confidence. It’s getting towards sunset, I’m heading to the trailer 20 miles away in a wee bit of a hurry. Dull so far, right?
It was just after Christmas, and many Mexican families were busy with the gift exchange, "Three Kings Day." There was a large group partying in a driveway next to the road. Suddenly, a young boy started running towards the road and his parents were screaming at him to stop. There was no way he could get in front of me, I was too close. So I continued on at 35mph, that way he couldn’t have time get in my path. As I passed the driveway, I saw why he had been in such a hurry. There was a brief glimpse through the cars parked along the street of his new basketball rolling my way. Too late to evade, stop, or accelerate. Brace for impact.
It couldn’t have been timed better. That ball rolled right under my left front tire. Now bear in mind what I was driving. A 1994 3/4 ton Dodge diesel pickup, the front axle on my rig weights 4,200 lbs with the truck empty except for driver and passenger. That’s 1,200lbs on that one tire. You can imagine what happened to that ball. The BOOM was totally deafening in the narrow walled confines of that street.
If I hadn’t seen that ball, I would have crapped at the sound of that explosion. It would require an immediate stop to find the problem, worried that something in my truck had blown itself to pieces. The steering wheel didn’t wiggle and the suspension never even flexed. The only indication of what had happened would have been that kid and his flattened basketball.
Nothing to do but keep on driving. I never looked back.