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Letter to Aunt Evie
Letter to Aunt Evie
(and to you dear reader)

Only a part of the view from my roof

by Dr David, Editor/Publisher

Dear Aunt Evie,

I hope you are comfortable and well.
I have been meaning to write for a long time. I think about you often. Larry [her son] is closer to me than my own brother and sister, and I have already told you that when I was a boy living next door to you down at the beach each summer you were very important to me, not least for those chocolate birthday cakes you made for me each August.

I am in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. A small town high up, 6,000 feet, in a plain between mountains almost in the center of Mexico. People worry about the danger in Mexico; the danger in San Miguel is that if you go into a real estate office, you are going to buy a house; “$200,000 buys me all of that?!”; Labor and construction (brick and concrete) is cheap, no one has central air conditioning or central heating... Almost no one has air conditioning or heat of any kind, because the climate is perfect. It gets cold overnight during winter and hot during May and June at midday, but it is dry, semi-desert here, so it is not that penetrating cold or humid heat. The rains come (usually a thunderstorm for forty minutes 3-4 times a week) in July and August and cool everything off. The Texans come down then.


Out my window

The food is also perfect. Mexico is a huge country and very, very sunny; everything is always in season somewhere in Mexico. While there is a growing middle class, the great majority of people are poor. So generally the necessities of life, including food, are cheap. I buy most of my fruits and veggies at the weekly organic market. Organic foods taste better; they have a greater variety of mineral salts in them, each of which has a flavor.

Don't get me wrong, you can spend money in San Miguel. There are a lot of restaurants. I've heard that San Miguel is the number one tourist town in Mexico. Year-round it gets more visitors than Acapulco or Cancun, because no one goes to the beach between June and October, because it's an inferno there and the water is too warm to offer any relief. There is a large community of retired gringos from the US and Canada here. Also, on weekends there are a lot of visitors from Mexico City and other Mexican cities. San Miguel is very picturesque with colonial architecture. Yes, there are a lot of restaurants, but generally I prefer my own home cooking.


Veronica

I have a girlfriend, Veronica, from Chile, nineteen years younger than me, head over heels for me and very loving; ¡Viva Mexico! and ¡Viva Chile! I help her sell the woven clothing she makes at the organic market each week. A year and a half ago, when we had just started going together she had a fashion show. The next day she was sad because almost nothing sold. I told her (in Spanish, because she does not speak English,) “Honey, don't worry, the Jews can sell clothes. They wouldn't let us do anything else for a long time. We got very good at it.” Sure enough, the ladies at the market love to see me modeling the different ways to wear the shawls and, gracias a dios (thank G-d), they buy. When they smile and tell me with, as they often do, “That looks good on you.” I reply with a retort Abraham Lincoln used when Stephen Douglas called him “two-faced” during a public debate; “Judge, I'll leave it to the audience to decide, if I had another face, do you think I would be wearing this one?” adding, “If it looks good on me, it will look great on you.” Here are a couple of short videos of her and her work:

I make an event calendar for town, gathering information about (almost) everything that is going on into one calendar on my website www.sanmiguelevents.com There is a man down here, a friend of mine, who used to be one of the top lawyers for Reebok, who not long ago told me, “I hope you don't mind my saying so, but you built a business out of dirt,” from nothing, I guess he meant. All these retired folks are looking for things to do and there are a lot of events (a lot of culture) and it's hard to keep track of them all, even when it's your job, and it is mine. I have 3 (part-time) employees. Gracias a dios, it pays the bills, including the investments I am making into expanding the business. We are starting a calendar of live music – something we didn't have before – and guides to restaurants, galleries, classes, tours... Plus I have plans to replicate in other cities. I also have a magazine online, www.loccal.org. Call me ambitious. I always liked publishing; remember I was editor of my prep school's newspaper? The event calendar is well-received, it gets used a lot and it gets me the the attention I didn't get enough of as a child.

The other morning I woke up and my eyes felt like I had just had a good cry (my pillow was dry,) pleasantly tired around the eyeball, well-washed, like something had been released. I have been working very hard on expanding my event calendar and just now I feel like the expansion is taking off, or like I have been riding my bicycle uphill and the road has just leveled out. But the taking off image is better; after tinkering in the hangar for years, we are rolling down the runway and I can feel the air under my wings. Release, relief is what I feel. It's funny, but some of us have to learn to be happy or successful. Looking back, I've enjoyed great freedom. At Rueben's funeral [my father's cousin, the Cuban side of the family] I told Benny [Rueben's son], “No one told your father what to do.” I can say the same about myself. (I'm sure you'll agree that it is a familiar trait.) Still, it is only very recently that I feel like I have arrived, like I am at home.

I remember my father telling me something your brother Harry told him, that he, Harry, never had to hurry to get anywhere, because he always left early. I remember, I guess because it seems I am always rushing to get somewhere, always feeling I am late to arrive, even when being late is impossible. Only recently, just a few days ago, I left early and took my time. I am giving myself a pat on the back for that one; right hand, left shoulder.


Church and passersby

My home, my house is humble it is on a little dead end (no traffic) right behind a church. There is a wall separating me from the large back patio of the church. I joke, “I'm Jewish, but if I'm wrong, I just have to climb over that wall. Don't tell the rabbi I said that.” I go up on the roof each morning to eat my papaya and watermelon pre-breakfast and do my yoga. I carry it up in a small cotton bag with my small cotton yoga mat folded over my shoulder. Climbing the stairs in sandals, in the sun, carrying my bag, with the yoga mat like a towel or blanket over my shoulder, I often feel like I am back at Old Colony Beach walking down the road to the beach. I can almost see that first rise of sand before the beach drops off to the water. I can imagine that on the other side of that crest there you'll be, seated with my Uncle Gay with plenty of room for me. There was something so easy about those days. All I need is Long Island Sound and you to complete the picture.


Sefira and me a few years ago; my beard is much longer now.

Sefira has a great position at Tulane University in New Orleans. Still no grandchildren.

Have a Freilich'n Pesach [Happy Passover.]

Love,
     David

**************

Dr David formerly published Living Well the first holistic guide to Connecticut, at the rate of up to 150,000 copies per issue in 3 different editons (Hartford, New Haven and Fairfield County.) It featured articles on holistic health.

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