Jeff Smith 12:15 p.m., April 24
- Community Blog
- TJ from PB
Granny came into my life a couple of months ago with the subtlety of an armed narco-commando raid. Which is exactly what led to her arrival at my Palacial Wooden Shack (PWC). The 88 year old woman had been living in a single room dwelling that was part of an extended family compound in a west-central Mexican state. Apparently, a young nephew had taken up with a local street gang. A dispute with other local narco thugs at a nearby park led to a 'hit', which led to a running gun battle. Masked gunmen chased the nephew's homeboy, who ran to the closest house he knew of. The nephew's compound. Which was where he was killed. As the assassins searched the compound for other rival members they burst into Granny's room. The time was just after 3am. According to Granny and others, "That is the hour when Los Encapuchados (The masked ones) come to kill." I thought this rather interesting because I'd once read somewhere that military research had shown 3am is the hour when most humans are at their groggiest. It's the hour when your trained to attack - If you have military or police training. Granny did not arrive alone. Let me see now, all told there were four adults, two teenagers and three children squeezed into my PWC. That would be a total of nine scared, hungry, tired people wondering what they'd done to deserve their present situation. My significant other was still explaining this to me as I walked into my bedroom. Granny was sitting in Trini's rocking chair. She stood up as quickly as an 88 year old lady could and came toward me; "I'm so sorry to disturb you Senor. But the masked ones came to my room. I told them, 'Why do you come into my room? Why do you want to hurt me? I have done nothing to you...'" That last line, combined with the frightened look on her face, pierced my heart like an obsidian tipped arrow. If ever there was a chant for the poor, long suffering, put upon, exploited lower class masses in Mexico it is 'Why do you want to hurt me? I have done nothing to you...' Granny had spoken for a nation. Suffice it to say, :The Refugees" as I came to call them were told they could stay as long as they wanted. I figured as jangled nerves settled, they would drift back south to the family compound. Meantime, Granny took up a spot on our porch and spent most of her waking hours watching the world from the grapevine shrouded location. Trini had casually mentioned to Granny that I was very protective of my grapevines. Granny took it upon herself to be the sheriff of the grapes. The grapes weren't quite ripe yet but were so close that daily squeezings were becoming the norm. Whenever any of the juvenile refugees came close to the bright green clusters her voice would explode from where she sat hidden amongst the vines; "Don't touch those grapes! Those are El Senor's grapes!" One morning I arrived home from washing dishes at The French Gourmet. I had been waiting in anticipation of the day the first bunch would be ripe and today was the day. I paused by the ripest looking cluster and reached for the Merlots. A voice stopped my hand inches from juicy joy. "Don't touch those grapes! Those grapes belong to El Senor!" Did I mention that Granny is partially deaf and blind? "But Granny," I pleaded. "I am El Senor!" "What!" she shouted back. "Don't give me any of your excuses child! I said don't touch El Senor's grapes!" I sighed, pulled my hand away, and headed toward my home office/man cave. Grapeless, but content in knowing my crop was well protected. Good looking out, Granny. COFFEE'S READY, GOTTA GO!!!...