Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Three Day Slump

            The Three Day Slump
            Typically, I go into a three-day slump, depression, the doldrums, call it what you will, when a friend leaves.

            Karen flies back to Floweree (a few houses perched at the end of that gravel road on the way to Great Falls) tomorrow. Ten days later my cousin Nancie leaves for Sedro Woolley in Washington but she’ll return in June. I’ll barely have recovered from Nancie abandoning me, when Crin, who arrived last Monday, goes back to Victoria. Jim plans to drive back to Missouri that same week.

            Carol said she probably will be here through April. She also said she will tie me down and keep me away from heights and sharp objects.  Fortunately, about the time Carol and John fly out, Kathy will fly in.

            Doesn’t matter. I’ll still go through three days of feeling abandoned when each friend leaves.

            Our small community of Americanos here at the Rancho becomes “family”, almost by default. Interestingly, five of us actually knew each other before establishing homes in this corner of our quite traditional Mexican town. I’m getting to know the rest of the group. (“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you”—a two-edged sword if ever there was one.)

Our situation is similar to homesteading. We have plots instead of acreage. We live across the street or around the corner from one another. We are all busily improving our places. How are we like homesteaders? We depend on one another, that’s how.

This afternoon Nancie cooked a simple but delicious meal for all the women, a going away party, for Karen. We filled our plates but had to wait for the photographers, one and all, to take pictures. Crin said, “This isn’t a meal; it’s a photo shoot.”

Jim came by to see when Karen was leaving so he could say good-bye. He had gotten a call from Martina, a woman in town he’s known for three years. She was having an emotional crisis. They are good friends but neither has much of the other’s language. “How do you communicate?” I asked.

“Hugs are the same in any language.” That’s the kind of person Jim is. That’s the kind of people we are.

I’m not implying we are all kootchie-koo with one another. Like it or not, we are “family”. We are well aware of one another’s warts, wrinkles and fault lines. 

Just ask me; I can tell you. (Oops, yes, that is one of my own character defects.) But we have managed to develop a great degree of acceptance. When any of us need help, my neighbors rush to the rescue.

This is just my opinion. I think we start with tolerance, move into acceptance and finally evolve into community. The people who years ago built the casitas we now inhabit were all of similar background. We newcomers couldn’t be more diverse. And we actually like each other, snarls and all.

While my classmates were here for our reunion, Sharon came to me one morning. She gave me a huge hug and said, “Sondra, we are so glad to see you and your home. Now we know you are safe, happy and have good people to help you. We worried; we were scared for you when you moved, all alone, to Mexico.”

            One by one, in the next few days, other classmates came to me with much the same message. I hadn’t realized they cared so deeply.

            The inhabitants of our little corner of the Rancho took my friends to their hearts, carried us back and forth to town and on trips of discovery in the area. Folks in town did the same; interested in knowing who we are, where we came from, why we are here, even inviting us into their homes. 

            Jim is right. Hugs are the same in any language. I’ll bet hugs are the perfect pill for my three day slump.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

March 9, 2017

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