Friday, March 26, 2010

highs and lows

Today has been a rather odd day -- literally filled with ups and downs.

Yesterday I related the tale (back to school) of our church's donation of a classroom to the primary school in Villa Pinal.

Today was the dedication ceremony for the building.  Lou stopped by on his motor bike to drive me over to the ceremony in my truck.  We had planned on driving to Manzanillo later in the day.

One of the more obvious traditions that Spain left to its colony Mexico is pomp and circumstance.  If there is a ceremony, it will be as formal as the circumstances allow.

This one was no exception.  Not only were the school officials there, the local political figures also showed up.  With plenty of formal introductions and conversation.

I have seen the exact same behavior during my years in Great Britain while attending military functions.  There is no familiar first-name American back-slapping.  It is all about titles and station.

And, of course, the scheduled starting time slipped past with no concern.  There was formal socializing to be conducted.

Even in this small village, the chairs were decorated for the dignitaries with a formal table cloth for the refreshments.  We were even greeted by white-gloved children in uniforms.  I almost felt as if I could be the King of Spain's third cousin.

At the appointed time, the children lined up in formal rows and a color guard presented the Mexican bandera -- along with the long version of the Mexican national anthem: Himno Nacional Mexicano.  A rather rousing tune, rendered with the gusto and tunelessness of children.

A young girl then led all of us in the pledge of allegiance to the Mexican flag.

I did not see one postmodern hesitation by anyone.  Everyone saluted in the stiff right arm Roman salute, and recited the pledge from the heart.

Mexicans love their flag.  They love their country.

Seven-year old Antonio then stepped forward and read a letter (that was almost as large as he is) to the representatives of San Patricio by the Sea -- telling us how much the children appreciated the classroom, and what it means to the community.

Antonio has the makings of a community leader.  He read solemnly and deliberately.  But there was nothing mechanical or teleprompted about his message.

He said what he meant -- and meant what he said.  (If that is not too Seussical.)

The ribbon on the front of the building was cut.  Our pastor said a prayer.  And the ceremony was over.

At that point, all formality disappeared as we chatted and ate an incredible fruit salad along with cookies.  For this community, it was the equivalent of champagne and caviar.  And far more appreciated.

Lou and I, along with another friend who required an x-ray, then headed south to Manzanillo.  It was nice to be a passenger and see the landscape that zooms past me on my weekly drives.

I had two tasks: pick up my mail and buy a few groceries.  After buying some gasoline for the truck, my pre-injury peso supply was exhausted.  I will now ration out the few dollars I have over the next three-week period before I head north.  I certainly hope my transmission holds up that long.

On the way out of town, we stopped for lunch.  Where I managed to get down three of the five steps in the restaurant without incident.  The fourth tripped me up.

Fortunately, I did not fall all the way to the ground with my crutches, but I did hit the step hard with my bandaged foot.  Hard enough that I felt the splint move.

The surgeon asked me to see him two weeks post-surgery in Puerto Vallarta.  Unfortunately, he is not associated with any of our local doctors.  But I may stop by to see my local doctor on Friday.  Just to be certain there is nothing I need to do now.  It would not be good (to indulge in understatement) to have the healing process go bad at this stage.

I am now back at the house.  My foot is propped up as I write.  Hoping I can avoid any further drama with this injury.


Anonymous said...

The school looks great, and will provide an bright and airy environment for learning. So important in a country with most citizens under 18 yrs. of age. Great post, it made my morning.
Slow down and focus on the crutches, when I injure myself, it's usually because I'm moving too fast.

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Hey Steve! Maybe you should get another xray just to make sure you haven't dislodged the ends of the 2 bones that you are trying to get to grow back together. If you hit hard enough to feel the splint move, it's possible you tweaked the alignment of the bone ends. That wouldn't be good.
Have a great day!

Darrel said...

What part of “REST IN BED WITH YOUR FOOT ELEVATED” do you not understand? I’m surprised you didn’t try to ride on the back of Lou’s motor bike to Villa Pinal with crutches in hand. You are acting like me and YOU should have better sense. I love the before and after pictures of the school. They show what a difference a little community effort came make.
Oh, did I mention you should REST IN BED WITH YOUR FOOT ELEVATED.

Tancho said...

As you started the story and said that you got on the motor bike...I finished the story in my head, luckily my story was wrong.
So, you are going to drive how many hours a day with your foot elevated?

Steve Cotton said...

Francisco -- My fall yesterday was the result of hubris. I was crowing about my ability to deal with stairs -- and BOOM.

Mexican Trailrunner -- The fracture was mended with crews and pins. The splint was designed to merely immobilize my ankle. Perhaps I need to immobilize me. I hope to see Doctora Rosa later today just for a quick look. I will publish the x-rays soon -- when I can figure out how to photograph them.

Darrel -- Not to sound like a Beatle, but: yeah, yeah, yeah. I know all that. At least, you had the advantage of young bones and a sense of balance.

Tacho -- A tragic fall from the motor bike would have been a good tale. Alas, my fall was in the generic senor citizen category.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything Darrel said, his advise and the comment on the school room.

The dedication ceremony was very interesting.


Steve Cotton said...

Mom --

Of all the things I did yesterday, th dedication ceremony is something I would not have wanted to miss.

Nita said...

I loved what you said about the "tunelessness"of the children. I have many happy memories of the times I've listened to the same thing in sidewalk cafes from children hoping to get a peso.

Joe S. said...

Steve I just got back from a week in DisneyWorld, sorry to read of your misfortune! But since I'm in the medical biz & I'm your age, what was the peso payout for your disaster & how did the Mexican medical insurance system work in this case. Hope your computer access holds up.

el jubilado said...

Hey Steve ... now yer out in my neighborhood (Pinal Villa). Did you stop by to see my place just a few blocks from the school. I've been watching the construction over the last few months but didn't know who funded it. Congrats and thanks

1st Mate said...

As complex a mechanism as an ankle is, I'm wondering if an x-ray wouldn't be a bad idea, just to see if anything has been knocked loose. Hope your trip north is going to work out OK.

Anonymous said...

The school looks awesome. Hope your fall didn't hurt your ankle further . Take care.

Steve Cotton said...

Nita -- And it was not meant as a criticism, merely as an observation.

Joe S. -- More coming. Including some shoddy photographs of x-rays. You will be surprised at costs.

El Jubilado -- I wish I knew where your lot was, and I wold have stopped by. I guess I could have asked around.

1st Mate -- I will be going north for a followup in a week. I managed to trip in the bathroom today. I am turning out to be a terrible patient -- probably to no one's surprise.

Anonymous -- The school classroom is quite impresive -- especially when compared with what it replaces.