Tuesday, February 05, 2013

eating the frog on holy ground

Melaque has several tourist waves -- the cast of characters changing with the seasons.

We are hip deep in visitors from above the Rio Bravo this month.  The last two months really.  January and February. 

The average age in town tends to climb commensurate with a decline in the melanin count.

One of the nice things about having guests in town is the choice of food in restaurants increases.  In the hopes of getting Canadians (and assorted other diners) to drop a few more pesos in the local economy.

The restaurant around the corner from my house -- La Rana (The Frog) -- falls in that category.  It opens in early November and then stacks its tables in April or so.

Right now we are in high restaurant season.  And The Frog is in fine form.

I ate all three meals there today.  With the best saved for the evening.

I told you about the improvement in this year's menu in chicken with a flair.  The cook, Ada, has been attending culinary courses in Manzanillo.  And I have enjoyed the fruit of her skills.

Tonight it was my favorite.  Pollo Jamaica.  Chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and walnuts topping a pool of a tangy hibiscus sauce. 

It helps that the chicken is Mexican.  It is as tasty and fresh as the chickens of my youth -- dispatched and cooked by my grandmother.  With the type of lethal intent that would have the CIA shut down these days.  The dispatching, that is.

Do you ever have those moments when everything seems to slip together perfectly?  And unexpectedly?  This was one of those nights.

The restaurant was filled.  Knots of diners enjoying simply being alive.

When I entered, I noticed that the rather mediocre guitarist I wrote about in tuning up my attitude was strumming and warbling away.  I almost retreated.  It would have been a mistake if I had.

He was actually good.  Even though his repertoire ran to the touristy -- My Way and Time to Say Goodbye.  In Spanish.

Then a man and woman stood up, pulled each other close, and danced.  They have probably been married decades.  But they danced as if they were on their first date.  No.  That's not it.  They danced as if they shared a mature love.  The love that knows the songs that they each sing.  The stories that they have each lived.

And that brought to mind one of my favorite scenes in Peter Schaffer's Amadeus.  Salieri relates his reaction to the premiere of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro -- after trying to subvert its production.

So Figaro was produced in spite of me.  And in spite of me, a wonder was revealed.  One of the true wonders of art.  The restored third act was bold and brilliant.  The fourth was a miracle.

I saw a woman disguised in her maid's clothes hear her husband speak the first tender words he has offered her in years, only because he thinks she is someone else.  I heard the music of true forgiveness filling the theatre, conferring on all who sat there a perfect absolution.  God was singing through this little man to all the world -- unstoppable.
That is exactly how I felt sitting there watching the celebrating patrons.  The dancing couple.  The surprisingly entertaining guitarist.

I just let it wash over me.  God's absolution in our every day lives.  There is nothing to call it but holy ground.

As I sit here writing, I am listening to Mozart's Serenade in B Flat.  Hanging on to the moment of a very special night. 

And reminding myself that holy moments surround us.  All we need to do is be receptive to them.

Note -- I thought you might enjoy sharing a bit of Mozart.

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