El Ojo del Lago - December 2021

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 D IRE C TOR Y  PUBLISHER David Tingen

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Victoria A Schmidt

EDITOR EMERITUS

Index... 54 COVER STORY “On Christmas Morn He Came” a fable by Charles N. Baumhauer. Enchants us with how a young girl was tempted by the dark side of magic.

Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez Tel: (01376) 765 3676, 765 2877 Fax: (01376) 765 3528 Graphic Design Roberto C. Rojas Reyes Diana Parra Morales Special Events Editor Carol D. Bradley Proofreader Jan Manning Theater Critic Michael Warren Book Review Panel Margaret Van Every Margaret Porter Clare Gearhart Roving Correspondent Dr. Lorin Swinehart

Sales Manager Bruce Fraser Carmene Berner ADVERTISING OFFICE Av. Hidalgo # 223, Chapala Mon. thru Fri. 9 am - 5 pm Sat. 9 am - 1 pm Tel. 01 (376) 765 2877, 765 3676 Fax 01 (376) 765 3528 Send all correspondence, subscriptions or advertising to: El Ojo del Lago www.chapala.com elojodellago@gmail.com

08 “An Exclusive Tequila Tour Like No Other,” Carole Baker describes Jaltepec’s latest fundraiser, a unique private tour to the NE into the red dirt where Don Julio’s tequileria produces their fantastic tequila. 10 BOOK REVIEW: Herbert Piekow reviews the newest book by prolific writer Michael Hogan; “Women of the Irish Rising; A People’s History.” Yanni a professor of Humanities at NYU declares that this book “engages the mind, lifts the spirit and moves the heart.” Hogan writes in depth about the intimate knowledge of some of the women who organized and fought alongside their male counterparts, even though some of the men only reluctantly acknowledged the women for their zeal, knowledge and bravery.

By Christian Itiel Villa Castañeda LCS Childrens Art Program

COLUMNS THIS MONTH

14 “Why This Lakeside Curmudgeon Still Loves the Holiday Season,” Don Beaudreau shares the reasons why he enjoys the season here in Mexico.

06 Editorial Page

20 “Love in the Time of COVID.” Bernie Suttle shares a love story. That ends with a surprising twist.

18 Vexations and Conundrums

22 Tom Nussbaum shares his special Christmas colors in his piece “A Pink and Purple Christmas”

24 If Pets Could Talk

30 “El Dorado Part III The Conquest of Peru” Bob Drynan continues his stories of Mexico from Mirage de El Dorado.

26 Profiling Tepehua

32 “Juan Manuel de Solórzano” David Ellison explains the street names of Mexico. 38 Timothy G. Ruff Welch, Musical Director of Los Cantantes del Lago “Brings Singing Back to Lakeside” by Linda Goldman et.al. Timothy is profiled here telling us a little more about his own background. 46 “Remembrances of two Horses and another time and place.” Dr. Lorin Swinehart poignant revisitation of his youth through telling us about his two horses. 50 Barbara Hildt writes about “Getting to Know Our Souls.” And presents us with a formula of how to get in touch with our inner souls. 52 “Life in the Texas Hill Country” Linda Steele shares her experiences as she learns the terrain and the dangers of bike riding in the Texas Hill country. 62 “Celebrating Winter Solstice.” Pat Guy shares with us the internal meaning and history that celebrating the winter solstice brings to her.

Ave. Hidalgo 223 (or Apartado 279), 45900 Chapala, Jalisco Tels.: 376 765 3676, Fax 376 765 3528 PRINTING: El Debate El Ojo del Lago aparece los primeros cinco días de cada mes. (Distributed over the first five days of each month) Certificado de Licitud de Título 3693 Certificado de Licitud de Contenido 3117. Reserva al Título de Derechos de Autor 04-2011-103110024300-102 Control 14301. Permisos otorgados por la Secretaría de Gobernación (EXP. 1/432 “88”/5651 de 2 de junio de 1993) y SEP (Reserva 171.94 control 14301) del 15 de enero de 1994. Distribución: Hidalgo 223 Chapala, Jalisco, México. All contents are fully protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without the written consent of El Ojo del Lago. Opinions expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the views of the Publisher or the Editor, nor are we responsible for the claims made by our advertisers. We welcome letters, which should include name, address and telephone number.

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COVER IMAGE

VOLUME 38 NUMBER 4

El Ojo del Lago / December 2021

28 Front Row Center 34 Lakeside Living 40 Verdant View 42 Unsung Heroes 44 Astrolynx


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COLUMNIST

Editor’s Page By Victoria Schmidt

We cannot move!

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ast Monday I took a cab from the corner of Farmacia Guadalajara in Ajijic, to my doctor’s office in Riberas. Traffic was

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crawling in each direction bumper-tobumper. Usually, it opens up around the horrible and dangerous intersection at Walmart. But it did not. Both sides of the street were clogged as we went east toward Chapala. It was still clogged past Super Lake, and Paninos. It didn’t start moving until a block before San Antonio Hospital. The return trip was not much better. Cabs and ubers are taking lateral roads, and back roads through town, but still, they must at some point reach the Carretera. At Lakeside we have grown used to tianguis traffic, and the weekend invasion of the Guadalajara visitors to their Lakeside homes. The high season brings back more people and more traffic, but it is now the clogged season. There are simply too many people on the road. Too many two-car households. Too few using the ciclopista which helped to narrow the road and cause parking and driving problems. Too many motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic. It’s getting dangerous out there. The stop lights don’t work, and it can take weeks or months to fix them. Why? The infrastructure in this area was not made to handle the population. And yet developers keep on coming. The only thing “Magic” about Ajijic is if you can make it from one end to the other in under an hour. “Rush hour” traffic doesn’t exist. t’s “Rush day.” All day. Pedestrians are making it safely across the streets, but where there are stop lights, drivers do not wait before entering the intersection. The streetlights turn green, but traffic is still at a stand - still because there are cars still sitting in the middle of the intersection. Don’t do that! It blocks traffic both ways…those waiting to enter cannot. I have sat through two maybe three turns of the traffic light before I can get through to make my turn onto the street. That’s not right.

We are all smart enough to know we need to wait for a car length to open up before we cross into the intersection when the traffic is bumper-tobumper. And the horns. Please. When the line is kilometers long beeping your horn isn’t going to move the traffic. So now desperate drivers are taking matters into their own hands. When the opposite lane seems free they will drive as far ahead as they can and either try to re-enter the traffic lane or turn off the road at a street. Or people are driving the parking areas as far as they can to get onto the Carretera. Especially in Riberas. As the locals say, muy peligroso, very dangerous. Of course, all the use of the alternate roads isn’t helping to keep them in shape. Holes are getting larger and deeper. And the residents are not happy about the diverted traffic. And yet the developers keep coming. They destroy the beauty that was our area by developing the hills. Their trucks ruin the road, their wells dig down into the hills, their development diverts the natural path of the water during the rainy season, and when we experience huge tormentos, about one every 10-15 years, landslides not only damage the hills, and run into and across the Carretera, but they take with them the homes of those who live on the mountain and hills. Hundreds of homes were damaged this year, thankfully no one was killed by the storm itself, but many people had no choice to remain in the wet homes while they tried to repair the damage and grew desperately ill. What can be done? First of all, we need to take responsibility for our part of the problem. Drive only when necessary. Limit the amount of driving. Limit the number of vehicles we own, use alternative transportation when we can. Carpool, and obey the traffic laws. We need to let our public liaisons know that they need to figure a way out of the problems with the traffic. What are our government officials doing about it? Can’t they change the lights more swiftly when they go out? Can’t they put traffic police out into the intersections that get clogged up? Can a traffic task force be put together to identify the areas with the most problems and address them for more solutions? We moved here 16 years ago, before Walmart and Centro Laguna. Before more developments were built. And at least for me, Ajijic has lost its “magic.” Victoria Schmidt


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clusive facilities to help us raise money to benefit the students at Centro Educativo Jaltepec. At present we are offering these dates: Thursday December 16th and Saturday January 15th. The February and March dates are to be announced at a later time.

An Exclusive Tequila Tour Like No Other Submitted by Carole Baker Assistant Community Facilitator for Jaltepec. Centro Educativo Jaltepec, the only institution in Mexico to grant a Technical Degree in Hoteleria and Hospitalidad is introducing a fundraising venture that will continue to help us support the students of Jaltepec. These young Mexican women will benefit from an education that will guide them towards their future success and TRANSFORM THEIR LIVES. This will not be your usual tequila tour! It is NOT a tour to the town of Tequila. The Rancho Tequila Reserva de los González is located in the red highlands of Jalisco northeast of Ajijic, and southeast from Guadalajara near the town of Atotonilco el Alto. It is a unique opportunity to enjoy a private excursion to a family owned Tequilera and Hacienda. The Tequila Reserva de los González has never been open to the public. They have provided their ex-

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The all-inclusive event costs $3500 pesos which includes transportation in a clean, modern, luxury 16 seat van limited to 10 guests in each vehicle, with a maximum of 3 vans for departure once a month. There will be a tour of the facilities, a delicious four course catered lunch with wine and refreshments, a full linen service and elegant table settings, and, most certainly, a tequila tasting experience! All COVID protocols will be followed, and the transportation company offers insurance for the travelers during the trip. For your personal well-being during COVID, those who wish can put together a Pod of ten friends they feel comfortable with. The tour leaves from the Centro Laguna Mall at 9:30 AM with check in at 9:15 AM, and Linda Buckthorp, our Community Facilitator for Jaltepec, will be there to greet you and, following COVID protocols, do a temperature check, apply hand gel, and take your tickets before boarding and escorting you onto the van. This is a wonderful opportunity for yourselves and friends or family who may be visiting you to have a “not your usual tequila tour!” Sandra González, Administrative Coordinator and Montserrat (Montse) González, our Fundraising Coordinator, will personally receive our guests upon arrival at the Tequilera. The tour will be hosted by Juan Manuel González García, son of Don Julio González, the original founder of the business in 1942, and a partner in the Tequila Reserva de los González and Club Tequila Colección Privada founded in 2009. It will be a very exclusive and special opportunity to visit the facilities. The tour of the plant will include an explanation and demonstration of the process of making tequila. In addition, Juan Manuel will share the legacy and pictures of his father, Don Julio, which are displayed in the Tequilera. Some of the private cellars will be opened for the guests so you can see how they look inside. He will also be accompanied by his daughter, Montse. Following the tour of the Tequilera, the tequila tasting event is a highlight Juan Manuel and Montse. before lunch, when our host will explain the special characteristics of each type of tequila. You will be served fruit, ‘totopos’ and guacamole to accompany the tequila tasting. Another treat is a local lady whose job it is to ‘tortear’ which means to make fresh tortillas, quesadillas and ‘sopes’ with fresh ground corn or ‘masa’ grown in the red soil of the highlands, which gives the masa an extra special taste. The cheese is also a specialty of the area which adds to the flavor of the quesadillas. They are the most amazing tortillas that you will ever taste! The delicious catered lunch, with refreshments and desserts will be impeccably served inside the spacious facilities with a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape. Tequila Reserva de los González has hosted two previous tours in October and November. All the guests expressed their appreciation and mentioned that they were very honored to be at the Tequilera and that the service had been to their complete satisfaction. It is sure to be a unique and unforgettable experience. Please contact: Linda Buckthorp: buckthorplm@gmail.com phone 33 3407 8193


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Women of the Irish Rising; a People’s History Book Review by Herbert W. Piekow

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ost of us know Michael Hogan as a writer of history, philosophy and as a teacher; particularly we know him as the author of the bestselling, Irish Soldiers of Mexico, which was the basis of an MGM movie as well as three documentaries. He is also a scholar, teacher and author of more than 23 books. His latest published book about women of the Irish Rising is well researched, educational and a delight to read. “Women of the Irish Rising, engages the mind, lifts the spirit and moves the heart.” These are the words of Robert Di Yanni, Professor of Humanities, New York University. After reading Hogan’s book I can only agree by encouraging you to read this book yourself. In his book the reader learns not only about the Irish fight for free determination after four hundred years of British subjugation, but we do so through the brave actions of women, not all of whom were Irish by birth. Women share the stage with men through journals, letters, interviews, newspaper reports of The Rising and photographs. Almost everyone has read about the 1916 Easter Rebellion, as we studied this in school. Hogan reminds his audience that Europe was at war and the British were stretched thin ruling a vast overseas empire and fighting a European war. He shows his readers how the Germans helped the Irish cause by supplying arms, munitions and explosives. As a student of history I particularly appreciated Hogan’s use of the newspaper, photographs and personal stories. In Women of the Irish Rising, the reader gets intimate knowledge of some of the women who organized and fought alongside their male counterparts, even though some of the men only reluctantly acknowledged the women for their zeal, knowledge and bravery. Countess Constance Markiewicz, who at six feet two

inches is a larger than life character who was not only a leader in the Irish Citizen Army, but she was an educated landowner, a sharpshooter, explosives expert, wounded veteran and elected Member of the British Parliament. Hogan has written this not as a history book nor as a novel, but as a book about strong, mostly unknown people, in this case Irish women, who believed in an ideal and were willing to sacrifice, even their lives, to affect a change. Yes, the women in this book are not just idealists, they are also in history at the right time and they are brave, strong intelligent people. They appear at a time in history when there is better communication, expanding education opportunities and a European War to help their cause. The Women of the Irish Rising were willing to sacrifice to affect change and yes, sometimes this meant violence. This was an era of exposé, violence and social change throughout the world, in the Congo, Mexico, Russia, China and Europe. Yes, the characters in Hogan´s book are mostly women but without them there probably wouldn´t have been a successful Irish Independence Movement, instead most likely a sort of IrishBritish co-existence. As it was the women who, in many instances led or at least educated the men, and certainly trained many how to fire rifles, plant and detonate explosives and to use the media. Countess Constance Markiewicz, a lieutenant in the Irish Volunteers was Continued on page 12

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From page 10

a wealthy noblewoman who used her position and impressive six feet two inches of height to her advantage. She not only supported the Irish movement, but she supplied arms, ammunition and, as a sharpshooter, she trained Irish boys and men. Rosa Hachet kept a detailed account of her activities in her journal. She was co-founder of The Irish Women Workers Union and a member of the Irish Citizens Army, a trained medic and she secretly transported arms, no easy feat when British soldiers constantly stopped, searched and arrested men, boys, young girls and women. Yet, Rosa like so many were willing to risk their dignity and lives for a cause they deemed greater than themselves. Margaret Keogh, the First Martyr of The Rising, in her nurse’s uniform was shot by the British while aiding the wounded. Her death helped galvanize the millions of US people of Irish descent because she was the niece of Captain Myles Keogh of the US Seventh Cavalry who had died with General Custer at Little Big Horn. Hogan’s research includes the first-

hand accounts of the Woman Warrior, Margaret Skinnider, who in her book, Doing my Bit for Ireland, describes her learning how to plant incendiary and explosive devices. She was also a commander of a sniper team which concentrated on eliminating British machine gun emplacements and she was shot three different times. Margaret Skinnider, a sharpshooter, declared in her book, “every shot we fired was a declaration to the world that Ireland, a small country but large in our hearts, was demanding her independence.” This book is more like a firsthand report on the Irish struggle and nothing like a history book. There was not universal support from the populace as 140,000 Irishmen in British uniforms were fighting the Germans on the Continent and there was the fear that because of the Easter Rebellion more young Irish men would be conscripted to the British forces. The first radio broadcast, “in history” occurred because the British troops destroyed the telephone and telegraph lines from Dublin and at the same time this broadcast created a media conflict because it contradicted the front page of the New York Times front page story that had been supplied by officials of the British. Hogan’s book is well researched, documented with quotes, enhanced with photos, is an easy read, and at the same time it is both educational and entertaining. Women of the Irish Rising; a People’s History is available through Amazon or, at any of his public appearances such as LCS Open Circle on December 19th and at Diane Pearl’s. Herbert W. Piekow

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Why This Lakeside Curmudgeon Still Loves The Holiday Season By Don Beaudreau wbeaudreau@aol.com

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appy Holiday to one and all, however you might celebrate it! Whatever your religious tradition (or lack of one), cultural influence, philosophical belief, or life experience. Whatever your sorrow, frustration, fear, confusion, or anger. Whatever your joy, expectation, excitement, amazement, or astonishment. It is a season so very rich in images, memories, hopes and emotions. For some of us, it is overwhelming. Too much of a good thing, or too little of a good thing. What I have learned is to let go of my expectations or desires. Or at least to try to let go of them. To go with the flow, be centered, and not control others. You know, all that “stuff” you read about in trendy articles on the internet. But it is not so easy to do that, especially for a curmudgeon like me! It seems that the more some of us try to go with the flow, the more we blow! We

explode our emotions all over the place. Memories (sweet or upsetting) come back to us. Or we create fearful expectations about the future. Nevertheless, I love this season because its symbols speak of hope and possibility, even for this self-professed curmudgeon. Here are some examples of what I mean: Angels I believe there are angels among us all the time. But what exactly is an angel? Here is how I suggest we can tell if we bump into one: Angels deny they are angels. They don’t all have wings or halos or smiles – those are only the ones who l i k e to dress up. Angels don’t expect anything in return for services rendered. They don’t always tell us what we want to hear. Oh, yes, every once in a while, we think we hear their voice; And every once in a while, we think we see them! Angels aren’t all called Michael or Gabriel. We might even be angels and not realize it. Yes, angels are here among us, Giving us gifts beyond measure: Gifts of humor when we think the sun will never shine again; Passion when we believe we are unlovable; Inspiration when our life force wanes; Confidentiality when we can’t tell anyone else our secrets; Forgiveness when we so sorely need it; Advice when we don’t know which direction to turn; Frankness when we try to tell less than the truth about who we really are; And the gift of just being there when we are so very alone. You see, the angels are people who care about us. This is their message as they sing over the Bethlehem infant, Hover at the bedsides of those who suffer greatly, Walk hand-in-hand with those whose lives this year have been very tough, And who are there as a source of strength and understanding when life doesn’t seem to make any sense. Yes, angels are real, and they can bring joy to us every day of the year if only we let them into our lives. Truly, the angels are among us! The Star Beyond human imagining, In a place and at a time we will never know, A star exploded – Sparking a fire that lit up the sky, That lit up stars and planets in other places At other times from our own. And the earth, too, was bedazzled after a while. This little spinning orb lost in space encountered this great light! All the while “time” or what we call “time” Continued with human events, great and small, Each having its own brief period then dying with the light. This great light was the same light Homer saw An untold number of millennia after the star blew apart. And 3,000 years after Homer, that light shining over the Bethlehem manger was only half as bright, And now 5,000 years after Homer, we moderns no longer see the light – It burns somewhere else! The same light creating more legends for others “out there” Or so we can suppose, but what do we know? How can we possibly conceive of the inconceivable? Mortals we are, no matter how some might claim Their own divinity! So here is a suggestion As we end one year and start a new one: Perhaps better than our claiming too little or too much About our status in this blow-apart firmament, But knowing that we do not know, Might we live in hope that we are not lost in space? Continued on page 16

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From page 14 For how can we be? We have each other – And is that not sufficient light? Are we not stardust ourselves? Each of us, a light shining on the other; Each of us bringing the other out of darkness. Home Home is where… The fill-in-the-blank is: heart, love, dog. “It is where they have to take you in,” said Dad. But who is “they”? And where is that “place”? For the homeless? The imprisoned? The hospitalized? The marginalized? Where is home when our mind can never be retrieved? Home: more than wood and stone; More than a fixed, comfortable address. And so we fill in the blanks in a myriad of ways: Home is where the familiar things are; The memories not limited by time or place; Home is where the deep part of us resides, behind the persona, the mask, It is where the life force itself calls to us undefiled by circumstance — Pure and hopeful, advocating that we find home In dancing with the entire universe. Gifts Let us remember those we have loved and lost, And affirm with all who are with us now in life or spirit, That through it all – the good and the not-so-good – We have many gifts for which to be thankful: For we are here in the first place, we have survived! We have friends and family, breath and energy, appetite and thirst. We are in a place of comfort and safety, And have seen sunrises and sunsets, And the faces of children, so wondrous about life. We have heard birdsong and Bach and the wind whispering through pines. We have touched the hand of our beloved, felt the softness of a fine downy quilt, and the grittiness of sand sifting through our toes. We have smelled the fragrance of new mint and fine perfume, and the saltiness of the ocean. We have tasted strawberries just off the vine, honey on the comb, and a well-seasoned wine. And on occasion, we have really communicated with another human being, And have been loved and have loved in return. We have dreamed dreams, felt deep emotion, and sometimes found a peaceful sense about who we are. Yes, through it all – the good and the not-so-good Let us rejoice for these gifts of the human spirit. Don Beaudreau is a local writer whose books are available on AMAZON BOOKS in Kindle and paperback editions. His latest book, Cleopatra in Cat Skin (And Other Lessons from the Critters) weaves together a rich tapestry of his adventures with animals around the world.

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Mise En Place

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ust when I was feeling all smug and satisfied with my preparations for my ultimate demise, along comes correspondence in my inbox which outlined a checklist for getting one’s affairs in order. This list was more comprehensive than other lists I had seen. And the ideas were important and necessary. I ran through the actions my husband and I needed to take, according

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to my latest information. I had eight important items to discuss. “I don’t want to talk about this right now,” he replied when I broached the subject at what I thought was the right moment. He had been fed and wasn’t working at his desk. He hates to talk about death plans. I would have to do better on my sales pitch. I selected the final wishes letter, which plans the funeral in deep

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detail, outlining the cremation or burial, what type of memorial one prefers, and spelling out where the gathering of friends and family will be hosted. This got his attention. He began to think about who he wanted to speak about him at the celebration of his life. He has a strong preference about the location for remembrance. I talked about food and libations. If we both leave earth together, what if the family decides to save money and just offer soft drinks and some cheese and crackers? I want a proper white wine served at the funeral home we like. Red wine isn’t allowed due to spillage by the griefstricken mourners, who I imagine fainting as they succumb to the thought of losing us forever. And if alcohol is offered, there will have to be nice food to go with it for sobriety’s sake. My mind swirls with menu options. Then there is music to consider. Should it be soft jazz or classical? We have so many choices. All of these considerations relate just to the final wishes letter! The letter of instruction for our executor is even more challenging. This letter sets out responsibilities, has a contact list for important items attached, and contains passcodes and locations of keys. A great deal of administrative planning is involved with this item. My

husband’s eyes are glazing over, and I can see his enthusiasm plummeting. I change tack and tell him we may want to consider leaving a letter to our adult children about life philosophy, explaining the importance of giving back to the community, what we held significant in our adult lives. He shows interest. I don’t mention that the new way to do this is to make a video. Add film production and he’s off to the hills. Of course, all these arrangements will need to involve our lawyer, again. My husband is looking through the refrigerator. This is my clue to pause this subject for now, to be visited again shortly. The seeds are sown. Suddenly I am interrupted by a call on my cellphone. Two of my sisters are sharing the duty of caring for my mother, who is experiencing health setbacks. My sisters have distinctly different personalities and work styles. The sister calling me is not happy about how the kitchen functions when meals are prepared. “There isn’t organization, and ingredients aren’t set out in advance. Things get spilled all over the place!” she laments, complaining about our sister’s chef style. “She doesn’t know mise en place!” I wouldn’t know mise en place had I not taken French cooking classes. I almost laugh at this observation. I remind my sister that each personality approaches tasks differently, and a certain amount of flexibility is required as she and my other sister cooperate on jobs. After I end the call, I realize how related my mother’s care is to me planning the end of my life. Mise en place, or everything organized early and in correct order, will make for a better end result. Now I need to decide when to broach this subject again with my husband, in an upbeat and cooperative style, for best results. Katina Pontikes


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Love In The Time Of Covid By Bernie Suttle

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onnie finally found an apartment she could afford, a one-bedroom, first floor on Lake Chapala in San Juan Cosala, Jalisco, Mexico. It even had a garden where she could plant some flowers. San Juan was the village where the maids, gardeners and laborers lived. Connie was thrilled to see where the common folk lived amongst the lush flora of central Mexico. This was paradise compared to Norwalk, California. Although Connie’s friends had been against her marrying Ralph, she was a widow who didn’t like being alone and, besides, he had most of his hair. Connie remembered how she

felt when Ralph said, “We’re moving to Mexico.” She was afraid of the unknown but the chance of getting out of a second-story, one-room apartment with two month’s rent past due was a relief. And she appreciated that she would have the opportunity to learn about a place she’d never been. They drove right through, two days and nights, feeling the warmer air and sunshine as they progressed south. They arrived at their new home and it made them smile. The small house was surrounded by hibiscus and bougainvillea. Connie had never seen so many flowers in one place. Beautiful, dark-eyed

children were playing in the street. Connie and Ralph settled into their San Juan Cosala home. It wasn’t long before Connie had them signed up with Chapala Med. Like everyone else, their lives were impacted by the pandemic and Connie wanted them to get vaccinated. Over breakfast, she asked, “Ralph, Honey, when are you going to see about getting a vaccine shot?” Ralph grunted and continued sipping his breakfast Corona. Connie continued, “You better wear the COVID mask I got for you. The Governor of Jalisco says that it’s required. And I think you shouldn’t wear cowboy boots with those plaid shorts. You look silly.” Ralph retorted, “Nobody tells me how to dress. I have my rights. Besides, the mask tickles my nose.” Connie looked down at her feet and responded, “Don’t go out without your mask. The governor said it’s required.” “How’s he going to enforce his rules? With his cops? They live on bribes.” “Ralph, you said we could retire in Mexico. We are guests here. It would be better if we followed their rules.” “Hah! Mexican rules, you’ve got to be kidding.” With a weak smile Connie looked up at Ralph and said, “No, Ralph, dear, your, ‘My way or the highway’ didn’t do it in the States and won’t make it here in Mexico. They’ll put you in jail.” “Wanna bet?” “No. I like it here and besides, we can’t go back home with all we owe there. If you want me to be your wife here you’ll go along with the Mexican ways. I’m serious. Do you understand me?” Ralph grunted over his shoulder as he went out the door carrying his mask saying, “Yes, dear! See ya’ later.” When Ralph returned later that day he entered the house, leaving

the door ajar. Connie asked, “You get your shot?” “Naw, they don’t have any yet.” “That’s too bad, Hon. What should you do?” “Joe, at the clinic, said that El Paso is flooded with vaccines. I should go there for a shot. I can probably get it under my old company medical insurance. I’ll stay with Bart, my old work buddy.” “You cancelled our insurance when you left work. You said the insurance companies were money grubbers that gave you nothing in return for your money. Don’t you still owe Bart from that loan he gave you before we came down here?” “He’ll let that slide when I talk to him. I’m going. It’s the only thing I can do. Loan me the money for the plane ticket. I’ll pay you back as soon as I get back.” Connie responded with a tired, “Yeah sure.” Ralph left for El Paso on Saturday. While he was away Connie enjoyed the warm, bright sunshine and the friendliness of her Mexican neighbors. She fell in love with the bright colors that grew in big pots in her patio garden. In her mind she referred to it as her Garden of Eden. A few days later Connie was wearing the colorful skirt that Ralph didn’t like. She had purchased it at the tianguis. Its bright colors caught her eye as she walked by. It was a forbidden, impulse purchase. She was humming while watering her plants when Raul, the landlord’s young gardener came into her yard. He greeted her with his usual sparkling smile, “Good afternoon, Señorita. I will move those pots as you wished the other day. Is not the Señor here?” “Oh, hello, Raul, good to see you. No, he’s in the states trying to make a deal. I have no idea why.” “Very well. I’ll move the pots as you wished. That is una falda bonita you are wearing today. It makes you look like a young señorita.” Connie blushed and mused, “What a gorgeous guy! Such bright brown eyes. So much curly, dark hair. And that red bandana tied around his forehead. He looks like a pirate.” Connie found herself smiling into Raul’s face as she drawled, “Why thank you, Raul.” Raul looked straight into Connie’s eyes and said, “What else can I do for you, Señorita?” Bernie Suttle

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A Pink and Purple Christmas By Tom Nussbaum

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t started as a joke. It became an obsession. The four of us, strolling through Portland’s Festival of the Trees, were enjoying and evaluating the dozens of Christmas trees decorated by the region’s largest corporations and most identifiable big businesses. The trees had themes. One was adorned in Disney paraphernalia, another in Barbie dolls. There was a tree depicting a Dickensian Christmas and one covered in forest animals, reflecting a “Walk in a Winter Wonderland.” Even the Portland Trailblazers sponsored a tree, its black and red ornaments and decorations reflecting the professional basketball team’s colors. The Festival of the Trees was a fund-raiser to help the less fortunate enjoy the holiday season. Proceeds from ticket sales and the sale of the

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trees, bid on at the end of the weeklong display, bought food and gifts for needy families and individuals. The highest bid for each tree not only won the tree, but a team of decorators to set-up the fir in the winner’s home. “Which was your favorite?” I asked

El Ojo del Lago / December 2021

as we aimed toward the exit. “The Raggedy Ann and Andy tree,” Cindy said. “But I’ve always loved Raggedy Ann.” “I liked the “Under the Sea” tree with all the fish,” Gary said. “I am a Pisces, after all.” “The one with those ugly miniature Model-T cars. It was horrible,” announced Wendy. “How could anyone decorate a tree in black, metallic cars? I loved it.” Wendy had always been the oppositional one, the one marching to a different drummer. Oh, there was a tree adorned in drums. “Which was your favorite?” Cindy asked me. “I liked the one covered in oranges. Who would have thought a Florida citrus fruit or the color orange was an appropriate motif with which to decorate a Christmas tree in the Pacific Northwest?” I paused. “I think it would have looked better on a white or flocked tree, though.” I paused again. “You know what would look good on a white tree?” I asked. “No,” Gary and Cindy said in unison. Wendy was staring at a tree covered in coffee themed decorations. “Those strings of brown coffee beans don’t show up against that dark green. But the little red and green mugs and coffee makers are cute,” she said. “Pink and purple. They’d look good on a white tree,” I continued. “If I were to have a tree, I’d cover it in pink and purple.” Of course, the likelihood of my having a Christmas tree was minute. As a Jew, my childhood home was without Christmas trees. Instead, we had a menorah. It was a lovely symbol, a touching tradition, and it offered a warming glow. But it was no Christmas tree, with all its decorative possibilities. When I moved out in my early twenties, the idea that I could have a tree never dawned on me. That was something goyim did, Mom had said.

Besides, I didn’t have an attic-stashed treasure trove of decorations But on the Christmas Eve following the Festival of the Trees, Cindy, Wendy, and Gary presented me with two boxes of simple glass ornaments, one full of pink orbs, the other purple. “For next year,” they chimed. And I had a starter kit. That simple gift blossomed into a collection of ornaments ranging from pastel to hot pink and soft lavender to deep purple. But the ornaments were not limited to basic shimmering balls. There was a pink poodle, a purple Elvis, pink ballet shoes, a cluster of purple grapes, pink birds, a purple car, a pink Santa, a purple Star of David, and shiny shapes that defied description. Most were store-bought, but some were given. And some were found on the street, like the pink baby pacifier and the lavender hat veil, separated from a mystery chapeau and doomed to a gutter death until I spotted it seductively waving at me. The collection grew and grew until I prepared to move to Ajijic. I can’t move all those delicate, breakable decorations to Mexico, I thought, so the glassy, glittery assortment of holiday whimsy was given to a second-hand store with the hopes it would be sold intact. But it wasn’t. The ornaments, to my disappointment, were sold individually. I looked at the situation, however, through rose-colored glasses. I get to start a new collection of pink and purple ornaments in Mexico, I realized. And I have. There’s a pink gecko, purple dangling earrings handcrafted by a local artisan, and lavender starbursts. Does anyone know where I can get a shimmery, shiny purple taco? Perhaps stuffed with pink camarónes? Tom Nussbaum


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COLUMNIST

If Our Pets Could Talk By Jackie Kellum

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art of this month’s article is about Sex. There is always something to learn. Well, that got your attention. Since this is a family magazine and this column is about pets, this topic is about puppy and kitten litters and their creation. A friend and I are pet foster parents at times. She for puppies and me kittens. We both had litters to care for about the same time. Each of us noticed that within our respective litters, there was one very large litter mate who was more ‘mature’ compared to the others. We knew that unless there is a planned breeding, many times there are multiple fathers producing a litter. This multi-father conception produces at times a litter with a ‘variety’ of mixtures in different sizes, ’breed’, coloring, etc. When the Vet examined the puppy litter for a well-check visit, it was mentioned that the larger puppy was ‘several days older’ than its litter mates, even though they were all born at the same time. But the ‘age’ difference was something new to my friend and me. So, Mr. Google helped with research about this. I will not make this explanation very technical or risqué. A cat can have a ‘heat’ that may last from one day up to three weeks. A dog can have a heat that can last 2- 4 weeks. Although there are days when the animal may be more fertile, they can become pregnant at two different times, during the heat cycle with days and possibly weeks apart from each other. As soon as the kit/pup is conceived it starts growing. If a sibling gets conceived after the first conception, it most likely will be smaller at birth. Never thought of that. Although humans may find essential oil aromatherapy very pleasant, the oils may pose a possible safety risk to pets. Many essential oils, including: eucalyptus, tea tree [melaleuca], cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, wintergreen, clove, pine, sweet birch, thyme, oregano, lavender, and ylang- ylang are toxic to pets. Essential oils are concentrated making them especially hazardous if the pet inadvertently

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inhales, licks the oil, or if the oil gets on their skin and is absorbed. If you use an infuser be careful where you place it, so your pet does not have access to it in any way. We love our pets and we like to give them people food, especially as ‘treats’. However, there are some people foods that present great risk to them. These items include: any and all sugar free items that contain Xylitol - read the label for ingredients! Food items that are also harmful: raisins and grapes, plant foods in the Allium genus - onions, garlic, leeks and chives. Macadamia nuts, avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin. Corn on the cob, cooked bones, chocolate, coffee and caffeine all contain substances called methylxanthines. Raw meats, raw fish and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli. A website from the American Kennel Club has a long helpful list of ‘can’ and ‘cannot‘ eat, fruits & vegetables for dogs. Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can or Can’t Eat – American Kennel Club (akc.org) Keep in mind that snacks are ‘nice, but they do add calories to the pet’s daily caloric intake. This can easily contribute to their obesity, which creates many other serious health problems. Obesity has been attributed to the development of: diabetes, insulin resistance, respiratory disorders, renal dysfunction, high blood pressure, increased joint wear and tear leading to osteoarthritis, chronic low-grade inflammation, diminished quality of life and reduced life expectancy. The question is: does your pet really need that treat? Jackie Kellum


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COLUMNIST

PROFILING TEPEHUA By Moonyeen King President of the Board for Tepehua

moonie1935@yahoo.com

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t takes a village to raise a child’ is an African proverb, meaning an entire community keeps watch on the children and interact positively. It is true of most of the villages here at Lakeside. They are of a size that most people know each other and have a support system within the community, especially the women whose need for a support system is greater than the men. Education has always been a struggle for everyone because of the lower socioeconomic status of most of the households. Sometimes only one child in each family can go to school and follow the dream. The others start working at a very young age or help at home. To further compound the lack of opportunity, rural children have no exposure to any form of higher educational institution to feed the curious. In urban areas around the edges of cities there is more opportunity to obtain an education. Village like Tepehua with over 7,000 people has a foot in both worlds regarding education. It clings to the tourist town of Chapala where there is a bustle of activity. The service trades are available for those who can afford it, along with the opportunity to view the way the rich and famous live in comparison to those economically challenged. It is a big sprawling terrain on difficult volcanic rock with a million-dollar view. Consequently, not only are the people of the barrio merging into the town, but the town is moving out of

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the congestion of Lakeside into the more rural areas with a view. This benefits both working class and middle class because it opens up job possibilities in the local areas. So, bringing education to rural areas also benefits both. Over the last ten years organizations have sprung up with a dedication to education in both areas, rural and urban. They are supported by tourists and those retiring to Mexico, and local government agencies are taking more of an interest in their children’s future strength and support. The Tepehua Community center was started with the support of the local retired people and their contacts over the border. More and more Tepehua is taking care of its own, but still with support from across the border or locally-situated foreigners. This allows us to send the children to school, buying the books, uniforms and other hidden expenses for each semester. Thus far we have invested in over a thousand children, and most will return to school this year. But because of the pandemic, some children found work and decided to stay with the job to help their families financially. That still leaves us with a generation of educated barrio children stepping out into the world with a future where they have a choice. Not all are Einsteins and meant for college, but all are equipped to change their world should they so choose to do so. This world cannot become a better place without the aid of volunteerism, we are all needed to do extra work for others apart from ourselves. Waiting for paid officials to do it for us doesn’t work. The support the private sector and others have given has changed the world little by little in education and it is up to us to keep the momentum going. Once the middle class is stronger through basic education our world will be a better place for us to dwell. Tepehua would like to thank the readers for the donated toilets and other home improvements. Such a simple gift but one that keeps giving. Also, for the sponsors of our Tepehua children to keep them in the school system, you have indeed played your part to make the world a better place.


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COLUMNIST

FRONT ROW CENTER By Michael Warren Everything in the Garden by Edward Albee (adapted from the play by Giles Cooper) Directed by Peggy Lord Chilton

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he original play by Giles Cooper opened in London in 1962, and Albee wrote an American version a few years later as a tribute to his friend. It’s described as a black comedy, but it’s not funny at all. The play is a bleak commentary on the American Dream. The scene is set in the living room and sunroom of the suburban house belonging to “Richard” and “Jenny”. They are desperately short of money, and most of their dialogue revolves about this everpresent problem. They can’t afford to send their daughter “Robin” (played by Maxanne Swanson) to summer camp, and they buy cheap cigarettes in order to save the coupons. Mark Donaldson has a difficult task making Richard believable, and does his best in the part. Mostly he yells his lines, but this means that later in the play there is little contrast to his earlier lines and it doesn’t mean much when he really has something to yell about. Lori Denise Grant is excellent as Jenny, who is willing to find a job in order to supplement their income. But Richard refuses to allow her to work. This might have seemed true in the 60’s, but is inexplicable today. Enter the presence of evil in the form of “Mrs. Toothe”. She runs

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a bordello, patronized by bored and wealthy men. It’s easy money, and Jenny soon succumbs to temptation. Donna Burroughs plays Mrs. Toothe with some skill in an almost military white suit—Dante would have placed her in one of the lower circles of hell. There is also a mysterious character “Jack” who wanders onto the stage, and speaks in asides to the audience. He is well played by Brian Mattes, who lets us know that Jack is eccentric and very wealthy. In Act 2 we get to meet the neighbors, played jovially by Sally Jo Bartlett, Brana Corredor, Pamela Johnson, Douglas Pinkerton, Tom Nussbaum and Peter Luciano. The rest of the play is about the consequences of greed. Finally, at the end of the play we are left to wonder if Richard and Jenny will be arrested for murder—not exactly a happy ending. In Shaw’s play “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” there is a critique of hypocrisy and the lack of opportunities for women. Here no one cares about anything except appearances and the danger of being found out. Possibly that sentiment is more true today than when Albee wrote it. The pace was terrific, and all the cast did a great job with this disturbing play. Congratulations to Peggy Lord Chilton and all her hardworking team. Stage Manager was Ruth Varner-Smith and her Assistant was Shelley Betts. I should also mention the appropriate set design by Alan Bowers. Next up is “The Madres” by Stephanie Alison Walker which opens on November 5. It’s good to have LLT back and running hard! Michael Warren


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El Dorado, Part III The Conquest of Perú By Robert Drynan

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he first attempt at exploration of the interior of the South American continent was undertaken in 1522 by Pascual de Andagoya. Atahualpa’s ransom included filling this room once with gold and twice with silver. He landed at a point near where the border of Ecde Balboa on his march across the Panuador and Colombia lies today. Nearby amanian Isthmus in 1524 to be among friendly indigenous people told him the first Europeans to see the Pacific of a city of gold called Virú that stood Ocean. In Panamá, Pizarro formed a on the banks of a river known as Pirú, partnership with a soldier, Diego de (hence the origin of the name Perú.) Almagro, to explore and conquer Virú Andagoya fell ill and cut short his exand divide it’s wealth between them. plorations, returning to Panamá. Pizarro and his confederates mounted Francisco Pizarro arrived in the New two expeditions to the land of El DoraWorld in 1502. He accompanied Vasco

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do in 1524 and 1526 respectively both of which met with forceful resistance. It served to reinforce their certainty that Virú offered opportunity for wealth and power. As Pizarro and Almagro began preparations for a third adventure, the governor of Panamá refused them permission to initiate the attempt. Pizarro sailed to Spain and in 1528 obtained permission for the venture directly from the King of Spain, Carlos I in a document known as the Capitulación de Toledo. In the mean-time a young adventurer, Francisco de Orellana, Pizarro’s cousin and like Pizarro, native of Trujillo in Spanish Extremadura, arrived in Panamá at the tender age of seventeen. When Pizarro returned from Spain in 1530, Orellana joined his cousin’s expedition. Pizarro’s force consisted of 108 infantry and 60 horsemen when he marched to Cajamarca. He met with Atahualpa’s army of many thousands and defeated the Inca emperor by ruse. Approaching with gifts, the Spaniards slew Atahualpa’s personal guards and made the Inca emperor prisoner. Pizarro’s brothers Gonzalo and Hernando and another prominent Spaniard, Hernando de Soto, who a few years later explored the Southern United States from Florida to Arkansas, also participated in the venture. After the ransoming and execution of Atahualpa, the Spanish forces marched on the Inca capital at Cuzco and capturing the city, installed seventeen-year-old Manco Inca as a puppet emperor, (a tactic perhaps learned from Hernán Cortéz, who slew Moctezuma and installed his son Cuautemóc). Pizarro returned to the coast and founded Lima, making that city the capital of his conquest. Almagro, Pizarro’s partner in the conquest, marched southward in an abortive expedition to conquer present-day Chile. During Almagro’s absence Pizarro consolidated his power in Perú and when his partner returned, they fell out over the division of the spoils: a dispute over Pizarro’s claim of the rights to Cuzco. In the ensuing civil war, Pizarro prevailed at the battle of Las Salinas in 1638 and executed Almagro. However, he failed to execute Almagro’s son Diego El Mozo, who later in 1541 invaded Pizarro’s palace in Lima with the aid of supporters and assassinated him. El Mozo was installed by his confederates as governor of Perú, but shortly thereafter was defeated in the desperate battle of Chupas in September of 1542. He escaped to Cuzco, but was arrested, immediately condemned to death, and executed in the great square of the city. NOTE: It is difficult to place the Spanish conquest of the Americas in the context of twenty-first century values. History tells us the Conquistadores

committed terrible acts of cruelty, or in the best possible construct, acted with extreme indifference to human suffering. On the other hand the human experience in Europe in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries offered no guidance for alternative conduct. The conquistadores that arrived in the Americas had left behind a Spain that had fought with terrible ferociousness to drive the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula and had completed the conquest of Andalucía virtually on the eve of Cristóbal Colón’s discovery of America. In Europe of the era leaders of modest beginnings acquired wealth and noble stature as rewards for military success and their companies thrived on loot taken in their campaigns: perhaps the first inklings of Western Civilization’s concepts of socio-economic upward mobility. It would be difficult to expect that these warriors would have altered their conduct in their campaigns in the Americas. They certainly faced the same threats of dismemberment, pain, and torture that they handed out. In that context a twenty-first century Westerner might be able to sense the extraordinary courage displayed by these early explorers and warriors, without excusing their lack of humanity. And what of the wonderment? They had never seen monumental cities as Tenochtitlan the site of modern Mexico City or the marvels of Cuzco or the Inca fortress of Sacsayhüaman, constructed of massive cut stones weighing as much as 300 tons. They gave credence to cities of gold and risked all to discover El Dorado. They had never imagined a river of the magnitude of the Amazon or encountered the density and extension of that river’s surrounding forests. How could they resist the temptations; the eye-popping wealth that Atahualpa brought to pay the price of his ransom or the gold and emeralds they found simply strewn over the ground around Lake Guatavita? What of the fabulous animals they discovered: llamas, serpents, tapirs, leopards, birds? What of the foods they tasted for the first time: bananas, tomatoes, cacao, maize, papayas, mangos, avocados, guanabanas, chirimoyas? Whatever their shortcomings, these adventurers were men of courage. They encountered wonders at every turn and faced dangers far beyond anything for which they had prepared themselves. They were certainly no lesser men in their time than Daniel Boone, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Robert Drynan or John Glenn.


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COLUMNIST

Juan Manuel de Solórzano By David Ellison

“Oh, fortunate you who knows the hour of his death!”

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he legend of Juan Manuel had its roots in history, but blossomed into a macabre horror story, a morphing of Othello, Jack the Ripper, and Scrooge. Juan Manuel arrived in New Spain in 1623, taking up residence on Calle Uruguay 94 in Mexico City. Due to his immense wealth, notable acumen and easy charm, he quickly ingratiated himself with the Viceroy (one of Cortéz’ successors) and became his powerful private secretary. Of course, this earned Juan Manuel many jealous enemies, especially among the Audiencia, or royal court, which served as a check on the Viceroy’s power. They repeatedly tried to bring Juan Manuel down

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to no avail...until they discovered his Achilles Heel: He was a jealous man. (And this is where the story veers off into an incredible but fascinating tale.) Juan Manuel’s much younger wife, Mariana, was outrageously beautiful. But she’d failed to provide him with an heir. Despondent, desperate, Juan Manuel invited his trusted nephew over from Spain to manage his affairs, and then retired to the local Franciscan monastery to beseech God. Juan Manuel’s enemies cackled in glee. They crafted ingenious, insidious ways to, little by little, convince Juan Manuel that Mariana was being unfaithful during his absence, perhaps even with his nephew. Juan Manuel seethed with irrational anger and jealousy. He vowed he would murder the man, whoever he was, if only he could learn his identity! Lucifer was eager to oblige, but the cost would be dear: Juan Manuel’s very soul. Once Juan Manuel had foolishly agreed, the Devil gave him his instructions: Juan Manuel was to leave the monastery late at night, just before 11 pm. He should accost the first gentleman he came upon and ask the time. If that man answered correctly, then Juan Manuel would have found Mariana’s lover. Dressed in a black cape and a hat with large, dark feathers obscuring his

face, Juan Manuel did as he was told that very night. He approached a gentleman and asked him the time. “Why, eleven o’clock,” the fellow replied amiably. “Oh, fortunate you,” Juan Manuel blurted out, “who knows the hour of his death!” And with that, he drew his dagger, the blade glinting in the moonlight, and plunged it into the hapless man’s heart. Juan Manuel returned to his home, cackling with malevolent delight. He’d had his vengeance! Only, not really. The Great Deceiver, Lucifer, appeared again and, cackling himself, informed Juan Manuel that he’d fooled him. Juan Manuel had killed an innocent man. But, if he continued murdering men, one each night at 11 pm, eventually he’d get his revenge. Juan Manuel, blind with frustrated rage, did so, each time calling out, “Oh, fortunate you who knows the hour of his death!” Terror ruled the city; until one morning the police brought to Juan Manuel the body of his own nephew, stabbed in the heart. Oh, so late, Juan Manuel awoke from his madness. Overwhelmed by horror and remorse, he fled to the monastery. The friar, after hearing the whole sordid tale, replied, “There is only one way to reclaim redemption. For three nights, you must go to the Plaza Mayor (Zócalo), kneel at the foot of the gallows there, and pray the rosary.” The first night, as Juan Manuel knelt, a demonic voice joined him in his prayer. The second, Juan Manuel beheld a funeral procession of evil specters carrying his own coffin. No one knows what happened on the final night. But one October morning in 1641, the people of Mexico City awoke to find Juan Manuel’s body dangling from the gallows. Many surmised that God’s angels had carried out this ultimate act of hideous atonement. Others claimed it was merely members of the Audiencia, who’d finally had their way. Regardless, today in Mexico City at Calle Uruguay 94, a plaque identifies the house of Juan Manuel de Solórzano (where, some claim, a man in a dark cape still haunts). The best time to visit is 11 pm, of course. And, if someone passes by, you’ll know what to say. *** This is a selection from Ellison’s forthcoming book, Niños Héroes: The Fascinating Stories Behind Mexican Street Names.


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Carol D. Bradley

Email: cdbradleymex@gmail.com Phone: 33-2506-7525 “Words have power. They have impact. Breath is wind, wind is voice and voice is power.” -Lee Maracle The Lake Chapala Society hosts Open Circle every Sunday at 10AM, a popular community gathering in Ajijic, to enjoy a diverse range of presentations. For more information and to make reservations, see their website: opencircleajijic. org. The presentations will be on the south lawn, close to the gazebo, the entrance will be by the side door on Ramón Corona, chairs will be socially distanced. Gate opens at 9:30. During this period and considering our schedule may be too fluid with cancellations and changes to inform everyone through the press, please check our website and/or our Facebook page for updates and confirmations of presentations. We recommend bringing a hat and bottled water, and please remove containers upon departure. Attendance is limited to 80 persons, please make your reservation if you want to attend https://opencircleajijic.org/reservation_form.php Use of masks and temperature checks on entry is mandatory. Again, please check with Open Circle’s website and/or Facebook page for updates and confirmations. December presentations are: December 5: Daniel Medeles and Musica Para Crecer Our annual Open Circle holiday treat, Musica Para Crecer, A.C., is also known as the San Juan Cosala children’s choir and orchestra. This organization has worked with over 100 local children. Their chorus and orchestra help build confidence, transform lives and encourages children to remain in school. Members range from 5 to 18 years of age. While this is not a concert of holiday music, it is the best of the children and fitting for the year end. They delight audiences with every performance. Donations will be collected to help their program which has struggled through these challenging times. December 12: A Personal Journey to a Legacy with Judith Pasco Daniel Medeles Judith Pasco tells her story of travel, cultural differences and bumps in the road that culminated in her founding and running an organization for indigenous women and children in Chiapas, Mexico. She will highlight all the “puzzle” pieces that had to fall into place, some intentionally and some not, and the unexpected and beautiful results that ensued. Her entertaining journey, filled with humor and mishaps, will inspire you to find a cause of your own. December 19: Women of the Irish Rising with Dr. Michael Hogan Historian Michael Hogan returns to present his latest work, Women of the Irish Rising: A People’s History. In Hogan’s 5th appearance on our stage, he will share portions of this exciting narrative drawn from the women’s journals and Irish and British field reports of the women who fought for Irish freedom and whose exploits have not been published in book Judith Pasco form. Among them are a woman warrior who was shot three times by British soldiers and survived, a female doctor who treated the wounded on

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both sides, and a female yacht captain who brought arms to the rebels despite a British destroyer blockade. One Irish reviewer called the book “an invaluable new source of inspiration for young women and for lovers of freedom around the world.” Michael Hogan is an historian and the author of 26 books including the Irish Soldiers of Mexico, Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, and Guns, Grit and Glory: How the US and Mexico Came Together to Defeat the Last Empire in the Americas. Hogan’s book The Irish Soldiers of Mexico was the inspiration for two major documentaries and a feature film starring Tom Berenger. He is a former professor of International Relations at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Emeritus HumaniDr. Michael Hogan ties Chair of the American School Foundation of Guadalajara, and Latin American consultant to the US State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools. He lives with the textile artist, Lucinda Mayo, and their Dutch Shepherd, Lola. LITTLE LAKESIDE THEATRE presents: December 22, 2021- “Songs for the Holidays” - 4pm A joyous concert directed and staged by Robert Theme. Our ensemble this year musically explores the many holidays of the season. Join us to celebrate the joys that the season brings us, and especially to be part of our always popular singalong. Our show’s Emcee, Peter Luciano, will entertain and introduce the cast of musicians that includes singers Marsha Heaton, Mark Heaton, Catharine Thieme and new-to-LLT, Doug Botnick. Susanne Bullock will delight us with her clarinet, and Director Robert Thieme will accompany and round it all out on the piano. Tickets - 200 Pesos Cast: back row: Doug Botnick, Mark Heaton, Mar- are available as of Desha Heaton, Robert Thieme. front: Susanne Bullock, cember 1st, at lakesideCatharine Thieme. Missing is Peter Luciano, Emcee. littletheatre.com and at the LLT box office 10am to noon on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 8 & 9 and Dec. 15 & 16. Seating will be limited, socially distanced in the McIntosh Auditorium. Christmas with the Lake Chapala Community Orchestra Now that live concerts are coming back to Lakeside one of the most anticipated events will be Lake Chapala Orchestra’s Christmas concerts on December 9 and 10. The concert features their 15 piece chamber ensemble and the newly formed LCCO Brass Quintet. Michael Reason, the orchestra’s Music Director, has programmed a concert with the accent on variety. “From traditional carols to Hallelujah’s by both Leonard Cohen and Handel we have something for everyone to enjoy” says Reason. Special guest will be the acclaimed soprano Mariana Vigueras who is very popular with audiences in both Guadalajara and Lakeside. “I was so impressed with Mariana when I first heard her sing back in January of last year that I am delighted she has agreed to perform with us” comments Reason. The performances on Thursday December 9 and Friday December 10 will take place at the Lakeside Presbyterian Church, 250 San Jorge, Riberas both at 3pm. The church is just 2 blocks south of Mom’s Restaurant on the Carretera.

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The orchestra is taking full pandemic precautions. All members of the ensemble are fully vaccinated and they respectfully request that ticket holders have at least one covid vaccination shot. Audience members will be required to wear masks and temperature checks and socially distanced seating will be in effect. Tickets are priced at $250 and can be reserved by sending an email to LCCOTICKETS@GMAIL. COM Please remember to state how many seats you require and to which performance. Due to Covid protocols there are only 70 seats available for each concert so order early to guarantee a seat! The Lake Chapala Baptist Church Choir Mariana Vigueras presents: Advent of Hope Longing for the real spirit of Christmas these days? Catch “Advent of Hope,” offered by the Lake Chapala Baptist Church Choir! Sing carols, enjoy inspiring music of the season and nativity readings, and fan the flames of Christmas that will last all season and beyond. 1) Sat., Dec. 11, 3:30 pm at Mama’s Musical Bar in San Antonio Tlayacapan. FREE 2) Tues., Dec. 14, 3:30 pm at the stunning new Sol y Luna opposite Casa Linda in W. Ajijic, Dinner and show $350 pesos with 100% of proceeds going to Ajijic’s Cultural Division’s art and music classes for kids. Tickets presold at Sol y Luna or available at door. 3) Wed., Dec. 15, 3:30 pm at the Lake Chapala Baptist Church – FREE, with an optional shared soup-and-sandwich potluck after the program. Don’t miss this noel celebration! So fun! So real! So Christmassy! Information, in-

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cluding venue addresses: Cindy Paul 331 437 7281. El Gato Feo will be hosting “Meet the Authors” on Wednesday, December, 15, 2021, at 11AM. El Gato Feo is the adorable coffee shop at 16 de September, #18 with the cozy salon for authors next door in Estrellita’s Inn. The salon is on sidewalk level, no stairs. Authors will read from their published works for your enjoyment while you sip the coffee and snacks available from El Gato Feo. There will be acoustic music by Sergio Casas and a book seller’s table. Get your copy signed by the author, just in time for Christmas! Additional information or sign up to read, please contact Carol Bradley at cdbradleymex@gmail.com or Amanda at El Gato Feo, 376 766 0917. From all of at Lakeside Living, all the best of the Holiday Season to you and yours. Thank you.


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Timothy G. Ruff Welch, Musical Director of Los Cantantes del Lago Brings Singing Back to Lakeside Linda Goldman et al.

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fter a COVID induced hiatus Los Cantantes del Lago will return to performing “It’s Christmas” this December at their new home The BRAVO! Theatre. Many residents are familiar with the chorale group, while others that are new to the area are in for a treat. We sat down with the group’s Musical Director, Tim Welch, to talk about his upcoming 20th anniversary. How did a youngish man from Wisconsin wind up in Mexico? “I was living in Chicago and at 40 years old felt like I needed to take a year-long sabbatical. Wanting to attend a Spanish language school, I wound up in Guadalajara for 3 months and stayed for 17 years. That

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Timothy G. Ruff Welch was 23 years ago, moving permanently to the Lakeside area more recently. I spent many years driving back and forth from Guadalajara to Lakeside then, often, back again in a day. By then I was working with a choir in Zapopan and with Los Cantantes. As well as giving private voice lessons.”

El Ojo del Lago / December 2021

Music wasn’t always his calling, “I owned a company in Chicago working with the CDC on infectious diseases, but had been a musician with choirs, as an accompanist and singer for most of my life. I sang professionally with several chorale groups, including St. Peter’s in the Loop, a Roman Catholic Church based in Chicago. I sang with James Chorale, a huge choir that performed in Chicago and traveled all over the world touring.” Welsh explains that he was drawn to the Lakeside area when Los Cantantes was already formed,” but it was a Cantantes concert to benefit young singers from Guadalajara performing at Lakeside that brought me here. Before that I hadn’t heard of Lake Chapala. This was twenty years ago, and that holiday season Los Cantantes decided to perform The Messiah. My training and background is in coaching and musical accompaniment and they asked if I would accompany the 40 singers on harpsichord, as well as create practice tapes for each singer to help rehearse their parts. This was in the days of cassette tapes no less, so it was an enormous amount of work. Darryl Walser was the director then and he recruited me to accompany the choir on piano at their upcoming performances after that. Not long after I started working with the choir, Darryl’s partner put their house up for sale and within a week they were packing their bags to leave the area. That’s when he asked me to take over as Director. When I stepped in musical aptitude was not a requirement. As a community choir, singers could join without any skill requirement whatsoever. Many singers didn’t read music, so a lot of my time was spent teaching basic note reading along with helping folks to memorize words and their specific parts. At one point the choir reached 65 people. I was conducting rehearsals in English and Spanish, managing varying musical skills and personalities. It became a bit exhausting.

Over the years Los Cantantes, in addition to performing a winter concert and another in spring, has also given performances in Greece and Turkey; Central Mexico—where residents, unused to hearing classical music, treated us like rock stars; Ecuador; British Columbia and Vancouver Island Canada and lastly, Cuba. We’ve also introduced and incorporated various styles of music like pop, bluegrass, klezmer and jazz. We’ve made a huge effort to include more local singers and not just expats. Los Cantantes involves people other than singers for the concerts. We’re always interested in finding people who would like to volunteer in other areas besides singing. We love people who like to decorate the set, do administrative work, keep our Facebook page up to date, assist with front of the house duties, ushers, ticket sales. We also continue to raise money beyond ticket sales for venue rental, musicians, even copying scores for the singers. We performed our last concert of 2020 a week before COVID, everything down, including the Auditorio where we had been performing over the years. Needless to say, we haven’t been able to return to the risers until now. During that time, I and the Board of Directors, felt strongly that this was an opportunity to evolve the choir by establishing some new ground rules. Obviously we were not going to have 65 people singing together and that opened the door to asking singers to prepare to audition (not just hum a few bars so to speak), looking at having a maximum of 24 singers. Roughly 50 people have auditioned, and we have 22 as we enter into this season. About half of the choir are new to Los Cantantes, some had been in the group for just one season and others have been around a bit longer. Another stipulation I requested was to conduct rehearsals only in English. Fortunately, all our Mexican singers speak English quite well, while others look forward to practicing and perfecting their language skills. This season ‘It’s Christmas’ will be performed at four concerts at our new venue The Bravo Theater. We’ll be doing some Christmas favorites that most people are familiar with, but some songs have a jazz arrangement, others a little klezmer influence. It’s a lot of fun and sure to be an enjoyable show for all. “ “It’s Christmas” will be performed at The BRAVO! Theatre December 7, 8, 14 and 15. Tuesday shows at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday shows at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are available at Mia’s Boutique, It’s Kinda Bazaar and from all the Los Cantantes singers.


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COLUMNIST

Verdant View By Francisco Nava

The Monarch and Milkweed

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y partner has created a monarch nursery in his garden to collect, nurture and help birth Monarch butterflies. The magic of watching a small, tri-colored caterpillar grow amazingly fast and metamorphosize into a chrysalis is astounding. More so, when the chrysalis opens and the transformed caterpillar emerges as a beautiful Monarca (Danaus plexippus), ready to leap onto your hand to dry its wings in the sun before its maiden flight. Monarchs represent the souls of our ancestors returning to visit their loved ones for Día de Muertos. This belief comes from the Purépecha, as well as the Mazahua,

two indigenous peoples of the area. The entire lifecycle of the monarch butterfly is dependent on the milkweed (Asclepias). It is sometimes called the “milkweed butterfly” because it is the only plant the monarch larvae or caterpillars can eat. The milkweed offers more than just a delicious treat for the developing caterpillars. Milkweed provides the monarch butterflies and their larvae with a unique form of protection. The milkweed plant is poisonous, and the larvae ingest a large amount of the toxic substances found in the plant. Like the old saying “you are what you eat”, monarchs share this defense with the milkweed by storing

the poison in their bodies. The bright orange color of the adult monarch’s wings warns other animals that it will not be a very pleasant insect to eat. But these plants are rapidly disappearing, due to the loss of habitat stemming from land development and the widespread spraying of weed killer on the fields where they live. What does the monarch do for the milkweed? As the adult butterfly flies from flower to flower looking for food, it helps to pollinate the milkweed. This allows the milkweed to successfully produce seeds that will grow and attract more monarchs in the years to come. Without the milkweed plant, the monarch would not be able to survive. Together, the two species have formed a beautiful relationship that has lasted for generations. There’s quite a debate as to whether it’s wise to plant Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed) or not. Tropical milkweed may be a factor in the spread of a parasitic infection that attacks monarchs. The infection is called OE (short for Ophryocystis elektroscirrha) and is transmitted by spores that fall from an infected female’s body onto the host plant when she lays her eggs. The hatchling caterpillars eat the spores along with the leaves, and become infected themselves. After a generation or two or three, the infection level becomes so high that the butterfly dies (sometimes in the caterpillar stage, sometimes in the pupae stage and sometimes as the adult). If you do already have tropical milkweed, one solution is to cut it back severely a couple of times a year. Even better is to remove the tropical variety and switch to native milkweed species. Unfortunately, these varieties are not widely available in the nursery trade and are not as easy to grow as the tropical variety. WHAT TO PLANT IN DECEMBER The climate in Mexico begins to

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turn during the Autumn when temperatures at higher altitudes will begin to feel generally cooler from late September. By mid-to-late December towns and cities situated at higher elevations can feel chilly or even cold after sundown and in the early hours of the morning. Carefully plan your vegetable garden for next year so that you ensure good crop rotation to avoid a buildup of pests and diseases. Reflect on what worked well this year and what didn’t and don’t be afraid to try new ideas. Take an inventory of tools and equipment that you need for next year and add them to your Christmas list. Many plants will be going into a dormant period and this is a good time to prune them, before they start putting out new growth as the weather warms. Prune fruit trees to maintain an open, balanced structure and encourage quality fruit production. Use clean, sharp secateurs to avoid damaging your trees. Remove yellowing leaves from your winter brassicas. They are of no use to the plant and may harbor pests and diseases. Prune climbing roses now, removing diseased or damaged growth and tying in any new shoots to their support. Force amaryllis bulbs (Hippeastrum), which you will find at some viveros, for Christmas bloom. Viveros will have poinsettias, Christmas cactus, fuchsias, petunias, pansies and snapdragons. You can still plant cool weather veggies now. Some of the more tender plants may need to be protected from cold night winds. Garden pests are feeling the chill too, but keep an eye out for them as our ground never freezes. They are with us all year. Start thinking about what you want to grow or change in your garden next year. Seed catalogs are wonderful sources of inspiration, as are gardening books. Francisco Nava


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COLUMNIST

Unsung Heroes By Carol L. Bowman bowmanl@prodigy.net.mx

Gerardo Martinez MiLian

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e all know that the proper functioning of public services like water, electricity and internet can make the difference between a good day and a miserable one. Here in Mexico, as is anywhere in the world, there are times when a break-down occurs, and we get on the phone to report, “No hay luz.” or “No hay agua.” or “No hay internet.” Several months ago, we were having daily frustrations with our water service from the local SIMAPA (Sistema Municipal de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado). I hate to admit it, but I was one of those consumers, who called the office personnel so many times that our voices became familiar to one another. But that all changed when the ad-

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Gerardo Martinez MiLian

ministrative staff sent Gerardo Martinez MiLiań, the top boss of the San Antonio Tlayacapan SIMAPA workers to the rescue. Gerardo, who has worked for SIMAPA for 30 years came to our house, evaluated the problem, concluded correctly that the valve regulating the water flow to the residential houses on our street was rusted, clogged with debris and roots

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and needed replacement. He supervised the entire job and returned to our home several times to check and recheck that the flow to our aljibe had been restored. The biggest shock was when Gerardo said he would come at 8:00 at night to check it again and he did! My attitude about SIMAPA changed to the positive because of Gerardo. I trusted him to examine a problem until he found a resolution and remain committed to a complete repair. For his diligence and persistence, I consider Gerardo Martinez MiLiań one of Lakeside’s Unsung Heroes and I wanted to know more about this man. We met one day and I heard his remarkable story. Born in the Lake Chapala community, Gerardo moved to Oakland, California with his parents when he was 14. He started painting houses at that young age and continued doing this until he was 20, when he returned to the Lake Chapala area. After a short stint of painting houses locally, he was offered the opportunity to go to work for SIMAPA in San Antonio Tlayacapan. Gerardo saw this as a chance to learn everything about the public water system. Gerardo started at the bottom, working as an apprentice, carrying buckets, fixing leaks in water hoses and other lower level tasks. All the while he was concentrating on learning everything about the pumps, the water table, the valves, and the navigation of the water lines throughout the neighborhoods. Every year he moved up a level, until he became the most experienced, the most knowledgeable and the supervisor of all the field employees at the San Antonio Office. “I needed to know everything about the water system,” said Gerardo. Gerardo’s work was never done, and he responded to ‘on call’ emergencies seven days a week, from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. His commitment to his job caused him to miss out on many family gatherings and events with his wife and two sons. But his job

to maintain the public trust in the water system remained paramount. “My goal was to make people content and happy and to help them when a problem with their water occurred,” said Gerardo. “I have many Americans and Canadians customers, and most of them are very good people. But they are used to quick results and sometimes I must think and think about what exactly the problem is and what can be the solution. Working for a public utility is very difficult” I asked Gerardo to reveal the best and worst aspects of his job. The best is the constant learning about the system and the feeling of gratitude from customers whose water flow he has been able to restore. He also gives eternal thanks to the girls who work in the office. “They have made my job so much easier, because they must deal with angry consumers who have water service interruption.” The worst is the reality that every three years when the people elect a new governing administration in Chapala, Gerardo must respect the changes and learn how he can best meet the expectations of the chosen officials. After 30 years of service to our community, Gerardo retired from the job one month ago. He finds retirement challenging, because he is so used to ‘living his job.’ I want to thank Gerardo for taking the time to reassure us that he would fix our problem and then fix it. I want to thank him for remaining committed to serving a public utility of Chapala. I want to thank him for being an Unsung Hero of our community. He tells me that one of his sons is now working for SIMAPA. Next time I have a problem, I will feel comfortable, knowing that Carlos Umberto Martinez might be the person who comes up with a solution, just like his father. Carol L. Bowman


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ASTROLYNX By Juan Sacelli

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ecember, which always includes the Winter Solstice, is absolutely supercharged this year. Absent cloudy skies, the penguins in Antarctica will be able to witness a total solar eclipse in Sagittarius on Dec 4 (humans in the far southern hemisphere may watch a partial one). The penguins may be forgiven for being a little nervous about what’s happening on their home ice, as humans begin to stake claims to Antarctica’s beaches—at the rate we’re going, Earth’s new Riviera. But, as I pointed out last month, eclipses are potential turning points. Especially with a Solar Eclipse, there are opportunities to change the direction we’re headed, both individually and collectively. If Antarctica is being set up for a population boom, won’t the rich want pristine beaches? Won’t they finally decide to spend some of their extra billions on, say, clearing plastic out of the oceans? (Hey, with all these new corporate space fleets, we could just ship the extra plastic to Mars, or some convenient asteroid.) But, with Uranus still retrograde, there are sure to be protests from the religious right about trashing Heaven (or the heavens), while the spiritual left will be telling us that penguins too have souls and deserve their own refrigerated tribal reservations. Look for a Sagittarian shoot-out, with accusatory arrows flying in all directions. With Venus cuddling up to Pluto in Capricorn, you may find protection with your own soul. Or your soulmate. But, whichever way you’re going, what the hell! Go for it! The Gemini Full Moon, Dec 18 (Dec 19 Eastern Time) brings its own high drama, as the Sun at 27° Sag points directly at Galactic Center, while the Moon points directly away. “I’m going home, please take me back” versus “show me the far horizon, I’m outta here”. This Full

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Moon asks if we retain our youthful spontaneity, our willingness to explore, to taste a taco we’ve never tried before, or do we still want the same old tamales mama used to make. In other words, can we honor our ancestors and our traditions while urging our children to go beyond where we have been. As Dante said, the Way In is the Way Out (of our present dilemma). But is the Way Out still the Way In (to our own souls)? With Venus and Pluto continuing to travel together, we are being told the soul who loves is the soul who grows both young and old. Jupiter, the principle of expansion and teaching, occupies a very favorable position on this Full Moon. Dare! Take the risk! And of course Dec 21, the Solstice. All solstices and equinoxes presage a new season, but the Winter Solstice casts it’s implications into the new year as a whole. The Saturn-Uranus square—what to hold onto, what to change—is still a dominant story, and the social and political arguments are fierce, but—something has to give soon. Choices have to be made. And will be. Mars is hanging out with the South Node—trust old friends! Both Mercury and Venus range ahead of the Sun—seek new ideas, new friendships as well. But—Venus with Pluto—make sure that those friendships, new or old, are deep and truthful. Be optimistic. A year is ending. A year is beginning. A world is ending. A world is opening. And, finally but never truly final, Saturn hits its last square (until 2043) with Uranus on Dec 24. Time to choose the stories of the past which structure the dreams of the future. Be brave! Bring your best stories with you! Make a world you want to live in.


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REMEMBRANCE OF TWO HORSES AND ANOTHER TIME AND PLACE By Dr. Lorin Swinehart

“All the horses of heaven are in the pasture tonight.” James Tipton “After Years of Listening”

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t first, there were three. I was very small when I first came to know two of them. I cannot say that I ever really knew the third. The two that I did know were huge draft horses named Bonnie and Sorrelly. Sorell is a color common to many horses, dark brown with lighter manes and tails. Both of the two I knew were sorell colored. As for the third horse, her name was Jennie, and I only remembered her coming into my grandpa’s barn once, when a severe thunderstorm came rolling out of the sky to the west and pummeled the farm with gushers of rain and hail that rained down on rooftops like buckshot, all of it accompanied by nonstop rumbling thunder and streaks of lightening. Grandpa decided to interrupt Jenny’s years of easy grazing in order to offer her indoor shelter. Jenny had been retired from all farm work by the time I entered this life and was free to graze away her days in the pasture. When I was about six, Jennie developed a sore, swollen hoof. As time passed, her condition only worsened. My mother convinced everyone that it was wrong to let the poor old horse suffer in such a way, and so one day the knacker came and took Jennie away. From then on, there were only two horses. Bonnie and Sorrelly were huge presences in the lives of my sister Linda and I all the while we were growing up. Jean Piaget tells us that small children regard animals as persons and attribute human motives to them. I don’t know that we thought about it one way or another. Bonnie and Sorrelly were just big friendly parts of our young lives. They were stable and reliable. Warm and welcoming whenever we entered the barn, probably because they anticipated that we would provide them with a treat, either a handful of alfalfa or oats. In that, they were correct. We could not resist their huge soft noses. All children seem to be drawn to equine noses. Now, at nearly 80, I still am. Recently, we gave in to nostalgia

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and visited the annual county fair in my hometown of Ashland, Ohio. Without fail, once I had sampled the world’s greatest pizza from the wagon of a local family named Puglisi, I headed for the horse barn and the soft noses of my hoofed friends. Sorrelly was a bicolor, with one beautiful blue eye and one equally beautiful brown eye. This phenomenon is rare but does occur. Many years later, my husky dog and best friend Lexi was a bicolor, as was one young woman in my high school graduating class. I remember riding round on the mower with Grandpa while cutting alfalfa one sparkling summer afternoon. When we stopped for a rest, Sorrelly came to a complete halt, staring in wonder at something a short distance away. “Now, what do you see?” Asked Grandpa. It seemed that a flotilla of small white butterflies spiraling over a stand of clover blossoms had caught her attention. The attentions of both horses were easily distracted from work. In my experience, horses desire only two activities, hanging out with their fellow horses and eating. The older I grew, the more adept I became at driving Bonnie and Sorrelly as we mowed hay, gathered it into the barn, threshed wheat and oats, husked corn and gathered firewood. Working with horses is far more exhilarating than driving a noisy tractor. Same with traveling by horse. Your horse hangs upon every word you speak. You can tell he is listening by watching his ears. In Bonnie’s and Sorrelly’s case, each time you rounded the corner of the field toward the barn, they were filled with energy and equine mirth, speeding up with all their energy, convinced that the workday was over, and a bin of oats awaited them. Each time you headed away from the barn they would slow to a creep. Tired horse. Dying horse. Dead horse. Animals do think and anticipate. I have witnessed it many times. Continued on page 48


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From page 46 As an example, when I was very small, not much more than a toddler, I would be seen standing out in the pasture petting Bonnie’s and Sorrelly’s noses. They were just great big pets, loving the attention. However, when Grandpa went out to fetch them for a day’s work, they would go galloping off in another direction. It took time, energy and not a few cuss words to round them up. I felt that I had reached manhood of a sort when I was old enough to lead the horses down to the pump and the stone trough in the pasture to water them. We only took one horse at a time, leaving her stable mate to neigh and whinny in agony until it was her turn. Bonnie and Sorrelly did not like being separated, not even for fresh cool water on a hot summer day. Again, horses are happiest when accompanied by their fellow horses. When I was still very small, Sorrelly had a colt. Every year, a new calf would enter the world of the farm, and a litter of kittens joined the other barn cats with some regularity, although most of them soon died of feline distemper. But a colt was something new. In all my years, there had never been another colt on Grandpa’s farm. I have an old black and white photo of Grandpa and Grandma standing on the front lawn with Sorrelly and her colt. On the back is printed “June, 1944”. I was born in 1942 while World War II was reeking and smoldering across the face of the earth, so I would have been two years old or less. It was a sunny green summer day. I vaguely remember the colt. I have only the vaguest impression of him stamped indelibly on my very young mind. Part of the reason for my sketchy recollection of him is that he simply did not live long. I have been told that he developed some sort of hernia and died soon after first entering the world. His remains were interred in the corner of the potato patch along the creek across the

pasture from the barn. All I have is the old photo, one of my favorite pictures. When she was a very old horse, Sorrelly went blind. One summer day, Grandpa heard her screaming in anguish. She was trapped in the creek and could no longer find her way up the bank to the pasture where she had been peacefully grazing. At about the same time, her lifelong friend Bonnie died without warning one night. Grandpa, well up in years himself by then, had no option but to have Sorrelly taken away and put down. One can only imagine the terror experienced by the blind, lonely old horse as she was driven away from the farm that had been home for all her days. I have heard it said that when a family member passes, survivors are sometimes asked if it had been an easy death or a hard death. I can only hope that somehow Sorrelly’s was an easy death. The toss of the celestial dice does not always turn out well for horses or for humans. All the high ground that once composed part of Grandpa’s farm has now been smothered beneath layers of ridiculous suburban style homes and lifeless, sterile lawns. For me, the land has been raped. Only the bottomlands, susceptible to severe spring and summer floods, remains inviolate. The road itself is paved now, and the flickering lights of myriads of fireflies on summer evenings is now blotted out by hellish blue-green security lights. People seem to fear the night, whereas the garish day can be even more fearsome. I am certain that red wing blackbirds still serenade from the tips of cattails and tree frogs continue to send their tunes out over the adjacent swamp at night, but I no longer go there. I ceased going there years ago. I found that I could no longer force myself to drive up the winding township road that once bisected Grandpa’s farm. Eden, once forsaken, can never be regained. Perhaps the Shawnee, Wyandot and other peoples who once dwelt on these lands felt much the same when their forests were decimated and replaced by the farms and towns of European invaders. Only a vanishing few of us are now left who can remember Grandpa and Grandma, Bonnie and Sorrelly or the farm as it once was. In a few years, there will be none. I want to believe, though, that Bonnie and Sorrelly continue to graze and frolic in bucolic joy across the pastures of heaven.

Lorin Swinehart

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Getting to Know Our Souls By Barbara Hildt

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estimonies from people who had NDEs, near death experiences, have convinced me that we are all immortal, resilient souls. Fortunately, we don’t need to die or have a NDE to know our souls and acquire their wisdom. We only need to quiet our minds and open our hearts to get to know our souls. While living in human bodies, we tend to allow our egos to be in charge. We depend on our five senses and the cognition of our brains to understand what we experience and then decide how to respond. Family members, friends, community, culture and media can easily influence our thinking, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and aspirations. Our egos tend to judge and discriminate based on their limited, flawed perceptions. The wisdom of our souls may come from past life experiences as well as from our current lives. They see from a higher perspective and know what we need to experience in order to grow and develop as resilient and cooperative beings. Our souls may even aid in creating challenges that give us opportunities to learn and develop skills as human beings and as spiritual beings. When we become aware of our abilities to experience extra-sensory perceptions, we learn to pay more attention to our intuitions and to trust what they are telling us. Our intuitions can act as receivers to connect us to higher levels of consciousness where our wiser souls are. While our egos may react out of fear or anxiety, our souls are never anxious nor afraid. Our wiser souls don’t need to be armed with defenses that put up walls or threaten others. Our souls are more trustworthy than our egos because they know how to connect with the Source of Unconditional Love that nurtures us, enhancing our resilience and our ability to love fearlessly. Thus, it is in our self-interest to seek our souls’ guidance in order to make wiser choices. Opening our heart consciousness to our soul’s unconditional love helps us to overcome our insecurities and prejudices. Our souls give us more empathy to care about others and discover what

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we have in common with strangers and adversaries. By practicing mindfulness or some other form of meditation, we can let go of concerns about the past and future and be in the present moment. When we relax and allow our hearts to open, we can connect with our souls and receive their helpful insights. Here is a simple BLESS ME method to connect with soul consciousness. B Breathe (at least 3 deep breaths) releasing all concerns with exhalations L Lift your vibration with thoughts of appreciation for someone or something E Expand your field with a strong, but gentle exhale S Surrender all concerns to your soul S Shift your awareness to the soul you are M Merge with your soul E Experience peace, as you open your heart to receive love and insights We all have concerns that can be better understood with insights or guidance from a higher consciousness. We, and those close to us or at a distance, can benefit when we consult with our souls, especially when we feel negative emotions such as anxiety, resentment, confusion, uncertainty, or a sense of failure. We may have questions we need to ask our souls. Or we may just need to relax, letting go of all concerns and opening our hearts to receive love and possibly a message from our own souls or from a loving spirit-friend. You may want to have a pen and notebook handy to record any message or insight you may receive. Try not to become discouraged or impatient if you don’t feel you are receiving insights or answers to questions during your meditation. Sometimes insights come later when we are ready to receive them. As we open our heart consciousness to receive guidance from our souls, we align with our authentic nature and our purpose. The bonus is the gift of inner peace. Barbara Hildt


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Life In The Texas Hill Country By Linda L. Steele

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fter moving to the Texas Hill Country twelve years ago, I soon realized that I had a lot to learn about living here! As an avid lifetime cyclist, each native of the area I encountered was quick to share one warning or another about life in the outdoors. For example, one warning was to watch for dead animals on the road. Just one buzzard landing or taking off in front of someone on a bicycle could cause disastrous consequences to a daydreaming rider. A deer could jump out from nowhere and cause serious injury. Watch out for snakes, mountain lions, cracks in the road! Good grief! The warnings went on and on.

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One morning as I set out on one of my long bike rides, the hair stood up on the back of my neck as I rode past a mountain lion crouched in an attack position. There was no doubt in my mind that he was ready to seize upon the screaming fawn that had been separated from its mother by a tight goat proof fence. I quickly ran over my options. I could try to spray him in the face with my dog repellant spray. It would be against nature to interfere. Maybe I could scare him away and save the fawn or maybe in fooling around, both of us would be torn to pieces by that hungry mountain lion. I quickly decided to ride on and pray that somehow the fawn would find a way to crawl through the fence to its mother before being eaten. Two hours later, when I circled back, there were no signs of the lion and there was no evidence of a fawn. Maybe the little guy had managed to escape and hopefully the lion found something else to nourish his body other than baby venison. A few days later, my son found large cat pawprints in our pole barn and then we noticed that our sweet feral cats seemed to have disappeared. Only the one who managed to slip into our garage each night while we weren’t looking seemed to still be around. A day or two later, we

El Ojo del Lago / December 2021

saw buzzards hovering over several areas of our property. Upon investigation, after chasing away the buzzards, we found our poor cats, torn to pieces. The same day, our neighbor lady telephoned to complain that her chickens were disappearing in large numbers. This was getting serious. She was ready to shoot and ask questions later! Happily, it never came to that. Mr. Mountain Lion must have determined that pickings were getting scarce because he disappeared. Nobody at our house ever heard gunshots coming from the neighbor’s home and there never seemed to be any other wildlife injured or killed. I think he simply wandered off to find something more plentiful and tempting to eat than poor little kitties and those chickens with all the bothersome feathers. The herd of deer that lingered all over our property seemed to be healthy and uninjured. This is wild country, much like it was in far West Texas where we lived as college students many years ago. If you dare to walk in the grass during warm weather, invisible little chiggers are waiting to cause bites in the most undesirable of places. I have learned to always wear my special snake boots when walking outside in the grass and to watch for rattlesnakes whether they might be in the grass or sunning themselves in the lane that runs out to the road…or while riding a bike. I encountered my first rattlesnake when I was on my bike, many miles from home! One spring morning I was slowly peddling up a steep hill when I found myself looking eye to eye with a large rattler who was about to crawl across the road. His presence caused me to have a spurt of energy and suddenly that hill wasn’t so steep. I flew up the side of it at record speed! There are many interesting and sweet little creatures out here too. Just this morning I stopped my bike

to watch one of my armadillo friends crisscrossing the road in front of me, enjoying a nice bug breakfast. Those fellows have very poor eyesight, so he never noticed me as he scurried back and forth. A tiny bright green grass snake determined that I was less of a threat to his person than that armadillo as he squiggled towards me, looking for refuge. Once he was at the tip of my shoe, he turned and hurried to safety in the grass. On my way home that morning, I reminisced over those first days living here. I had a Border Collie who was interested in everything that could move! One night, just after we had a play yard erected for her, I heard her barking and growling and lunging at the fence. “Pepper!” I called. “What’s all the fuss about?” Once again fear raced down my neck as the bushes outside of the fence rustled, sounding like there was a strong wind blowing. Twigs and leaves started flying out of those same bushes. “Come on, Pepper!” I cried. “Let’s get the heck out of here! It must be wild hogs. They’ll knock the fence down and kill us both!” I yanked at the leash I had dropped around her neck and pulled my reluctant warrior towards the house, but before we could get to the door, a big old armadillo came lumbering out of the brush! What? How could one armadillo sound like a whole herd of wild pigs? Now, after twelve years, I am one of the natives. I still love my rides. There’s no place closer to heaven than riding over one of those hills and seeing more hills and valleys, cattle grazing in the distance, and rain showers, way over there, pouring water out of one little black cloud while the sun shines brightly all around the outside edges of that cloud! This place is a haven for all who venture out to the hills and have the heart to see the beauty!


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On Christmas Morn He Came A Yuletide Fable by Charles A. Baumhauer

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orothy was uneasy. This was no way to spend Christmas Eve. She had told her mother she didn’t want to visit Miss Pandora, but her mother had insisted. She thought briefly of pretending to be sick, but she knew her mother wouldn’t believe her. “Dorothy, are you ready to go?” her mother asked. “We don’ t have all day. “ “Yes, ma’am,” said Dorothy, buttoning the last buttons on her party dress, while balancing on one foot to put on a shoe. She finished dressing and slouched downstairs to get her coat, dreading every step which drew her closer to leaving. “Don’t look so glum, Dorothy. You’

re nine years old, time to start acting your age. Before Santa comes, we have our holiday good deeds to do. And besides, we’ll probably have tea and sweet cakes and other yummies. Won’t that be fun?” “Yes, ma’ am, “ she mumbled. The afternoon sky was gray with the expectation of snow, and as they drove up the hill toward Miss Pandora’s house, the last of the fall leaves swirled from under the tires and up into the air in reddish brown swirls. The children had never seen Miss Pandora, but they all believed her to be a witch. She never came down to Winterville from her big house on the hill, and there were all manner of tales

about what might happen to children unfortunate enough to go up there. The chimney tops of the house appeared first and then grew taller as they climbed the hill. They seemed to Dorothy like claws reaching out into the freezing air for her throat. “Do we have to stay long, Mommy?” Dorothy asked. “As long as it takes. I told you, Miss Pandora has donated her house to the garden club for our charity tea. There’ll be games, prizes, and an auction of Christmas baskets, which I’m in charge of. So, we’ll be there for a while. It’s a nice boost for the club. And it’s not the only thing that dear old woman does for the town. The new slides at your school, who do you think donated them? You have a lot to thank Miss Pandora for, don’t you think?” The house loomed at Dorothy as her mother drove over the last rise and pulled into the parking lot. Dorothy saw a three-story-high mixture of angles, old moss-covered stone, and tall windows which looked to her like eyes. As they climbed the steep stone steps, double doors festooned with holiday wreaths and greenery looked like a closed mouth. The mouth opened. Dorothy jumped back and pressed herself into her mother’s side as a tiny woman, short and fat and with skin as pink as a piglet’s, hugged her mother briefly. “Janet, I’m so glad you could come,“ she told her mother in a small, soft voice. She was dressed in black, and she wore a white lace collar around her neck. Dorothy thought she looked like a Pilgrim lady left over from Thanksgiving. There were rings on several of her fingers, and on her breast she wore a jeweled pin that seemed like a teeny waterfall of spun gold. “Thank you, Emily, “ her mother said, as she and Dorothy entered the house. “Your home is decorated so beautifully. It must have taken ages. Who did the work for you?” Miss Pandora put a finger tip to her nose and playfully winked. “Oh, the little Christmas fairies, of course. They did it all in under a minute.” Both women laughed. “And who is that hiding behind you? Why, I almost believe there’s someone frightened of me.” “Of course not,” said her mother, pulling Dorothy forward. “Say hello to Miss Pandora, Dorothy. “ “Hello, Miss Pandora.” Despite her misgivings, Dorothy felt nothing but warmth as the old woman took her hand. She was barely taller than she was and her smile was so pleasant, her voice so calming, and she smelled all cinnamony, like Christmas itself. “Oh, I’ve waited ever so long to meet you, my dear,” Miss Pandora

said. “I just know we’ll become great friends. Dorothy and her mother were soon seated with dozens of women, some with their daughters, in a large, candle-lit dining hall with a ceiling so high Dorothy wasn’t sure there was actually a ceiling there. They drank tea and ate petit fours, her mother called them, and the adults jabbered away. Within an hour, the warmth of the fire and the food were making Dorothy sleepy. Then, Miss Pandora came to the table and asked Dorothy if she would like to see some of the toys and playthings from her own childhood, take a break from the grownups. “I promise, we’ll have quite a lovely time, dear,” she said. Dorothy looked at her mother, feeling both curious about what sort of things children had back in olden days and a bit apprehensive about being alone with the old woman. “She’d love it,” her mother said. “Wouldn’t you, Dorothy? You run along with Miss Pandora, and I’ll get the auction started. “ And so Dorothy found herself holding Miss Pandora’s soft, warm hand and walking down a long hallway to another tall-ceilinged room, this one with shelf after shelf of leather-bound books which covered two walls. At the rear of the room, tall glass doors led into a garden, now frosty-looking in the chill wind which groaned against the house. There was a snapping fire in the large fireplace, and lights from wall sconces bathed the room in muted light which was reflected off the rich wood of the walls. Christmas decorations filled the room, and traces of vanilla smells were in the air. Dorothy was transfixed. It was a Christmas fantasy come to life. “Sit with me by the fire, Dorothy,” Miss Pandora said, “and I’ll show you amazing things you won’t believe.” A maid brought a pot of hot chocolate and a plate of brownies. Dorothy felt she were in a fairy-tale place. That’s when Miss Pandora leaned toward her and in a whisper said the most frightening thing. “Dorothy, you and the children were right all along, you know. I am, indeed, a witch.” Dorothy sat upright, the sweet perfection of a bite of brownie caught in her throat. “Don’t be afraid. I’m what is known as a white witch, or I was. I have all but retired, you see.” Dorothy swept crumbs from her dress and almost stood up. A witch, she’s a witch, she thought. “What’s a white witch?” she managed to ask, her mind racing on how she might escape. “We’ re the good witches, my dear. We make nice things happen, not at all like the black witches one thinks of continued on page 56

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From page 54 at Halloween. We wouldn’t hurt a soul, and we love making children happy, especially at Christmas. But this must be our secret, you know. “ “Why are you telling me this, Miss Pandora?” Dorothy asked, relaxing a bit after her scare. She felt marvelously adult, as if hearing of real witches in the world was commonplace. Deep down she supposed Miss Pandora was teasing, of course. But how had she known about her and the children believing she was a witch? “It’s obvious that you’re special, Dorothy. You may not know it yet, but one day you’ll know a great deal more than most about this silly old world. And I will be here to help you, as time goes by. I’ve been aware of you for quite a while. In fact, it might be said that this whole day was arranged just so you could be here. Now, let’s begin your education.” The old woman moved to a lighted glass cabinet which stood near one side of the fireplace. “We witches operate outside of regular time, you see. You read fairy-tales, don’t you? Sure you do. Well, what’s now become only amusing tales for children, was in ancient times the way the world operated all the time. And it’s still the

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reality, only it is beneath the everyday world. Adults nod off to sleep and forget little children can still see. Do you understand?” “I’m not sure,” Dorothy said. “Are you saying fairy-tales are real, Miss Pandora?” “Yes, exactly. Something happened long ago which made the real world of magic hide. But it’s still the reality, the way things really are.” “What happened?” asked Dorothy. “A forbidden box was opened and the world was plunged into darkness. But that’s another story entirely. Just pretend that the everyday world is make-believe and that make-believe is real, because it is. For example, what do you know about Santa?” At first Dorothy was going to play dumb, but something about the old woman’s kind smile made her tell the truth. “I know it’s really my parents,” she said. “But I pretend I don’t know. For some reason, I think they like to pretend he’s real. So, as long as I make out like Santa is real, he still is. In our house, anyway.” “What if I told you that he is real?” said Miss Pandora. “I’m not saying he delivers presents to every child in the world, but he does to some. Look at this.” Miss Pandora removed from a case

El Ojo del Lago / December 2021

a long feather stained at the quill end. “This is one of Santa’s old ink quills, completely magical. Put it to paper and the names of good boys and girls would begin to write themselves into a list. “And look here.” She presented Dorothy with a curved piece of wood painted gold. “That’s the crook from Little Bo Peep’s staff,” she said. “One sweep and all her sheep could find their way to her. She lost her sheep only because she continually misplaced the damn thing. Oh, sorry for my language, but she was a pain in the behind. Anyway, I took it away from her. She was never a very bright girl, that one.” Dorothy started to pick it up. “No, don’t do that, dear, or we’ll be overrun with sheep.” Dorothy smiled. She was pretty sure Miss Pandora was only trying to amuse her. And it was working. “And look at this,” Miss Pandora said. She placed into Dorothy’s hands an ancient-looking brass lamp. “Yes, it’s Aladdin’s lamp. You can hold it, but please don’t rub it, or we’ll be invaded by a genie. Genies are far more trouble than they’re worth, believe me. And that whole three wishes nonsense never works out. Nobody has ever had enough sense to ask for anything worthwhile. Not once.” From out of the case, were Miss Pandora to be believed, came tendrils of Rapunzel’s golden hair—some of which she said were woven into the very pin she wore—a cracked bowl broken by Goldilocks at the home of the Three Bears, a golden apple from east of the sun and west of the moon, the grinder which had turned all the oceans to salt, and a golden walnut shell which supposedly had been Thumbelina’s cradle. But most marvelous of all was a glass slipper which she claimed had belonged to Cinderella. Slipping her foot inside at Miss Pandora’ s insistence, Dorothy imagined she was suddenly a beautiful young woman, and that she could hear the strains of ball music inside her head. Miss Pandora started to remove yet another wonderful object from the cabinet when Dorothy noticed, near the back of the bottom shelf, the corner of a plain wooden box halfburied under some fabric. It was no larger than a postage stamp, and its lid looked scratched and discolored. “What’s that, Miss Pandora?” she wanted to know, pointing to the box. Miss Pandora turned and faced Dorothy, her face growing stern. “You mustn’t ever touch that box, child. The world has enough danger as it is, we don’t need to add any more.” She hurriedly began putting her wondrous delights back into the case, covering the box.

There was a knock at the door, and Miss Pandora left Dorothy to make her slow and cautious way to answer it. After all the fun of the afternoon, she still wasn’t sure she believed Miss Pandora was anything but a nice old woman who had managed to entertain her with splendid stories, but her curiosity about the box was one of the strongest feelings she’d ever had. It called to her, and while Miss Pandora was answering the door, she ran to the case and reached under the cloth— Little Red Riding Hood’s cloak, Miss Pandora had claimed—and grabbed it. She felt as if she were watching someone else’s hand palm the tiny thing and push it into her dress pocket. Never before had she done such a terrible thing. “Sorry it’s taken so long,” her mother said as she stepped into the room. “The auction ran over a little. Have you two been enjoying yourselves?” “Oh, yes,” Miss Pandora said. “You must bring her again. She’s delightful.” Miss Pandora winked then at Dorothy, and Dorothy felt bad about the box, but it was too late to return it. “We thank you, Emily, it was lovely. Let’s go, Dorothy. “ When a maid handed Dorothy her coat, she slipped the box into a pocket, where it rested atop a knitted scarf which she’d crammed in there. Her head was full of magical tales as she ran down the steep granite front steps, the box all but forgotten, temporarily. Oh, the stories she’d tell her friends about the splendors of Miss Pandora’s house and about the rich imagination of the kind old woman. A witch indeed. None of the storytellers who sometimes came to Christmas affairs would be as unforgettable as Miss Pandora. Dorothy was right, this Christmas would be entirely unforgettable, for no one noticed in the darkening of twilight the tiny box bounce from her coat and spring open as it hit the edge of a stone. No one observed the three pale seeds fall onto the starved earth of winter. Unseen under crystal stars was the thick trunk rising skyward in the light of the moon, the green tendrils filling heaven with their grasping climb. But everyone young and old felt the earth-trembles of the first footfalls. And everyone heard, and would never forget, in the flakes of the snow which descended with the new Christmas dawn, the booming thunder of the impossible greeting which awakened Winterville on the last Christmas many there would ever know, a terrifying, deep and elongated bellow which was both absurd and all too familiar: “FEE-FI-FO-FUM!”


Christmas Cancelled!!! Judy Dykstra-Brown Lower the pinãta. Bring the party to a halt. Cease your roar of protest, for I’m not the one at fault for curbing your frivolity and quashing all your fun. If you need a scapegoat, Father Christmas is the one who turned Rudolph out to pasture and retired his sleigh to blocks. while Gaea, Christ and Santa Claus have some major talks. The Christ child won’t be crowned this year. The elves are on vacation. Santa will stay a figment of your imagination. The only Santas left are those “Ho ho” ing for their wages. St. Nicholas gave up the ghost when we put kids in cages. He sold off Donner and Blitzen when we turned our backs on nature’s other creatures: the elephants and yaks. All the endangered creatures in the forest and the seas, those crippled by pollution, global warming and disease. He closed up his workshop as we squandered nature’s gifts, deserted the North Pole as the glaciers formed their rifts. Now bad boys won’t get presents and, alas, the good ones either. We’re being banished to our rooms while nature takes a breather. Will Christmas come another year? I guess we’ll wait and see. Next year will we be perched on or turned over Santa’s knee?

Christmas below the Tropic of Cancer Though other friends and family are too far away, we can celebrate with new-found friends on Christmas day. We will light our candles and cook the spiral ham, eat the sugar cookies filled with nuts and jam. We’ll enjoy the babble around the Christmas table and squeeze another helping of pie in if we’re able. The sounds and tastes of Christmas are fraught with memories— with bubble lights upon the tree and packages to squeeze, but the nice thing about memories is that we keep on making them, for supplementing memories does not mean we’re forsaking them!

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Celebrating Winter Solstice By Patricia Guy

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or me, celebrating winter solstice is a primal, human need. I like to acknowledge my changing physical relationship to the sun through observing the solstices and the equinoxes. In the deep midwinter, the sun and I are the farthest distance from each other, and my appreciation for its warm rays runs deep. My ancestors lived in a cold climate. When the snows were deep and the nights were long, they gathered close together by a warm fire and told family stories while the cold winds howled outside. They were farmers who knew how to preserve the harvest, to make it last through the winter. They were makers of sausage, cider, beer, sauerkraut, apple sauce, salt pork, and good cheeses. They stored dried fruits and nuts in crocks and hung dried herbs from the rafters. Root vegetables were stored in barrels layered with straw under the house. When winter solstice came, the precious dried fruits, nuts, butter and spices were baked into a bread sweetened with honey to add needed calories to stay warm and to keep their strength up. Salted pork was cooked into a stew with onions, carrots, potatoes and herbs in a big pot over the fire. The house was filled with the aroma of the baking bread and hot spiced cider. The children were sent out to bring in evergreen boughs to sweep away the

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cobwebs in the corners, and then the boughs were hung from the rafters to freshen the air. Candles made of bee’s wax offered up the scent of honey on a winter evening. The longest night of the year was a good time to invite in the neighbors to share what we had, to sing the old songs, to laugh and talk, to keep up good cheer to help us remember that spring would come again. I carry these longings to this day. At the first chill in the air, I begin making my big pots of soup. I find that I can’t resist buying candles. I am attracted to carved wooden deer figures and love the smell of evergreens. Hot herbal teas with spices are my winter immune system boosters. I appreciate a good fire, indoors or out, and find that some of the best conversations happen sitting with family and friends around a fire. Now I live in Mexico, whose ancestors celebrated the solstices and the equinoxes as mine did, but with different foods and cultural expressions. Like many immigrants, I have adapted to my new home. I have incorporated the seasonal favorites of this land into my own winter solstice celebration. A hot molcajete shared with a friend keeps my hands warm on a chilly December night. A bowl of pozole and a cup of atole with a few tamales keep me feeling warm and nourished. I now put canela in my hot chocolate and enjoy gengibre and canela in my hot cider. Rompope has replaced my egg nog, and rosca de reyes is now my fruit cake. I still gather with friends by fire and candlelight and swap stories. Now I am learning the songs of the Posada, and the “Da le, da le...” song of the piñata. How we celebrate Winter Solstice changes from country to country, with many cultural variations. What we have in common are basic human needs to gather together to share light, warmth, nourishment, laughter, nostalgia and the desire to cheer each other on to spring. No matter how we celebrate the deepest, darkest time of winter, we all need that reminder that spring will come again!


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The Ojo Crossword

ACROSS

DOWN

1 4 9 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 23 24 25 28 31 34 36 38 40 41 43 44 45 46 48 51 53 54 56 58 61 66 67 69 70 71 72 73 74 75

1 Precious stones 2 Brand of sandwich cookie 3 Bowed stringed instrument 4 Stool 5 Scoundrels 6 Small portion of matter 7 Compose 8 Craftily 9 Powdered drink 10 Opp. of narrow 11 Aroma 13 Communication Workers of America (abr.) 15 Soapy 20 Aged 22 Electroencephalograph (abbr.) 25 Sniff 26 National capital 27 “Often” poetically 29 Walker 30 Ram’s mate 32 Crow-like bird 33 Overdue 34 Computer part 35 Newsman Rather 37 Night bird 39 Drug 42 Compass point 43 Past 47 Omelette ingredient 49 Praises 50 Monosodium glutamate 52 Triangular-shaped house (2 wds.) 55 Shapeless 57 Ancient civilization 58 Russian autocrat 59 Women’s magazine 60 Droopy 61 Adorn 62 Pig meat 63 Asian nation 64 African river 65 Lilt 68 Lode yield

Governor (abbr.) Dice game Twain Little Mermaid’s love Spa Spoken Cat’s cry Hurting Reverse Glassed-in porch Record Wrath Affirmative Heavy thud Her Rotating mechanism Galled The other half of Jima Hole punching tool There’s four in a quart Askant Car rental agency Alien’s spaceship North by east Key Kodak product Time period Chimes Sign language Madagascar franc (abbr.) South-Central Dravidian Destroying Glided Eel Opera solo Handout First African country Representative Asian nation Yield

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Service * ADVERTISING / DIRECTORY - EL OJO DEL LAGO Tel. 376 765-3676

* ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS - ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS WhatsApp ONLY 331-219-6987

Pag: 52

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

directory.chapala.com

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Pag: 50 Pag: 42


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Pag: 03 Pag: 43 Pag: 20

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- MOM’S DELI & RESTAURANT Tel: 376 765-5719 - THE PEACOCK GARDEN Tel: 376-766-1381 - YVES Tel: 376 766-3565

Pag: 43

* REAL ESTATE - AJIJIC HOME INSPECTIONS Tel: 33-3904-9573 Pag: 12 - AJIJIC REAL ESTATE Tel: 37 6766-2077 Pag: 19 - AZABACHE HABITAT Tel: 331-845-0587, 333-405-0089 Pag: 47 - BARBARA WILLS Tel: 376-766-4848 Pag: 46 - BAUERHOUSE PROPERTIES Tel: 33-2164-5301, 33 2672-2236 Pag: 25 - BETTINA BERING Cell. 33-1210-7723 Pag: 23 - BEV COFELL Cell: 33-1193-1673 Pag: 52 - CIELOVISTA Tel: 33-2002-2400 Pag: 05 - COLDWELL BANKER CHAPALA REALTY Tel: 376 765-3676, 376 765-2877 Fax: 765-3528 Tel: 376 766-1152, 376 766-3369 Pag: 68 - CONTINENTAL REALTY Tel: 376 766-1994, 331-366-2256 Pag: 43 - CUMBRES Tel: 33-2002-2400 Pag: 05 - EAGER REALTY Tel: 333-137-8447 Pag: 10 - ERIKA ALAMOS Tel: 331-892-7208 Pag: 44 - FOR SALE BY OWNER Tel: +1 720-984-2721, +52 33-1395-9062 Pag: 56 - FOR SALE BY OWNER Tel: 55-2717-1657 Pag: 48 - FOR SALE BY OWNER Tel: 331-918-7306 Pag: 50 - FOR SALE BY OWNER Tel: 332-954-1372 Pag: 58 - JUDIT RAJHATHY Cell: 331-395-9849 Pag: 17 - LAKE CHAPALA REAL ESTATE Tel: 376 766-4530/40 Pag: 67 - RAUL GONZALEZ Cell: 33-1437-0925 Pag: 03 - ROSEMARY BUTTERFIELD Cell: 332-204-1011 Pag: 31 - VISTA ALEGRE Tel: 33-2002-2400 Pag: 05

* RENTALS/PROPERTY MANAGEMENT - AJIJIC HOMES 4 RENT Tel: 376 766-1562, Cell: 33-1520-1980 Pag: 55 - COLDWELLBANKER CHAPALA REALTY Tel: 376 766-1152 Pag: 58 - FOR RENT Cell: 333-667-6554 Pag: 48 - ROMA Tel: 33-1075-7768, 376 766-3163 Pag: 38, 49 - VILLAS DEL SOL Tel: 376 766-1152 Pag: 53

- CASA ANASTASIA - Care Home Tel: 376 765-5680 - CASA NOSTRA-Nursing Home Tel: 376 765-3824, 376765-4187 - NURSING HOME LAKE CHAPALA S.C. Tel: 33-3470-3470 - SACRED HEART - Nursing Home Tel: 331-027-1501

Pag: 36 Pag: 03 Pag: 41 Pag: 53

* SATELLITES/ T.V. - AJIJIC ELECTRONICS S.A. DE C.V. Tel: 376 766-1117, 376 766-3371 - SHAW SATELLITE SERVICES Tel: 33-1402-4223

Pag: 55 Pag: 58

* SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS - FOODBANK LAKESIDE - LOS NIÑOS DE CHAPALA Y AJIJIC Tel: 376 765-7032 - SCHOOL FOR SPECIAL CHILDREN Tel: 376 766-1438, 376 766-6129

Pag: 53 Pag: 60 Pag: 31

* SPA / MASSAGE - GANESHA SPA Tel: 376 766-5653, 331 385-9839 Pag: 46 - HOTEL BALNEARIO SAN JUAN COSALA Tel: 01 387-761-0222 Pag: 44 - ROYAL THAI SPA Tel: 33-3339-1889 Pag: 59 - SPA GRAND Tels: 387 761-0303, 387 761-0202 Pag: 45 - TOTAL BODY CARE Tel: 376 766-3379 Pag: 26

* STAINED GLASS - AIMAR Cell: 33-1741-3515

Pag: 54

* TAXI / TRANSPORTATION - ARTURO FERNANDEZ - TAXI Cell: 333-954-3813 - OMAR MEDINA Cell: 33-1281-2818

Pag: 26 Pag: 63

* TREE SERVICE - CHAPALA TREE SERVICE Tel: 376 762-0602, Cell: 33-1411-0242

Pag: 50

* TOURS - CHARTER CLUB TOURS Tel: 376-766-1777

Pag: 07

* WATER - TECNO AQUA Tel: 376 766-3731, 376 688-1038

Pag: 55

* RESTAURANTS / CAFES /BAR - AJIJIC TANGO Tel: 376 766-2458 - ARMANDO’S HIDEAWAY Tel: 376 766-2229 - BISTRO 12 Tel: 376 765 7569 - CASA LINDA Tel: 376 108-0887 - GO BISTRO Cell: 33-3502-6555 - HUERTO CAFE Tel: 376 108-0843 - LA CASA DE RAY Cell: 33-3247-1058 - “LA TAVERNA” DEI QUATTRO MORI Tel: 376 766-2848 - MANIX Tel: 376 766-0061, 331-065-0725

Pag: 66 Pag: 55 Pag: 57 Pag: 18 Pag: 07 Pag: 28 Pag: 51 Pag: 49 Pag: 53

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CARS FOR SALE: VW DERBY with 70 thousand kilometers. 996 4 door sedan silver/gold color Manual transmission $2,500 USD. Jalisco titled/tagged. One owner, excellent condition, all maintenance records available February or March 2022. Recent garage review and service. All systems inspected. All maintenance repairs updated November 2021 by U.S./Mexican mechanic/ garage owner. No frills model but one of top offerings by VW for Mexico. Not sold in other countries. Please call: Ann Mexico # near Jocotepec / Lakeside 387 763 1697 FOR SALE: Favors Minivan Cover. Specs are: 5 layers, Driver side zipper design to allow opening driver side door, night reflective, sun protection, waterproof, wind proof, dust proof. Good quality fabric, strong, double stitched. Overall length: 16.5 feet, enough to enclose and protect our Dodge Grand Caravan (2012) that we recently sold in the USA in order to become permanent residents of Mexico. Purchased in 2021, at cost of $1.014 MX, and used ONCE during a 1 month trip. Sell price: $750 MX. Contact Chuck at 33 34 83 9200 WANTED: Low mileage, full records, Mexican plated SUV. Nissan / Toyota / Renault / Honda / Mazda. crjd01@gmail.com or P.M. WANTED: Seeking a New-ToMe Used Car. Mexican plates, Jap-

anese preferred. I’ll wanna take it to a couple of mechanics. 120,000p/6k tops

COMPUTERS FOR SALE: Cellphone MOTO e7 New!! $3,000 pesos. The smartphone supports Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by) and comes with a dual-camera that consists of 48 MP (wide) + 2 MP (depth) while on the front there is a 5 MP. It runs on the Android 10 operating system and the size of the screen is 6.5 inches and the screen type is an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen that will give you an output of 720 x 1600 pixels. The sensors include Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, and proximity. It comes with features such as Bluetooth 5.0, FM Radio, micro USB 2.0, USB On-The-Go, and GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, LTEEP, SUPL. The smartphone is pack with 2 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage. It comes with a powerful removable Li-Po 4000 mAh battery + Charging 10W. If you are interested contact me: joencoza2019@yahoo. com FOR SALE: I am moving to a home that already has a Shaw receiver and Satellite dish. I have a 2 year old HDDSR 600 series Shaw receiver ( HDMI connector cable to the TV is included) and also a 2 yr old Model XKU LNB for the satellite dish, which is compatible for Shaw 600 and 800 series receivers. I am

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asking 1,200 p for the receiver and 1,000 p for the LNB, both which I bought new. Please send PM if interested. WANTED: Looking to buy or take away your broken/non-funtional phones, tablets, iPads, laptops, Macbooks etc... If you have stuff that you wouldn’t want to repair or that you just want to get rid of because you no longer need it, I can take it off you. Looking for anything electronic, does not necessarily needs to be fixable. If you are thinking about giving it away, I would really appreciate it.

PETS & SUPPLIES FOR SALE: Backpack tote for small dog. Soft nylon fabric. Screen window or pull string top opening. Fits up to 8 lbs. Wear in front or back. 350 pesos. Send PM.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

WANTED: Older microwave that works to dry small piices of wood at Have hammer woodworking school Pursuit. Have Hammer could use an old microwave oven to dry wood for bowls. Wayne, can you put the word out that we’d be grateful for the donation of an old microwave? drop off at school attn kim, next to S&S auto. FOR SALE: 2 hand painted Mexican and tables with drawer. 21 inches wide x 19 deep by 24 high. Signed by artist Nhortega. 2,500 pesos for 2. 376-766-4032 FOR SALE: Carry on luggage. Ricardo Beverly Hills, taupe, 4 wheel spinner. Very good condition, all zippers work, expandable. 21 inches x 14 x 8-10 expandable 600 pesos. Jetliner 2 wheel very light black carry on. 21 inches x 14 x 9. Good condition. All zippers work. 300 pesos 376-766-4032. FOR SALE: Voltanoil 3500 generator for sale. 110/ 220 volt. Generator has less than 10 hours run time. Like New Condition. On wheeled cart for easy moving. Has tool kit, 220 volt plug and owner’s manual. Asking 9,000 pesos. Phone: 376-765-2698, 331-7611784. FOR SALE: Royal lemon trees for 150$ pesos each. These lemons are very juicy and little bit sweat. The skin are thin and soft. You can call me : 33 15 45 83 33 FOR SALE: Winter bed sheets. 1 double for 450$ pesos. 1 queen for 500$ pesos. You can call me : 33 15 45 83 33. FOR SALE: Cutter for tiles brand new. Never use. Compagnie

AKSI 24 inches. 900$ pesos You can call me: 33 15 45 83 33. FOR SALE: BBQ Cover brand new still in the package. Price is 200$ pesos. You can call me: 33 15 45 83 33. FOR SALE: Kitchen faucet with pull out (like new) 800.00$ pesos. You can call me: 33 15 45 83 33 FOR SALE: Beautiful patio set. 4 chairs, 51 inch table with glass top, two settees, cushions included. 9,000 pesos, reply to: Aji.jalisc@ gmail.com FOR SALE: Buxton suitcase 27 in x 17 x 10 400 pesos. Jetliner carry on 21 in x 14 x 8 300 pesos. Both are black, 2 wheel, pull up handle, all zippers work. 376-766-4032 FOR SALE: Shaw 600 receiver complete with remote and power cord. Free and clear to be activated. 1500 pesos. 376-766-4032 FOR SALE: Proform 325 CSX recumbent bike reduced. Now just 6500 pesos. Excellent condition,. New on Mercadolibre for over $14k FOR SALE: Never out of box. 8 camera cctv security system. Has all the cables needed; easy to mount. Use outdoor or indoor. All you need is a monitor. $4,000 and you pick up in Chapala Haciendas #2. 1988jeopardychampion@gmail. com FOR SALE: Vintage Kodak Carousel Slide Project w/Extra Carousels! Do you have some slides you’d like to look at from the days gone by? Well, here’s a vintage Kodak Carousel Projector which projects all your precious memories from a tiny slide on to any wall or surface in a large format. Use it during presentations or invite a few friends over to show them your baby pictures. Includes original manual and an extra 17 carousels for all the slides you have. Hard-to-find item here at Lakeside. We brought it down from the U.S. Working condition. $1,000 pesos (price is firm/ non-negotiable). Feel free to ask any questions or come check it out. Please CALL or text 332 921 6096 between 8am-8pm (calls preferred) FOR SALE: Bell car top carrier large flexible, car top cargo bag. 500 pesos. 376 766 1860. FOR SALE: Everheat Model LE150HD ambient infrared propane heater with bottle, manual. Three levels, easily heats 900sqft, pushbutton start, on wheels for easy mobility. Excellent heater, used twice. Moving. Pd. $5250mxn, asking $3500mxn. 331-763-5597. FOR SALE: We have two for sale/location Upper Ajijic Mountain-


side In perfect working condition. Selling as we are moving. Shaw cable boxes: HDDSSR 6OO with remote, HDPVR 630 with remote. Shaw service not included. FOR SALE: Fans, 20” Pedestal Fan. ATIVO model DSF-205. $500 Pesos & 20” Floor Fan. Birtman model BVP-20. $250 Pesos. Tel. 376 765 6161. FOR SALE: Sony Bravia Digital Color TV, model KDL 26 L 5000. This is not a smart tv but is in excellent condition and has been barely used. $2,000 Pesos. Tel. 376 765 6161. WANTED: Exercise equipment. I would like to purchase a non-motorized treadmill, schwin aerodyne bike, and set of dumbbells up to 25# ajustable or individual set. If you have any of these items please let me know. FOR SALE: Breville Compact Juice Extractor. 700 W motor. Extracts more juice and vitamins than other machines. Extra large feeding tube and integrated pulp container. Safety lock. Measures 25.4 x 25.4 x

40.4 cm. 10” x 10” x 16” tall. In likenew condition with box, manual and cleaning brush. Only used 3 times. Paid 3400. Asking 2200 pesos. FOR SALE: Roland E-16 Synthesizer 61 keys with stand for sale 3500 pesos Call 331 539 5491 FOR SALE: Sony “Smart” DVD player UBPX700. $2,000 pesos. High end. Used once and put back in box. Plays any DVD/CD; play any file using an external hard drive, if you prefer. New was over $3,000p from Amazon. Call or email: 376765-4156 or mike-at--ajijiccomputing.com FOR SALE: For non weight bearing below knee rehab, a great alternative to crutches. Comes with basket and padded seat. Can be used either side, seat height is adjustable. This is a heavy duty scooter requiring some strength and agility to use safely. $$2000 pesos. Emily 434 150 7754 (Mexican cell) or pelicanablanca@gmail.com FOR SALE: Selling HDDSR 600 Receiver and LNB for satellite dish (Model XKU). LNB is compatible for

both 600 and 800 series receivers. If interested, please call Jim at 376766-1520. FOR SALE: Etched, stemmed Wine Glasses. Set of nine etched wine glasses. Lovely for special occasions. 400 pesos Call 331-5395491 WANTED: I am looking for a Schwinn Aerodyne Bike in excellent condition. Also need 20-25 lb dumbbells. JesseMichaelMorris@ icloud.com FOR SALE: The Guide to Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America by Steve N.G. Howell and Sophie Webb 250 pesos Call 331539-5491 FOR SALE: Champion Juicer 1500 pesos. Great for making juices from carrot to celery and for making nut butters. Call 331-539-5491 FOR SALE: In Time for Cold Weather. Flannel Sheets. Queen size, two sets of good quality fabric in excellent condition. 500 pesos. FOR SALE: Schwinn suburban 1970 collection bike, all original components, ideal for the ciclovia, very comfortable. It just needs a lit-

tle maintenance. Price $ 5,000.00. Call Alma Rivera 3310053109 FOR SALE: Original Prada Shoes, size 24.5 Mexican, Only 1 time was used, price $3,000 pesos. Call Alma 331-005-3109 FOR SALE: Individual Brass Headboard, Price $2,200.00 pesos. Call Alma 331-005-3109.

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