May 23, 2020
Ok, I am past, over and moving on from the funkiness of my mood for the past few days. It is real, we are not there and that truth has settled in this infant soul. In my wildest imagination or naïve thoughts, I would have never imagined that this ‘pandemic’ would have altered our plans as we pressed forward at a February fundraiser… Nothing I can do to change it, so I must move forward. I have an admission from the heart, I tend to get depressed when we return from our annual trip. Not saying that I am not overjoyed in reuniting with my family, I am… certainly a couple of weeks apart will refresh the soul a bit I suppose. On the other side of the coin… in the years spent in Honduras I have made several great friends in the land of Milk and Honeydew. They are like a distant relative who lives at a great physical distance and would require ‘effort’ when planning to visit. Thus, after a visit with my extended family in the US or Honduras it is sad to depart their company… because you know that another visit requires the same planning, expense, and effort to gather again… feel me?
It’s not a place
It’s a yearning
It’s not a race
It’s a journey
It’s not an act
It’s not a style
It’s an action
It’s a dream for the waking
It’s a flower touched by flame
It’s a gift for the giving
It’s a power with a hundred names
Vapor Trails, 2002, Peart
Today’s adventures down memory or virtual lane are a bit different than the last couple of entries. I have not skipped or forgotten certain events, times or places… there are many to consume… here is todays offering. Hell Peppers, or as we have come to affectionately know as, ‘Chili El Diablo’, Flem, Scorpion King adventures and his many crowns (as thorny as they are). Each of them has taken a spot in my hard dive of life, the protected sectors that cannot be erased… so hang on for the adventure of Easter egg hunting… Portal style with yours truly.
Our fourth journey found us at Rosa’s home once again after spending the first week at a Federation school digging a Latrine pit and building a new bathroom on the school house. Those guys just love playing in the dirt and removing one hundred-pound boulders from the arid soil. Some of the team worked in the community learning to construct indoor wood burning stove from clay bricks… ‘Justa” (Whoo- sta) stove is the official name in Spanish. Couple of newbies on this trip, Tracey, Grayland AKA Hound dog, Narnie was with us this year… and the regulars as well. We were commissioned to build a small bedroom addition on the back of the Adobe based home. Pretty small project that kept about half of the team busy while the others ventured off building Justa stoves in the community. One morning Senor Jefe returned to our site with a small and inquisitive looking vegetable… a pepper about the size of a tommy toe tomato, but yellow in color. The gauntlet was thrown down! Try it Marco… are you scared? Call me what you what you wish, but chicken is not one of them. Try it they say… you will like it they say! I finally summoned up enough courage to take a small nibble… the initial impact and impression was it was sweet… like a bell pepper, but a slight fore taste of the doom to come. Being one who has a great poker face, I looked at the Jefe, Mater, B-Rad and said, “Not too bad, taste like a bell pepper.” The hook was set, and the line was being drawn in ever so slowly… click… click…click. Simultaneously they agreed to bite into the little pepper… within 3 to 5 seconds the madness began! Everyone had a mouth full of hell’s fury… its pain so sharp you could not spit it out… even if you mustered the strength to open your mouth the sheer terror of having the venomous juice blister your lips! Swallowing was the wiser choice… or so I thought… mas tadre talvez no (Later it would leave a mark). Tears streaming down my face… not so much from the heat, but the expression and reactions from the other guys. B-Rad, gasping for words thru the damnation and fury churning around his incisors… he managed to scream, “That **** should be illegal!” On a hill side far away the birth pangs of torture were born in the ‘Chili El Diablo’ incident.
There is something about the environment found in Honduras… most of the time during our adventures it is hot, well I think it is hot there most of the time being it’s located along the 12th parallel. But it is relatively dry and dusty also. They have ‘Rainy’ seasons typically during (what we call ‘fall’), so for the most part our sinuses take a beating from the red pollen that is constantly stirred up and remaining airborne all the time. Considering the battle between our nostrils results in an excessive amount of drainage for most of us. Jefe carries his Novage bugger scrubber with him wherever he may roam… which includes shade squatting. For the rest of the crew… we hack, cough, and bark up this red tinted substance affectionately know as ‘Flem’. Sometimes the sinuses become so inflamed with the dust… blood mixes with the gooey substance transforming to ‘Bloody Flem’. B-rad and Jefe seem to be affected by this phenomenon more than others, thought I have been affected in years past.
Saving my best for last today, ‘The Adventures of Senor Jefe… The Scorpion King’ As the story goes, and truth is stranger than fiction sometimes… The names and faces have been changed to protect the innocent… no embellishing of this story ever has taken place, but there is a video of the reenactment floating around out there in cyber-land. As office Joe Friday said, “Just the Facts.”
The incident occurred one evening just after zero dark thirty… I was in the shower washing the work off my back and when I came into the room that Jefe, Mater and Hondo shared… (Hondo… always bringing the night light for the guys to sleep comfortably). There arose such a clamor… I saw jefe gasping for breath as he was nestled in the corner of the room… a disheveled grimace upon his face. “What? Happened here?” I asked. Mater began recalling the incident that while they were lying in bed… (worth noting it was separate beds). As he accounts as to, ‘What Happened’? Jerry said, “He was reading his devotional on the evening in question… going on further to say that while Chris was probably surfing the internet… reading fox news highlights or playing candy crush saga”. He happened to glance down and see a scorpion near Jefe’s shoe… “Lakey!” he said, and pointed his finger at the black crustacean on the floor. Without a word, Jefe sprung up from his bead, leapt about ten feet across to Jerry’s bed and began to hysterically scream, “Scorpion! Someone please do not let that thing get me!” (I believe this is a pretty accurate account, because when I was entering into the room he was huddled in that bed and his bed does not have a corner adjacent to it…. Jefe’s account is considerably different than the affidavit given to me, Officer Friday. According to the records in hand, Mr. Jefe stated, “He looked up from his daily reading of ‘Goodpastor.com’ and saw the offending varmint with tail cocked looking to pounce on Mater any second. He affirmed that he did scream to warn Mater of the impending doom, he then jumped from his bed into Mater’s bed to place himself between him and the monster in the floor… offering a moment of sacrificial love to protect him from the creature of darkness”. An act of heroism from one 1/3 to another. Enter in Madison to the equation. Her room was adjacent to the ‘boys’ room and saw firsthand what transpired… She concurred on some points from the given statement but shed light on the truth at hand. She, not Mater or Jefe, killed the scorpion with a shoe as they huddled together on that single bunk! Just so that I could wrap my mind around the entire situation… it was skillfully re-enacted and videoed for a case file that was bound to end as a ‘sealed document’… stored in the same hole that Jimmy Hoffa has been hiding in all these years. As the great theologian Forrest Gump once said, “that’s all I got to say about that.”
So, there you have it folks, the great mystery revealed of how our illustrious and fearful(less) leader received his nickname, Senor Jefe Scorpion King. Shutting the Portal down for a while… until the next posting.
Marco Francisco Valle Valle