Part IV: “Laughing with Los Ángeles” (717 words)
Seven years after my first angelic trip in 1993 to Teote , by Y2K, after divorcing my second wife stateside, after having a heart attack and angioplasty, though, still, like the fool I can be, smoking plantations of cheap cigaros, I built a room by hand of adobe, wood and tin, at la casa de palomas, for $400; I wrote 100,000 words about Teote in 4 months of inspired frenzy; I also danced in los calles with jubilation during Semana Sancta; bought the banana and coffee finca, with the help of San Miguel; and lost more than 40 pounds: all this, while, apparently, floating up from honored brother, in the family’s esteem, to North American angelhood—For Goodness Sake!--one of the most quiet kind, I assure you: it was disconcerting, es cierto, though not unpleasant, es verdád, when a multi-tasking whirlwind like me, freed from years of paper-grading up north, took on the wildly circuitous hinterland of Nicaragua. It gave further spin to my tornado.
Phew! What a sentence! Magisterial!
Árcangel Miguel was usually with me here, after all—Qué Guardia!--and mi vida loca in Teote, a constantly numinous south-of-the-border treat. It still is. It was an easy transference for mi padre to make, just a shift from a capital letter, really, though no less mistaken, for all his seriousness. When don Moncho Betanco, with tears in his eyes, named me in 2000 el norteamericano ángel de Diós--albeit one from the States, a curious place for angels to derive--I made it a joke. I carried ‘round a walking stick I called “my sword of truth,” to much alegría de mi familia. As I usually stepped into caca de vaca at the ranch when holding mi espada aloft, it was pretty comical, and I loved it. When I’m in Nicaragua, I’m a star. It became another joyful cuenta de Douglas about their new hermano, the loco from the States.
It helps, I suppose, that I’m a regularly generous hombre, both here and in Glenwood, with time to listen and a tithe shared among my friends, family, charitable groups and Teote, in gracias. It also helps that I’d come back six times in seven years by then, leading Brigada trips, and in 1994 brought cash to buy mi padre a nursing cow. He’d built a rusty herd of dairy cows, before Hurricane Mitch wiped it out here in ‘98. So life usually flows—Rollercoaster!--when on a farm outside a backwater campesino town in Nicaragua, where “everything mad, bad, or sad usually happens, at least once, or all at once, sometimes,” as I wrote back in 2000, “one vast cosmic joke after joke after joke,” still bitter about those colorada cows in Heaven. I need to take it with a tad more cosmic salt, so I’m Kokopéli here, a major trickster, a Palladium vaudeville comedian, for my own sanity. Laughter really is the best medicina, even if los Betancos are right, and I really am a gentle ángel.
I’m a pretty shiny guy in Peasantville; in fact, I work to be the best norteamericano—with-nary-an-ugly-bone--when in Teote, a model of equivalence to balance out the shells my haunted government bought in the Contra War, supporting the tyrannically-evil dictator Somoza instead of cheering on the Sandinistas, democratic to their ultimately capitalistic cores. What in the world does that say, amigos?
I’ll probably buy another milk cow for la finca next year, with the interest, pretty low, on some personal micro-enterprise loans coming due in April, when corn prices get higher, before the planting of next December’s harvest: there’s thirteen Betanco kids living there, two miles east of Teote, with their madres and their abuelos, thus more need for milk de vacas. That’s no joke for me, our body’s thirst for leche and calcium. I too want more liquid freshness left for me, for warm milk in the evening. I’m a viejito, after all, my sleep’s often interrupted by dogs and the town’s chorus of roosters, and my bones are Celtic-fragile: I also have no feathers, no fur, no outstretched wings for bad-fall protection, while standing on my deskchair in the night here, leche-sated, picking orchid candelarias, arcing out of trees in my jardÍn perfectísimo, in resplendent Nicaragua.