Friday, May 30, 2008

Ay, Chihuahua, Ha, Ha, Ha!

It is dramatically strange, after re-reading this Blog, to realize--Yikes, Chihuahua!--what a great life I'm leading! There is life after work. Cool. Rainbow. Hippie. Amen.

Gracias, CenterDoug

Heart for the Americas

‘Twixt Here and There

“Heart for the Americas”
©Doug Evans Betanco 2008
For La Tribuna, Glenwood Springs

I have a heart for the Americas and their people: North Americans, Central Americans, South Americans, all Pan-Americans, from Hudson's Bay down to the tip of Patagonia. Born to the same hemisphere on this twirling planet, we’re made special, instantly-united by geography and history, even when torn by government shenanigans, disparity, immigrant abuses, and almighty pressure from across the oceans. Americans live in the Americas, and I’ve come to love them all.

A Waspy young boy, I grew up in New Jersey in the ‘50s: my closest touch to Latinos was the Puerto Rican street gang in West Side Story. That condition lasted well into my 20s, until I moved to Denver, discovered “Mexican” food and met a few Hispanics, one from Peru, in 1973. From then until 1993, my take on the other sons of America was that they lived somewhere else and occasionally bloomed with genius like Gabriel Maria Marquez or Sandra Cisneros or Rudolfo Anaya. All through the ‘80s in Glenwood Springs, few spoke Spanish, except for the high school Spanish teacher.

In 1993, however, all the Pan-Americans came crowding in on me, or, rather, I barged right into their space, a total gringo, by joining a CMC-sponsored trip for three weeks to Glenwood’s Sister City, Teotecacinte, Nicaragua. My first thought when I got to this ravaged village at the end of the road was that we fund windowboxes full of red geraniums for the town square! It's been a high-learning-curve ever since. There I found what’s shaping up to lasting joy in my life and a greater authenticity as a writer. For four years before my trip and for fifteen years after, the campesinos of Northern Nicaragua and the people of Glenwood have worked to bring the infrastructure of the town back to healthy standards after the devastation of the Contra War in the ‘80s, building potable water systems, sharing expertise in education, health and agriculture, adding daycare centers and a notable high school, while bonding as brothers and sisters. I became a Betanco as well as a better Evans. Suddenly, the people of Central America and I, at least in Nicaragua, became family.

I have grown deeply as a result of this bridge-building, and have welcomed our new Hispanic population to the Valley since 1993 as a step forward in cultural diversity. I’ve loved the ESL students in my classes, even though we were frustrated by language acquisition and college level standards. The values of our new Latino neighbors are admirable, based in the Golden Rule and the nuclear family. I know we can work together to build our community stronger than either could do alone, a synergy of best practices greater than the sum of its parts. At least I hope so. It takes patience, compassion, gracias and especially listening from all sides.

I’ll be writing a column a month for La Tribuna, focused on the interface between my Pan-American sisters and brothers, here and in Nicaragua, where I live half the year. As “The Honorable and Loco Ambassador from Teote to Glenwood Springs,” appointed by Teote’s Council, I’ll be continuing the Sister City efforts. With one foot in the First World and one in the Third, it’s a continually topsy-turvy life of insight that I hope you’ll enjoy. Gracias por todo.
[For more info about the Sister City work, contact me a].

Gracias, CenterDoug

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sunbeam's Gift

I've got a fat check coming, and it's created some angst in me. I'm meant to stimulate the economy with it, which sounds a bit sexy, but, unfortunately, I've got new rules.

Believe you me, I've been very patriotic in my economic stimulation for 63 years. I've done it with finesse, buying hard-cover gardening books and GAP clothes in escalating sizes, paying for colleges and cosmetic wart-removal, while investing mostly in a Carbondale artist named Wewer Keohane, a foresightful decision, gracias por todo.

Currently, though, I'm spending hours a day divesting my Glenwood Springs apartment, an Ali Baba's Treasure Cave, of once-very-stimulating stimulations, piled up in corner, closet and antique Chinese cabinet. In Teote, I can't show my home fotos to the Betancos: this Uber-Stuff marks me as the grossest rico on the Planet Earth, even though I fit the American lower middle level by averaged income. I can hear the campesino calculators spinning: "There's 100 T-shirts in that closet, and I have three!" This makes me very uncomfortable, for very clear reasons. As well, I'm tripping over heaps of treasures, not good for an aged rainbow hippie with very delicate bones.

So, soon after returning to my Colorado Tower Suite, I commited to minimalization on a daily basis, while also standing in my power not to buy one thing 'til it's almost bare: just me, a bed, a desk and chair, a scant summer wardrobe and my enormous art collection. It will rival campesino cupboards in utility-simple: my sister Marta feeds thirteen people a day at la casa de palomas with four sandwich plates, three soup bowls, 12 plastic glasses, four coffee cups, and 13 pieces of silverware, so I've a perfect model in my head. I've spent a week packing china and glassware for consignment! "I will not purchase anything but diet food and prescription drugs 'til I'm living like a peasant," my brand-new mantra: count on a porch sale at Palmer House in June.

However, living in Glenwood Springs while "Not Accumulating!" is ridiculously difficult. In Nicaragua, there's nothing to buy but Dollar Store Specials, so it's easy to keep my life light there. Here, however, with the caravan crossroads of the globe right up the road in two directions, I'm learning to say "No!" real hard.

Maybe I'm a glitz-magnet? Even more difficult, my friends are also downsizing and want me to pick up their unwanted things. It's hard to say "No!" to a rain of intriguing gifts, especially since "Free!" tingles my poor-Welsh-peasant soul: I am getting better at it, gracias a Nicaragua. Plus, I simply have no place to put one more thing!

I'm feeling, however, almost unpatriotic: Using our three trillion dollar spendfest in Iraq as a model, I imagine we're to get to a BigBox pronto and BUY, but that disobeys my rules. As well, the "Good Citizens Shop" idea does not work for me as a criteria of valued citizenship: Grammy Edwards always taught me that "Good Citizens Save," but maybe that's become Obsolete nowadays. What to do? What to do? I certainly wouldn't want to be considered a terrorist for living on the interest of my interest.

On top of all that, this E.S. check looks like "found money," money for Teote, for land, cows, turkeys, fish-farms and the like. Even though money spent there usually ends up in a Miami bank, this doesn't seem the intention of OHG's gift, and as a diplomat from Teote, now, I walk with measured steps, especially with money from the Gods of War out there.

I wish my Nicaraguan son, Ramon Ernesto, that joyous sunbeam, were here to reflect and focus my thinking. He's a very good communicator, despite the language barrier, as he knows me pretty well after 15 years, yet thinks that everything I say is downright magical--What can I do?--even when I'm being an utter fool. Perhaps because of that, I . . . Huh? That's it! I'll give it to Ramon! An official gift from OHG to welcome a son of the Americas to our shores, one packing a US Passport. I've decided to adopt him here in the States, which fills me with the joy of a completed turn-around, both for me and Nicaragua, and certainly for Ramon Ernesto.

I'll buy his airplane ticket north--Support the Airlines!--and the rest will be his first Estados spending money, once he's here. I imagine he'll know exactly how to stimulate the economy.

And I'll find a pathway through this glitz, so I can live as simply as a campesino, even here, deep in the heart of Colorado.

Gracias, CenterDoug

Friday, May 16, 2008

When Dios Touched Adam

[CenterDoug Notes: Having just read a must-read article by Evgenia Peretz, "James Frey's Morning After" in the June Vanity Fair, I need to establish at this end of the blog a small disclaimer, as I did with "In the Beginning,"earlier on: while all I write is as truthfully and honestly written about things that happen in my life, this is still an embellished memoir, a literary work, not a news story. For the literal nasties who trashed Frey as a "liar" for being a creative artist with his memoir of addictions, one big "BOOOO!" for simple-mindedness and spite. A Million Little Pieces is a great book. Frey's new novel, Bright, Shiny Morning establishes him as a major American writer, and, too, one who has stayed completely dry throughout his vilification.

The following narrative essay, "When Dios Touched Adam," is a case in point: while this event occurred on March 15, 2008 in Teote's little white church, from 8 pm to 9pm on the night before Easter Sunday, I'm writing this reverie on May 18, a product I'm editing, embellishing, and polishing through mists of recollection and wonder. I'm working to be honest but I know there are occasional lapses, where the word choice or emotional nature of the text has required movement from before to after, or, even more, to invention of detail for clarity. There were, for instance, flowers on the altar on March 15. Also, Don Moncho and Ramon Ernesto would probably remember the episode differently. The don wouldn't want dona Eva to hear about all those ladies hugging him. Ramon might downplay his crying to one tear in the eye because he's such a macho. We all edit our stories every day. Right now this experience feels like a dream I'm glad I caught and saved. As Norman Mailer stated about memoir as a genre, "That's why a writer writes his memoir, to tell a lie and create an ideal self" from which to glean some truth.

The best way I know to push my buttons is to call me a liar: I must have buried trauma about using my creative imagination, some holdover from a childhood telling stories and, sometimes, getting caught in a fib. Still, I wouldn't pause a moment from adding flavor to the brew of a story, even in a memoir, if it helped to bring my truth to the insight of a reader.

Any reader who feels cheated if a memoir isn't 100% factual needs to grow: there's no such bird in the library's aviary. Even histories and "news" pass through the filter of the writer. Hmm. Maybe this excoriation of Frey comes from our sickness-to-death of being "lied" to, by those who should know better. Perhaps, the wrath of professional writers projected at Frey results from buried guilt for "spinning" stories in their pasts, in order to pay the bills.

Still, after the Frey incident, I feel I need to pull a Kurt Vonnegut, and remind other bloggers that "Nothing in this book is true." CD]

"When Dios Touched Adam"

Imagine, if you will, that ultra-famous section of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling extravaganza in which Dios, all glory, wrapped in cherubim and light, sends life's spark from His finger to a hunky, recumbent Adam. Zap! Got the picture?

I got zapped much like that, I know, last March in Teote, as did most of the catolicos in the Upper Jalapa Valley, at the Resurrection Eve Candlelight Mass during Holy Week in Teote's new iglesia. When in Teote, I worship with my family of Betancos there, and, because it's a liberation Catholic diocese, I take communion as well: there, if someone wants to eat, he's served, with joy and gracias, regardless of his past affiliations. I get hungrier for host, I guess, being hourly bombarded by mortars of poverty and manipulation, down there, so I'm very deeply grateful.

The church is a 100' x 150' x 30' hall, with wrens nesting in the rafters. It's filled with wooden benches--No way to slouch!--lit by large open windows, with a center aisle sweeping up to the very plain altar, backed by a 20 foot crucifix of carved and painted wood, with Christ upon it. To each side, just recently donated, life-size statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in brightly painted plaster, look out to the congregation. I swear that Jesus statue winks at me, sometimes, but, then, my eyes are failing.

When the Betanco family, about 35 strong on Holy Saturday night at 8 pm, waiked into the darkened back of the iglesia, I had to let my eyes adjust, a glimmer of dusk still behind me in the western sky. The church was dark: Jesus was still in the tomb. The family split up at the door, the brothers and sisters claiming seats in the back pews with their kids, while mi padre don Moncho, my newly-adopted son Ramon Ernesto Evans Betanco and I headed quickly up the side aisle and snagged don Moncho's customary seat in the first pew, where all the heavy-praying people sit, wanting, like my Dad there, to be that much closer to Heaven. Eight wrinkled ladies squeezed tighter so the three of us could sit together. Everyone had candles but us. Who knew it was a candlelight service? Well, don Moncho knew, but he's a notorious cheapskate: he knew the deacon would pass out candles to anyone not armed with potential light. How strange to be where a 5 cent candle can make or break your dinner!

It's strange, as well, to be in a darkened church, even stranger that the statues were shrouded with winding linen, that no flowers from local gardens decorated the front. Even stranger to a norteamericano, almost everyone was weeping for the loss of Jesus, still unrisen. Most of the town had participated in the life and death drama of Jesus's passion, for a solid week, every day a different festival of spirit, triumph to disaster, then, that night, the anticipation of renewal still to come. Ramon Ernesto was crying; don Moncho was crying; I was shedding buckets, completely uncharacteristic of me. The darkness was palpable and moving.
I wear my spirit much more openly in Nicaragua.
It's the norm.

The padre finally pulled up in his Toyota truck, a troubador of spirit to ten local churches in the Upper Jalapa Valley, and the crying stilled. He led us through whatever the standard service demanded, then came down from the altar, eyes wet, and, burnishing a twig of limonaria from the church's garden, whisked holy water to the congregation, baptizing us anew. More tears, this time of gracias and hope.

Then he called forth the deacons, whisked them well, and commanded them to light the altar candles, to unshroud the statues as he proclaimed the Resurrection of Christ. "Christ Is Risen! Christ is Risen!" he shouted to the corners of the church. Everyone sobbed anew with joy as the statue faces were unveiled. We lit our candles, from one to another, down the rows, and passed the Peace with shining faces.

Good Lord, I'm crying as I write this.

I've spent many Sundays in church, here and there, but never have I been as unified with a weeping congregation as that night in March. The depth, the solidarity, the proximity of my new son, crying his heart out in thanksgiving for his brighter future, for a real-live father: Lordy, I just started to bawl, quite gringo loudly, I'm afraid. As soon as Ramon and I got wailing, don Moncho wrapped us in his campesino arms and, jubilant, joined the teary chorus. Then, the weeping, heavy praying ladies 'round us wrapped us up in hugs while the wailing, the joy, got even bigger. The priest, recognizing a real miracle, came over and whisked us all again. The congregation showered us with gracias, while we three just cried for joy.

Then--Praise God Almighty Madre!--the guitar choir strummed over, and, through the sobbing, they sang my favorite song, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which the Latin church has adopted: for a moment--Zip-Zap!--I stopped having a body--Ay, Chihuahua!--came one with light. Anyone who's built bridges 'twixt there and here, my central metaphor, will feel the click. What can I say, I'm sobbing right now. It's a holy moment to remember. I've never felt more nobly a campesino.
I know the Teotanos in the church unloaded a font of sorrow and releasing joy, still held from the hellstorm of the Contra War that devestated Teote 25 years ago. My being there, a symbol to the town of America's loving and generous people, turned much around. Truly, a night of international honor por todo. Gracias.

It'll straighten me, make me stronger, bring tears of light, make me whole. Zap! What a powerful-deep-love, in that hall of joyous peasants! An all-out zap-feast, from a holy, outstretched finger. I felt my fifteen years in Teote validated, made perfect. Suddenly, and only for the moment, all my ironies came together. It transfixed me for hours, "a fool for Dios," my sister Marta says, with a chuckle. Don Moncho danced in the streets. Ramon repeated "Gracias," over and over. Marta fed us chicken soup. We all watched the sun rise together at 4 am on Easter morning on my porch at palomas, too wired to even think of bed 'til earliest morning.

I gained an insight on the nature of joy, but that's another story.

Amen and Hallelujah, Gracias, CenterDoug

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

7 Wierd Things About Me

David Crofts Munro, blogster of "Drunk with Barley," has tagged me in a Blogger game to reveal 7 wierd things in order to facilitate greater intimacy with my readers. He left his Comment at the end of February, about the time I gave up fulltime blogging since I lost the Net on my Desk down in Nica and got tired of the busride to Jalapa to hit the Computer Cafe.

I'm piqued to be picked and I take on the challenge, even if belatedly.

1. I guess it's pretty wierd to think there's nothing really "wierd" about me, though "kinky," "odd," or "eccentric," "foolish," "crazed," or "demented" might be easier. Some people think I'm a walking abomination, but that's their problem. What others might think "wierd" in me is none of my business. That's their projection, only. This is coming from my core belief that everything in life is ultimately both "wierd" and mas o menos perfecto, at exactly the same time, and what's important to me is plumbing the space in between that tension with loving kindness.

2. After two marriages, four children, seven grand-children and nine "adopted" Nicaraguan kids as well, and after 15 years of discouraged celibacy, I have "come quietly out of the closet" and formed a mature and loving relationship with a man of my own age and background, also retired, "my CL (Current Lover)." Perhaps it's wierd to have waited so long (63) to feel so natural about my sexual orientation. Yes, that's wierd.

3. I spent 15 hours this last time in Nicaragua revising one 50 word sentence in my post, "Enter the don." The one about me on a runaway horse. I love that sentence, but even I think spending that much time might be really wierd.

4. Most of March in Nica, surrounded by the aftermath of our US-sponsored Contra War in Northern Nicaragua, an act of terrorism that lasted ten years, I've finally worked through my fear of our haunted government (OHG) and "Spin and Terror," the developed world's two-headed dragon of hypocrisy who zaps honest writers on sight. I feel the release of the terror in me, have replaced it with a more peculiar and courageous love for the Beltway Bubble machinations, so good at teaching the world how not to be, so forcefully teaching us the value of honesty in the world by lying so unconvincingly. Don't you just love them, for helping us to get it? A strange but more comfortable balance for me, that will have me putting up a very wierd and politically incorrect story of mine, "This Particular Kindness," on CenterDoug: I've been sitting on it for 8 years while processing this terror, this fear of being boxed as a traitor, this long trip from the year 2000; while I'm grateful now, my life since 9-11 has been terribly wierd. It's interesting that, while many Americans feared terrorists, I feared OHG, my own government, much more, all that time. But now, it's "been there, done that, done." It is important in my life to replace fear with love and live in gratitude for it. I even feel compassion for the Shrub. Gracias a Dios por todo!

5. I hate mosquitos, am a malaria magnet, yet wierdly choose to live in Nicaragua half the year, though mostly in the dry season when they're diminished: if anyone could figure how to market mosquitos by the pound, Nicaragua would be a very rich country. The Teotanos can't wait for me to come back: when I'm there, no one else gets bitten but me. Now, that feels really wierd.

6. I went to a friend's daughter's 8th grade Honors Assembly (She got a prize!) last week, which opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, both of which stir my soul. I know that's wierd, but I was raised in the 40's and 50's.

However, it's also wierd to recite the words "liberty and justice for all," when I know from my own experiences in the world that OHG intentionally oppresses the lower 90% of any "undeveloped" nation state it touches, and considers the peasants of the world to be "expendable" cannon fodder. Slow Burn. Somehow I'll find a way to be grateful for it, but it's hard. Even in the US, that lower 90% are considered too stupid to be told the truth, are treated like mindless cattle, afraid of the ranch boss's electric prod. How wierd! Freedom and justice dies when fed only fear and lies.

7. I am the scion of English peasants who made good in Pennsylvania before and during the Revolution by selling horses (probably stolen from the Brits) to the first American revolutionaries, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. I have to needle my DAR great-aunts lovingly about "our foremothers" being revolutionary terroristas in the 18th century. How ironically wierd!

I am also related to a long line of hard-drinking, coal-mining Welsh peasants, economic terrorists in the Jolly Olde England of the 1850's, who came over here to escape the hangman and whose sons and daughters fought for labor rights at the turn of the century. How those boozy tenors ever married into the DAR is a very wierd story that the great-aunts won't tell.

In the Sixties, I took to the streets of Lawrence KS a couple times, wearing tie-dye, once to hear Bobby Kennedy speak, but, really, that was more about dancing and singing and beer and high-flying than class warfare. Rainbow-thinking didn't seem "wierd" then, but it sure does now, except among other like-minds. "Like, archaic, man, you know, like?"

In 2008, I'm a stabilizing force in the lives of a hundred Nicaraguan Sandinistas who cattle-trucked--every last man, woman and child alive in 1979--to Managua to peaceably and almost bloodlessly overthrow their hated dictator Somoza, our Pan-American puppet for 30 years of low-intensity-terror. All those women nursing babies in the streets made peasant decimation by Somoza's National Guard pretty impossible, especially since the Sandinistas made sure the huge international press corps was on hand to photograph them all. Most had Spanish copies of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence in their back pockets to bring good luck, in solidarity with the principles of liberty, justice and fraternity for all which those pamphlets inspired in them. What a wierd spin OHG put on that!

How wierd to be a pacifist in such a long-line of Anglo/Hispanic freedom fighters! Our revolutionary tradition in this country makes hereditary terroristas out of most red-blooded Americans, really, somewhere down the line. Given OHG, though, I have to wonder which side of 1776 the Beltway Bubble would support? I really can't see anyone in the War Room thinking it politically correct to join George Washington, that great guerrilla, behind the trees of Virginia, to fire potshots at the 18th century's foremost killing machine, the Redcoats. Can you? And, since OHG is already doing such a great job of wrecking nearly everything, I'd say it's doing itself in already, all by itself, giving me liberty to build peaceable grassroots bridges. How wierd that OHG considers such bridge-building a quasi-terrorist act, at least in Nicaragua!

Gracias, CenterDoug

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Buen' Dia, Arriba

“Buen’ Dia, Arriba”
For the Glenwood Independent Post (May14, 2008)
(925 words)

Good Morning, Arriba--“Up There,” what Nicaraguans call the States. I've fallen in love all over again with Glenwood Springs and Colorado, where I've lived since 1973. Full of successful people and kissed by La Madre Mundial with the natural eloquence of roaring rivers and snowy, silent mountains in May, Teote's Sister City thrills me, even while it chills me, after three months of 90 degree days. I'm very happy to be home, but I think next year I’ll hold off coming back until the middle of June, so I can throw away my long-winter-underwear.

I'm now not only a don in Nicaragua but also an "Hon." Teote's Town Council Chairman and its Mayor, who sing trio with me—I’m the Segundo, the high, haunting tenor, backed by guitar and accordion--have invested me with a new title, El Embajador Honorable y Loco de Teotecacinte á Glenwood Springs. Being a crazy but honorable international Ambassador suits me much better than Norteamericano Angel de Dios, so I accepted the mission to warm our Sister City relationship, somewhat cooled and distant since 9-11.

I will not be organizing or running Brigade trips as in the past, but I’m looking around me for some younger blood to carry on this very meaningful work, with my facilitation.

The bridge I've been building for fifteen years just keeps getting stronger supports, tied right to the heartful bedrock of people-loving-people that binds it all together. I'm in danger of becoming lovable as a result, a tad difficult for an aged-rainbow-hippie-curmudgeon like me.

I'm also upgrading my wardrobe, since sweats don't really cut the proper diplomatic swagger or dignity I must now maintain. I may even buy a linen suit and a Panama hat! Does anyone know where I can get a diplomatic sash or which way it crosses the chest? Any diamond-studded Orders from various and sundry Kings or Queens I could borrow?

Lordy, I'm going to have to remember to shine my shoes! Now that I think of it, though, I don’t own shoes you can shine.

I'm also crossing another bridge on my return, as both the Glenwood Post Independent and our Western Slope Spanish-language newspaper, La Tribuna, have invited me to write continuing short essays for their readers on living the multicultural Anglo/Hispanic life. It's the next step in what I most often dream for myself, a regular readership and publication as a professional writer of honorable authenticity.

Royalties would help, as well.

I can guarantee two things at least: I’ll always make deadline, usually coming in early, and, having my fill of spin and terror in the last 20 years of "news," I will not tell lies. Getting at the truth of anything, these days, takes courage, persistence, discernment, and humility, so I'm practicing sooth-saying in the mirror each morning along with my diplomatic bows. It strengthens my backbone as well as forcing me to hold in my shrinking stomach, usually churning from my haunted government's latest mendacities.

Always, after spending time with the hardcore Sandinista peasantry of Northern Nicaragua, and especially after returning to Arriba, I'm faced with a dilemma to my bridge-building, now exacerbated by my new, more public roles up here and down there: I know from personal experience what the rest of the world has taken as Gospel for years, that the USA I love has completely and cravenly lost its moral credibility in the terrorized world it's done more than any other nation to create.

Whatever happened to the idealistic country which, through the Marshall Plan, rebuilt the infrastructure of Germany and Italy, our former enemies, as a free and brotherly gift from the American people after World War II, instead of demanding ruinous reparations? We presented to the world, then, a pure example of right action and forgivenance, one that also proved eminently profitable. We did to them what we would’ve wanted done to us, had we lost the war.

But, then, what has happened to The Golden Rule, which I still live by because it works great? Does it not apply to nations, as well, especially those which talk such a high-minded line when condemning their brother nations? Perhaps that Rule, in today’s geopolitical realities, is Obsolete?

I hate that thought with all my power and patriotic fervor behind me, but it's made real to me every day in Nicaragua, a major victim of American "Spin and Terror" for the last 80 years. My family and all peace-loving Nicaraguans, who just want to eat, are boxed as rabid terroristas even now, a huge joke if it weren't so dangerous and stupidly hypocritical.

According to our State Department, terrorists hang from every mango tree in Northern Nicaragua, but, honestly, if such bogeymen are there, they wear Abercrombie and Fitch safari wear, plus black glasses, of course, not the Dollar Store garb of the Sandinista campesino.

I wish they'd come down from my mangos in Teote, if indeed they're up there, as sleeping in my chicken roosts with swarms of malaria and dengue carriers, plus all my cooing, over-pooping palomas, is a most unhealthy perch for any poor human soul, much less a privileged Yankee terrorista.

I suppose, as an international diplomat, I’ll learn to lie with charm, but, for now, I’ll stick with honesty, since that’s what I crave from others. Everything else, instead of unifying bridges, builds crazy division, and who on this planet really needs anymore of that?

Freezing in Arriba

I'm home to Glenwood. It's May 7, still very cold by any Nica standards, and everything has changed, remained the same. How strangely comforting and familiar, to realize that what might have been tumultuous and disorienting, not so many years ago, is grinning-calm, solid and triumphant.

Gracias for my happiness.

There's so much to write, now, a 3 month journey that somehow exploded, a tin tomato-juice can of firecrackers--and, yet, no one got hurt, especially me. I got everything I asked for.

Except Internet access. Be grateful, everyone of you, for that miraculous blessing of instant Google. I planned and paid to have it, but, No! So I grew instead from inner springs. Por favor, forgive me my almost Blog-less April!

Here's all the changes:

1. I was completely warm down there, even though Colorado got 100 snow days.

2. I saved my entire pension for three months while living like a PHARAOH OF EGYPT in Nicaragua.

3. Everyone I touched down there, grew.

3. What I didn't want, happened, and I made it better.

How simple. How complex!

Gracias from don Douglas, now in Glenwood Springs.