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