Letter from Lorraine VIII
Hola and Buenos Dias!
Lorraine’s Folly is finished! By this I mean that my “art project” is completed, and who knows, there may be more follies in my future, for I am undoubtedly a woman prone to such things.
When I wrote my last letter, the stone materials for this project had been delivered to my house while I was in Alabama and my Vineyard friend, Sue Hruby, was house-and dog-sitting for me. She called out of the blue one day and said, “Lorraine’s Folly has arrived. Where do you want it?” This “it” was dozens of pieces of stonework that were waiting for my return to San Miguel for construction of the Folly to begin.
And I have to say, now that it is finished, it is more gorgeous than I expected, but the Mexican artisans are never ones to disappoint. Also not just the artisans — the skilled tradesmen who erected my stone structure were also astounding! They built this small installation as if it was some important structure that needed to remain standing for hundreds of years, and you know what, it will!
Lorraine’s Folly — my magnificent monument to foolishness — I love it!
After the structure was built, the same tradesmen removed the old flaking stone slabs around my little pool and replaced them with new solid slabs that will not crumble into the water. The original stone waterfall was also falling apart, so that was replaced, and to add an LP touch to it, I had little carved rabbits cemented to its sides.
I have got to stop this!
And I will. But there is one more necessary project to do, decorative tile trim around the pool, then I really am finished, I promise. I cannot afford any more of this fun!
My piano teacher, friend and neighbor, Alberto, was over one day watching my Folly being erected. A few days later, he remarked how joyful and positive the energy is when workmen are around our houses. This truth hit me like a ton of “cantera”!
Cantera, what my folly is made of, is a volcanic rock that is mined in parts of Mexico and Central America. Its softness is perfect for the exquisite and fanciful carvings you see everywhere in Mexico. It comes in saffron, gray, or black, and even though the saffron color is pretty, I prefer the gray and black tones because, to my eyes, they are more handsome and elegant.
Concerning what Alberto said about the workmen’s energy — I realized that is one reason I love having house projects done. It’s the workmen! Now, don’t read anything sexy into that statement, even though they are fun and adorable. I am just naturally drawn to their energy.
I didn’t want this letter to be very long, but I absolutely have to share with you one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It happened a few weeks ago, and surprisingly, I was able to share it with a fellow Vineyarder named Sheila, who has lived here for five years.
There are many — and I mean many — celebrations in Mexico, but there is a particular one in San Miguel de Allende that I have wanted to go to ever since I learned about it; it’s called La Alborada. It is an official blessing of the horses — and the dogs that follow them into town. The event is held in the center of town in front of the most photographed churches in Mexico, La Parroquia.
Sheila, who had also been wanting to go, called one day and said she had heard a rumor it was to be the next day. Funny thing was, no one in our circle of acquaintances knew about it, and this celebration is a big deal. We later thought possibly the town was not publicizing it in order to keep the crowd smaller. Lucky for us, that thinking proved correct, and the spectator crowd was the perfect size.
The day of the blessing, we met at the Jardin (the garden in the center of town) and were waiting for the horses and riders to show up. We began to think that possibly our information was wrong, so we decided to get something to eat and then later wander around town. But as we were finishing up a fabulous lunch, we heard horses’ hooves on the cobblestones outside the restaurant. We both simultaneously glanced up from our food, gave each other an eye-popping oh-my-God look, and out loud said — horses!
We quickly paid our check and rushed outside to the street, and what immediately greeted us outside the door was truly astounding. Hundreds of cowboys, cowgirls, and even children proudly riding their horses who were gorgeously decked out in their best riding finery. I have never seen anything like it in all my gringo life! It was absolutely beautiful. Sheila and I both had tears in our eyes during the entire goose-bump-inducing event.
I will say no more about this cornucopia of sights, sounds, and, yes, smells — wonderful smells to this old farmgirl’s nose of mine. I will let my photos give you what thousands of words could not begin to express
Just one more thing: As I drove home to my neighborhood of Los Frailes, dozens and dozens of the horses and riders I had seen in town were riding alongside the paved road, returning home to their respective stables in the countryside.
What a day, what an amazing celebration, what a wonderful culture, people, and country. I am a very lucky lady to have been a witness that day to the incredible love and loyalty that these animals inspire in their people. Truly remarkable.
Thank you so much for reading my letters.
P.S. — My four-legged girls are great; my book writing was briefly put on hold but has begun again, and my piano lessons are fun, even though I am terrible at it!
Although I do seriously try hard at learning to play, what’s kind of cool is that, for once in my life, it doesn’t matter if I succeed or fail. I’m 70, and so fucking what — I’m going to be a concert pianist someday? I think not!
You know who cares about my shitty piano playing? Pearl and Ruby — they care because they have to listen to it! And besides, it’s great to be in a place in life where you do something for the sheer joy of it, not for monetary reasons, not because of competitive motivations, only for enjoyment.
Who would have thunk it. Certainly not me!