Pulque Chronicles ( III )
Pulque can only be appreciated when it satiates not only the body but the soul
- “I cannot take you to Conca”- said the man — “I am driving to Ezequiel Montes, 60 minutes from here and I need to stop by another place before, but If you don’t mind I can take you and I am sure you can catch up another truck or even trailer from there. The town is not big and I could drop you off at the gas station at the outskirts”.
We accepted the offer. Emilio sat next to the man and I was at the window. The cabin of the truck was spacious enough for the three of us.
“Usually, I do not pick up people from the road”- he said- “but you look like harmless, so what the fuck, I will give you a ride. Besides, you will help me to keep awake”. Don Julián Olvera Feregrino was a 54 years old man, with abundant hair as black as the night, robust moustache, tall, with a strong complextion, though a bit plump. He has reddish white skin with stiff wrinkles, consequence of a life working over the dust and under the sun. He was a farmer and his main business these days was the egg industry. He owned two thousand laying hen, which produced, approximately, 1600 eggs per day that he used to sell to a big corporation in Mexico. He used to grow corn before — origin of his reddish skin — but with the NAFTA that industry became very harsh. A lot of his friends lost their farms. He was smart enough— of course he said that - to move to the egg business.
- “It was not that bad. Less sun, less work and more money” — said Don Julian while giving a couple of puffs to his Delicado — “ at least in my case, which in the end is the only that matters to me, right?”.
- “Let me ask you something boys, why are you travelling like this?” — he didn’t look at us when he talked — “I mean, tickets cost less than a hundred and fifty pesos and will take you there in three hours…you can even take a nap”.
- “ That is true, Don” — I said keeping my eyes on the bushes and grasses plaguing the countryside — “ however, it is far more interesting hitchhike like this. Otherwise, we have never met you and you could have fallen sleep already, right?”.
- “Yeah, that…and also we have no enough money for a round trip” — said Emilio killing every wisdom and mystery in my words — “so, it is a way to maintain it cheap and spend the money in other things”.
- “Like what?” — said the old man.
- “ Like chicks, for example” — reply Emilio with a big smile on his face. And to be honest that was actually part of our motivation.
Don Julian laughed so hard because of Emilio’s words that his laugh echoed through the window of the truck.
“That’s it boys, spend the money in a better way than a fucking bus ticket” — he said still laughing — “ there is no better destiny for your money than girls, but remember not all the love and more important, not all the money”.
He sounded like my grandpa. He used to say the same…perhaps that is why my grandma left him.
Still smiling the old man tuned the radio. A regional station was playing a song of Joan Sebastian.
- “ This is a good one. Listen to this guy”- he said while turning the volume up — “you guys do not listen this kind of music, I know, but you should. This is the best Mexican singer, and God knows it. Girls love it”.
Mas alla del sol
y mas alla de todos mis errores
que no les quede duda que tu eres
el mas grande de todos mis amores.
Encima de todo esto
que a ti te siembra duda y me causa pena
me atrevo a asegurarte que el castillo no es de arena
yo si te amo.
Don Julian was really proud of the song just like if he wrote it. He sang and gave puffs to the cigarette all the 3 minutes of Mas allá del sol.
While listening the song, I remembered an old cassette at home. My mom used to play it a lot and I remembered this piece. She used to sing this exact song while cooking. Then, when she used to sing.
The rest of the ride Don Julian let the music on the radio enjoying almost all the songs. To be honest, I didn’t like this kind of music, but it was having a pleasant effect on me. It should have been something with the old ford 1998, this 54 egg trader with his reddish neck, the smell of the cigarette and the sun colouring the semi-dry fields forming lengthening shadows with the organos, a type of cactus from the region.
It was almost 7 pm when Don Julian dropped us off at the gas station. The man could not find the place he was looking for just in the middle of the ride and we lost some time. He told us that this was the perfect point for a ride. Trucks and trailers need to stop there to fill the tank before getting under way. The next gas station was a couple of hours later. He left the station after putting some gas, with no more cigarretes and the volume at its maximum.
A couple of years later, while visiting Ezequiel Montes, I saw the man again. His face was in a huge poster. Apparently he became Major of the municipality of Ezequiel Montes. The official advertising was announcing a new financing plan for the local farmers. Some sort of “friendly” loans.
Next to his poster was another advertising even larger. It was promoting the annual holyday and its main attraction, the Joan Sebastian show. It was for free.