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Looking out my Backdoor: Ripa Van Wrinkle rides again


October 18, 2018

I should have a good ten years of health ahead of me, since the last time I was this sick with a head cold was a good ten years ago.

The prevailing wisdom is, if you don’t medicate a cold, it will wear itself out in two weeks. If you do medicate a cold, it will hang on fourteen days. In these two miserable weeks, I’ve hardly left my bed.

Medical advice from the young men on the Rancho; Tequila. Medical advice from my cousin Jim; Whiskey. My Medicine Cabinet is empty.

My friend Lani, she and I are the only gringas here at present, housebound with different maladies. I said, “Can’t you just see us two old fools, setting out to seriously drink?”

First, we would have to locate the right place. We would not want to get tipsy where people know us, assuming a drink or two would render us wibble-wobbly. Which is probable. That rules out favorite places like the Restaurante Don Luis, up on the mountainside. Maybe that little corner bar in town, the one with blue walls, the one with the beautiful carved-wooden barstools, the one that always has loud music blaring out onto the street?

Then we would need to decide what to drink. Neither of us are drinkers — see Medicine Cabinet above. This is a serious quandary. Since we would surely get sick, umbrella drinks are ruled out. If we upchucked a drink that tasted good, we would never be able to drink it again.

If we go to the loud-music bar, we couldn’t stay long, so we’d better order doubles. Think about it. A double shot of Medicine would probably do us in. Two doubles would kill us.

This is all in the interest of getting well. Seriously. Once we downed the drinks, some kind souls would pour us into a taxi and send us home where we would puke and then we could get up and go.

This is pseudo-scientific informaiton. Like attracts like. Did I learn that in school? We have poison in our bodies making us sick, so, add more poison. The poisons stick together like iron filings to a magnet. We disgorge the whole mess, and voila, two healthy old fools. What do you think?

That imaginative outing gave us a good laugh and the next day we did indeed feel better. Laughter is the best medicine. It chased out the poison. The following day we ventured out for lunch at Rolando’s Acapulco Tacos. No outside stimulation needed.

Did I mention Lani and I are the only two northerners at the Rancho? We expect Crin and her sister Anne to arrive Monday. Then Jim and his 95-year-old mother are coming in Thursday. John and Carol will show up Sunday. And Nancie and Pat, along with Julie, fly in to Guadalajara the following Wednesday.

Imagine my surprise when I got up this morning. I had not even made coffee. I had just put a load of laundry in the washing machine, stepped out of my bodega, and saw, coming in my gate, Kathy and Richard, who were not expected to show up until December.

Double take. I could not believe my eyes. Was I awake? Was I still in bed, asleep, dreaming? Hallucination? Imagination? I was not drinking, I swear.

Hugs around proved they were my real flesh and blood friends. “We could not stay away.”

I chopped apples, bananas and papaya and cooked oatmeal for breakfast. We ate. We talked. We hugged some more. I drank my coffee.

Within a few short days, we will have a “Full House” on the Rancho. We will get rip-roaring intoxicated, all under the influence of friendship and laughter. Let the good times roll.


Sondra Ashton grew up in Harlem but spent most of her adult life out of state. She returned to see the Hi-Line with a perspective of delight. After several years back in Harlem, Ashton is seeking new experiences in Etzatlan, Mexico. Once a Montanan, always. Read Ashton’s essays and other work at montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com. Email [email protected]


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