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How we spent our 2011 Christmas vacation in the Sierra Madre III

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The Christmas moon

The Christmas moon

Continued from last post…

“No, no.” Jim smiled gently. “We’re just tourists. It’s our Christmas vacation.”

I was freezing in the truck. My back, still not perfectly okay from the operation was killing me from sitting up so long. I could see from Jim’s body language that he and Matthew were in some sort of trouble with these guys.

It was difficult to start the truck; I guess due to the cold. Finally the engine kicked in. I turned on the headlights. For our trip we had put in those bright bluish lights that we had put in just for the trip—they are not street legal in the U.S.

Gunning the engine, I headed straight for the Jim, Matthew and the two men.

As I approached them, I slammed on the brakes, and the truck skidded through the mud right up to where the four were standing. So far as anyone could see, there could have been a bunch of us in the truck, including some bad guys.

I opened the window just in time to hear Armando say, “We don’t mean you no harm.”

I kept the engine revving as though at any second I could just squash these guys into the mud.

Armando said, “It’s beautiful here. This is the best place for tourists. Write that in your blog thing.”

At that point, a caretaker came out of one of the cabins. He told Jim and Matthew his name was Juan and when Herman and Armando’s backs were turned he pulled down on his bottom eyelid, making the Mexican sign for “Be careful.”

Herman turned to Juan and said, “They is sleeping under the trees tonight.”

Armando looked at Jim and said, “Juan, these gringos got no right to be here.”

“Calm yourself,” said Herman.

“Where’s my f…..g bullets?” said Armando, fumbling around in his pockets.

“It’s no big deal,” said Herman. “We have beer. We have perico. We will have a good time.”

“What’s perico?” asked Jim.

Herman and Armando laughed. Armando said, “The perico is a little bird-can’t stop talking. You gringos call it parakeet.”

“Oh, good,” said Jim, who had no idea what these two drunk guys were talking about.

Armando and Herman gulped down another couple of fist-fulls of the white powder.

The caretaker, Juan, pulled down his eyelid again and said, “Bye, bye,” leaving the scene quickly.

“Us too, goodnight, my friends,” Jim said, grabbing Matthew and jumping quickly into the truck. I gunned the engine and drove splashing across a creek and through the trees getting a good two hundred yards away from Armando and Herman.

There were picnic tables and benches we could see in the headlights. I parked next to one of the tables and then we all piled out of the truck. With my bad back, Jim and Matthew helped me as we hobbled into the woods.

After a bit, we stood behind a tree just watching and waiting.

We didn’t know if they wanted to rob us, kill us, or just frighten us some more.

Jim said, “One thing’s for sure.”

Matthew asked, “What?”

I too asked, “What, Jim?”

Jim repeated himself, “One thing’s for sure-these guys are comin’ after us.”

“What are we gonna do?” asked Matthew.

“Not much we can do,” came the answer from Jim.

“God bless,” I whispered.

In the darkness, I took a photo of the crescent moon above the trees—just in case we lived long enough to want to remember this moment.

We waited. We couldn’t see what Armando and Herman were doing but they kept opening and slamming the door of their truck. Finally they started the engine and we figured they were leaving. But instead of driving out of the camp, they came directly towards where our truck was parked.

When they saw we weren’t in the truck, they put on their high beams and started roaring around looking for us. We ducked down and hid, but they drove around for a good twenty minutes.

Then their truck stopped-right near ours. They got out of their truck and we could see their flashlights turn on.

The started combing the woods for us. We could see their flashlights lighting up the whole place.

“Geez,” whispered Matthew.

“Don’t use the Lord’s name in vain,” I whispered back.

to be continued…

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