“Maybe we won’t make it to the bus in time,” Austin said yesterday afternoon with a grin from the front seat of Keila’s van. We were in traffic, and the slower the traffic got, the more excited we got. We like it in Tegucigalpa. Every meal is cooked by Seniora Valladares, Keila’s madre, and the food is delectable. Last night we ate fried plantains, rice, and beans (frijoles), topped with queso and this creamy cheesy stuff called mantequilla cream, and when I say topped, I mean caked; it was a “help yourself” environment and, believe me, I helped myself. In the backyard there are orange trees, papayas, guavas, tangerines, guanavanas, toronjas (not familiar with those 2), and an avocado tree. Jessica and Faith, I’ll see if I can steal their avocado tree and transport it to our house. No guarantees.
The clock struck five and we were still in traffic. Austin smiled and made a phone call. We didn’t really do anything with our extra time, which was great. We just relaxed, watched Anthony Bourdain, played computer games, looked at pictures of Andrew South’s new baby (I’m still getting a handle on the idea of him married; now this!), layed on couches and fell asleep to Blood Diamond. Well, some of us fell asleep… whoops! But before bedtime, el padre, named Lazaro (or Lazarus as he likes to say), called everyone into the family room for a Bible reading. I missed most of the message, but picked up on the story, one I had coincidentally been reading a lot this year. It was when Jesus was at dinner with Pharisees and disciples and a woman roamed in, drunk on the Spirit (and high on fumes, John Darnielle?), and poured extremely expensive perfume on Jesus’s head, anointing him for burial. The teachers across the table rebuked her for being foolish. She should have sold it and given the proceeds to the poor, they said. Lazaro became animated at this part, waving his hands and squinting his eyes. Later Keila prayed for a long time in Spanish, and she mentioned my name.
This morning the padre called me into the kitchen for pancakes by saying, “Jon! Jon! El Capitan!” I’ve never felt more honored in my life. Then, as acting Captain, I put mantequilla cream all over my pancakes.