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Literature
Future Imperfect
Plans easily made are just as easily lost.
As his hasty designs unravel and one more future fades he thinks -
I will create another,
Just as I always have,
Just as I always will.
:iconMex-Luthor:Mex-Luthor
:iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 0 2
Literature
When All Accounts Were Settled
As a boy, my father was a shepherd in Mexico who watched over a herd of goats and cattle. Later in life he was a minister who watched over his congregation, which is fitting, as the word for both professions is the same in Spanish: Pastor.
But this is not a story of how he lived; rather it is the story of how he died.
***
Ramiro Alvarado was the sort of man you would call larger than life.
And he faced his death with the same sort of strength and dignity with which he lived.
The end of his life was a double tragedy, an odyssey of pain – brain surgery to remove a benign but painful tumor, immediately followed by prostate cancer which spread so rapidly that just as we were all relieved that he had recovered from the brain surgery, his Frankenstein stitched visage began to grimace with the telltale pain in his groin, and by the time he was diagnosed, the cancer had already reached a point of terminal diagnosis.
We kept him at home for as long as possible. As a Pastor, he had a great
:iconMex-Luthor:Mex-Luthor
:iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 0 2
Literature
Commerce City Stories: A Gallon of Gas
I had just got home and closed the tall wrought iron front gate when I heard her shouting to me –
“Sir! Sir!” she said with a phone in her hand, car parked on the other corner of street next to my house.
“Yes?”
“Do you have a gas can? I’m out of gas and I’m stuck here with my babies in the car,” she said, almost whimpering.
“I don’t,” I told her, “let me think what I can do,” and I went inside the house with the feeling that if I didn’t help her, no one would.
My first thought was to empty out a gallon of water and use that, but I warned her that there might be a few drop of water in the gas and that could be bad for the engine.
She was on her cell phone dialing relatives frantically, and said her stepfather was supposed to be on his way but she didn’t know how long it might be.
“Could you just stand her with me sir, there’s a sketchy car up the street and it backed up and the pe
:iconMex-Luthor:Mex-Luthor
:iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 0 0
Commerce City Stories - The Fires of Home by Mex-Luthor Commerce City Stories - The Fires of Home :iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 0 2 Commerce City Stories - The Lonely Tube TV by Mex-Luthor Commerce City Stories - The Lonely Tube TV :iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 2 0 In My Mind's Eye by Mex-Luthor In My Mind's Eye :iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 4 4 Hawaiian Flower by Mex-Luthor Hawaiian Flower :iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 1 0 Window Kitty by Mex-Luthor Window Kitty :iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 1 1
Literature
A Lament for the Plum Tree
I cut the last bit of the plum tree down tonight –
Hand chain-sawed the very bottom of its young stump all the around the edges, and then snapped the center clean across with one strong swift kick that you would have been proud of.
I will miss its delicious fruits.
The apple tree is almost dead and it will be next.
I’m sorry I couldn’t keep your fruit trees alive Father,
But like you taught me yourself–
Everything dies.
:iconMex-Luthor:Mex-Luthor
:iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 1 0
Literature
Imperfection
No one is perfect-
When you really love someone,
You accept their flaws.
:iconMex-Luthor:Mex-Luthor
:iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 0 3
Literature
Oscillation
Falling off the edge,
Softly landing on my feet-
Luck my saving grace.
:iconMex-Luthor:Mex-Luthor
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The Radioactive Flowers at Twilight by Mex-Luthor The Radioactive Flowers at Twilight :iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 3 0 Glasses by Mex-Luthor Glasses :iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 0 0 The Power Awakens by Mex-Luthor The Power Awakens :iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 0 0 Queen Elizabeth Warhol by Mex-Luthor Queen Elizabeth Warhol :iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 0 0 The Old Warrior  - inscribed on Father's tombstone by Mex-Luthor The Old Warrior - inscribed on Father's tombstone :iconmex-luthor:Mex-Luthor 0 3

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Activity


Plans easily made are just as easily lost.

As his hasty designs unravel and one more future fades he thinks -

I will create another,

Just as I always have,

Just as I always will.
As a boy, my father was a shepherd in Mexico who watched over a herd of goats and cattle. Later in life he was a minister who watched over his congregation, which is fitting, as the word for both professions is the same in Spanish: Pastor.

But this is not a story of how he lived; rather it is the story of how he died.

***

Ramiro Alvarado was the sort of man you would call larger than life.

And he faced his death with the same sort of strength and dignity with which he lived.

The end of his life was a double tragedy, an odyssey of pain – brain surgery to remove a benign but painful tumor, immediately followed by prostate cancer which spread so rapidly that just as we were all relieved that he had recovered from the brain surgery, his Frankenstein stitched visage began to grimace with the telltale pain in his groin, and by the time he was diagnosed, the cancer had already reached a point of terminal diagnosis.

We kept him at home for as long as possible. As a Pastor, he had a great procession of visitors from the moment he was too sick to continue working.

My uncle Irineo came from Mexico to see him.

“Los médicos pueden curarlo, ¿no?” he asked.

I looked at him and shook my head – “Lo siento tío, pero el cáncer ya está muy avanzado.”

He put his head down and his eyes welled with tears for second, and then he composed himself again, in the stoic manner common to our line.

My father chose to undertake chemotherapy, in the hopes that it might buy him more time. Very soon his hair began to fall out and he called me one morning to come over and help my sister shave his head, because I had joked that we would look the same.

“I waited for you,” he told me, “You will have the honors.”

And we laughed as though nothing was wrong - we laughed together as long as he could, and even later when the pain was too great, he still smiled for anyone who visited.

Knowing that his time was short, I began to visit him more too, and we spent more time together than we had the luxury of doing in many years, perhaps even since those summers in Mexico when I was a boy, for my life went its own way, and the Pastor was always attending to his flock.

At first we watched nature documentaries. Having grown up on a farm, he loved animals, and having spent a lot of time on that desert ranch where he came from, I loved them too.

Later he requested some westerns, these too appealed to him because cowboy stories bore a strong resemblance to his vaquero upbringing, and I bought him more movies.

We watched “The Outlaw Josey Wales” with my uncle one Sunday morning while everyone was at church.

“Que te parese hermano?” he asked his brother in an almost conspiratorial tone, “Un poco de la violencia para movere la sangre?”

What do you think brother? A little of the old violence to stir the blood?

I am not religious, so Sunday was the one day of the week I almost never saw him, and as I started the movie, I giggled inside a bit at thought that the Pastor was ‘skipping church to watch a movie with his atheist son’ which of course wasn’t true, but it made me smile.

It was around that time that family relationships with him assumed a new dynamic – even as we visited and brought him these little gifts, we all made requests of his belongings that we might keep as heirlooms. For my part, I asked him for an ornate machete he had collected, a silver coin from 1799, and the antique moving picture that used to hang in his bar before he gave up the bottle to become a Christian.

Over the next few months, his conditioned worsened, and he was moved to the hospital. When he left the house that day, somehow I knew he was leaving for the last time.

The procession of visitors continued unabated and perhaps increased while he was in the hospital - that week, a group of rebellious former members of his congregation arrived to ask his forgiveness, for when he first had taken ill, they began to fight over who would take over leadership of his church.

They lingered uncomfortably, praying over him and wanting to settle the unpleasantness before he died. And while I am sure he forgave them, not everyone else did – there were a group of old Mexican ladies from the church, angry enough to fight, who stood there around glaring at the unwelcome guests, and they still did not leave, as though perhaps in the moment of weakness, he might anoint one of them his successor.

And when the offending parties had overstayed their visit, it was my brother who asked them to go -

“You have had your chance to say your peace,” he told them, “And now you are disturbing my family. Leave and do not return.”

And he walked them out and let the doors close behind them.

The last few weeks, a ritual common to families with a loved one who is slipping away began to repeat – the death call.

Every time he weakened, or his condition took a turn for the worse, a family member would begin calling the rest of family to come gather and say their last goodbyes.

And come they would - scores at a time, overflowing into the hallway from his room and filling the waiting room as well. Then the next day he would improve a bit, and began talking a little and receiving visitors at a more normal pace.

With the closest family members maintaining a near constant vigil, the death call repeated three times, but my father did not die.

Finally, I realized that what was needed for the family to have a sense of closure was a bit of ceremony -

On the third such gathering, I took my father’s hand in front of perhaps a score of family in the room and said-

“I know you have struggled hard, and I know you are tired father. I give you permission to go; I will take care of the family.”

After the extended family had left, I took those who remained aside and said - “This has to stop. We cannot make appointments for death – we do not know when it will come. We cannot continue to clog up the hospital like this. It’s not fair to the staff or the other patients.”

And so most everyone agreed to go home while I stood watch with my uncle.

The visitors resumed a more regular pace over the next week or so -

One day when I arrived, there were three young women standing around his bedside crying.

I smiled and hugged them and thanked them for visiting because I had always joked that I hoped I died young, so that there would still be beautiful women crying for me, and here the old man had something like that himself at 67.

Over the course of his last few days, ex-in-laws and other people estranged from his life arrived and had also come to pay respects and make their peace.

And all accounts were settled…

***

On what would be his final night, after the last of his visitors left, he excused himself from this world and whispered to me –

“Son… No more visitors.”

“Yes Father.”

My mother and sister and her children arrived to keep vigil with my uncle and I went home for the night.

As I was leaving, I turned to look at him, and he winked at me and gave a little smile.

Late that night, I received a call to return to the hospital because he had passed.

And at last, the small group of closest family who remained said goodbye and let him go.

But he did not leave us -

A day later, flowers he had arranged for with one of his nurses were delivered to my mother with a note professing his love.

His funeral was grand, and more like a celebration than a grim occasion, with hundreds in attendance to pay their respects.

And when we had lain his coffin in the ground and three was nothing more to do, one of his grandsons handed me an old cowboy hat of his, and I put it on, gave him a last salute and walked away.

And he is still with me to this day, because the things he taught me I will never forget -

I hope that my life will be lived as beautifully as his was, filled with family and friends and joy and honor.

And when my time comes,

I hope I will die as well as he did.

I had just got home and closed the tall wrought iron front gate when I heard her shouting to me –

“Sir! Sir!” she said with a phone in her hand, car parked on the other corner of street next to my house.

“Yes?”

“Do you have a gas can? I’m out of gas and I’m stuck here with my babies in the car,” she said, almost whimpering.

“I don’t,” I told her, “let me think what I can do,” and I went inside the house with the feeling that if I didn’t help her, no one would.

My first thought was to empty out a gallon of water and use that, but I warned her that there might be a few drop of water in the gas and that could be bad for the engine.

She was on her cell phone dialing relatives frantically, and said her stepfather was supposed to be on his way but she didn’t know how long it might be.

“Could you just stand her with me sir, there’s a sketchy car up the street and it backed up and the people got out are starting at me. They are freaking me the fuck out!”

“Let me see,” I said, and went back through the gate and around to where she was standing.

She was thin, plain white lady with brown hair and brown eyes, and there were indeed two sleeping children in car seats in the back of the battered car while she smoked a cigarette. I sized her up quickly and noticed her that features were fairly clean and her voice didn’t sound intoxicated, and I decided she didn’t look like meth head or anything like that, not that it mattered really - I give money to drunk panhandlers downtown if they ask me.

“Don’t worry I think those people live there,” I told her, “and this neighborhood isn’t too bad. I’ll stand here with you until your family comes if you want.”

The people who got out of the car and walked rapidly toward us, and I could immediately tell they were just teenagers being dropped off and heading elsewhere, and in any case,  the Mexican immigrant neighbors across the street were drinking beers and hearing the panic in her voice, they began eyeing the situation with interest.

But the people walking toward us were indeed just boys, and they walked past without a word.

“Thank you,” she said, “my husband was with me, but he left and went to a friend’s house up the next street because he was afraid the police might see us and stop, and he has a warrant.”

“Understandable,” I said, but really it wasn’t - I could not imagine leaving my wife and children in the middle of the streets to just stave off my own paranoia.

“It’s in Weld County, so I don’t think they could arrest him here, right?

“I don’t know, but I wouldn’t chance it either,” I said, trying to reassure her that he husband leaving her alone here was OK…. but I would have chanced it.

“He’s a good man, he works hard. He’s a mobile mechanic. We became homeless back in December and we’ve been living in motels, spending everything he makes. It’s been OK, but these last few days, he hasn‘t found any work.”

She told me she was staying at the Vasquez Motor Inn, and asked me if I was familiar with it, she wondered if it had bedbugs.

She waited and made more calls, and after about 10 minutes when it seemed no help would be coming soon, she said “Can you go ahead use the water jug?”

“Sure.”

“Will you need to go to a gas station?”

“Yes I do.”

“Could you give my husband a ride?”

And now there’s this line between compassion and getting yourself too entangled with the problems of strangers that we were edging up to -

“I can get you a gallon of gas, it’s no problem really, it won’t take long, it’s just around the corner.”

“OK thank you!” she said and got back in the car.

 As I grabbed the water jug I had emptied out to use as a makeshift gas can and headed for the car, one of the Mexican neighbors whistled for me -

“I have one for you!”

He got into the back of his truck and handed me a red gallon gas jug, and I switched to Spanglish -

“Gracias bro!”

“De nada!” he said.

“Ella se quedó sin gasolina?” one of the young ladies with him drinking beers asked.

Sí, y sin familia también” I replied and we giggled a bit, apparently they had seen her husband leave.

I drove to the gas station and back in about ten minutes, and she was still waiting.

As I poured the gas into her car, she thanked me again –

“God bless you. I’ll never forget you, and your beautiful yard. It’s very nice.”

“Thank you, it’s nothing really.”

“Maybe someday you’ll come home and I’ll have filled your yard with chocolate… or gas cans!”

I smiled a bit at the thought.

“You wait here a second and I’ll go get you all the change I have, it’s not much but you can get a little more gas at the 7-11 on the corner, and get you little farther down the road.”

“God bless you!” she said again.

I came back with bag of change, and a bag of snack mix and a can of peanuts – things I’d usually use for a casual weekend poker game.

“Here you go. Do you want some snacks too?”

She accepted and thanked me again.

“You all take care!” I said and walked away while she started the car, heading across the street to return the red jug to the neighbor.

And now the neighbor was going with his best English – “You no have one?” he asked, pointing at the red gas jug.

I shook my head no.

 “You keep it for you,” he said, “I have two more.”

“Gracias!”

They waved and wished me a good night, and I did the same.

I went home happy that I could help, happy that I have good neighbors.

And though there are plenty of people down on their luck in Commerce City,

In the middle of the night, we pulled together to get this lady and her family what they needed to be on their way and face another day –

A gallon of gas.

deviantID

Mex-Luthor
Cyber Citizen
United States
Intellectual and dabbler in a wide variety of arts and music. I have a BA in Writing, an MBA, but I work primarily in IT. Singer, schmoozer, and all-around life of the party. Some have accused me of being a "Renaissance Man", but I view myself more as a "Jack of all trades, and master of none".
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:iconpinkythepink:
pinkythepink Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2016  Professional Artisan Crafter
:love: Thank you for the favorites, it really means ever so much to me that you enjoy my artwork! I invite you to add me to your watch so that you can see all the future beaded and stitched pieces I have planned! :blowkiss: Just think of the sparkles... :squee:
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:iconlolsylol:
lolsylol Featured By Owner May 3, 2013
Have a mexcellent birthday.
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:iconmex-luthor:
Mex-Luthor Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
Thank you! :)
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:iconvenort:
venort Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I have been informed by a reliable source that it's your birthday.

Happy birthday! :D
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:iconmex-luthor:
Mex-Luthor Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
Thank you :)
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:iconradiius:
Radiius Featured By Owner May 2, 2013  Student
*pokes*
SO I HAER ITS YUR BIRFDAY
:cake: :party: :la:
Have a happy one ^^
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:iconmex-luthor:
Mex-Luthor Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
Thank you :)
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:iconlalunatique:
LaLunatique Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Your work is awesome :)
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:iconmex-luthor:
Mex-Luthor Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
Thank you so much!!!
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:iconoverseer:
overseer Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012   Digital Artist
Thank you for the interest in my work! Very much appreciated.
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