Pine Nuts: Sweet memories of Mexico |

Pine Nuts: Sweet memories of Mexico

Spending last week in Cabo San Lucas saved me from Seasonal Attitude Disorder as I returned home tanned, rested and ready to run for office. A sunny disposition is money in your pocket, it cuts down on your doctor bills and keeps you from sourin’.

During quiet moments in the warmth of Mexico I was flooded with memories of my time at Mexico City College a half century ago. I had to smile picturing myself atop the Taluka Rocket (bus) hanging on for dear life, on my way to the first day of class. A local girl about my age started laughing at me as I closed my eyes and crossed myself, and she took my hand to calm me and assure me that we were not actually going to plunge off the narrow road into the ravine. I thanked her for her calming assurance and asked her name. “Adriana,” she told me. She spelled it out on a piece of paper and handed it to me.

“E’tu?” she asked. I wanted to sound Mexican so I lied, “Ricardo,” and I spelled it out on a slip of paper and handed it to her. She smiled another disarming smile and motioned to have her slip of paper back, whereupon she scribbled a number and handed it to me.

It was a telephone number. I was falling in love there on top of the Taluka Rocket on my first day of school.

Happy? Words cannot describe the feeling …

The first thing I did when I arrived at school was to find somebody who spoke both languages. Gustavo agreed to translate for me and he called Adriana to ask her to go to a matinée movie with me on the coming Saturday. Sure enough, Gutavo worked the magic, and she agreed to go with me to the movies. Gustavo wrote down her address and I bought his lunch.

The following Saturday afternoon I hopped into a cab and gave the driver Adriana’s address. I had learned just enough Spanish in a week to ask, “Como se llama?” His name was Alejandro. How I remember that all these years later, and forget my times tables is a mystery to me.

We stopped in front of Adriana’s house and my heart started to race as I climbed out and waited for her to appear. She was, to my mind, the most beautiful girl in all of Mexico. Finally she did appear, looking adorable in a flowing white dress, and holding a single red rose, which she handed to me and smiled that winning smile of hers that melted my heart all over again. Then she held up one hand and asked, “Mamacita?”

I thought “Mamacita” must mean, “Am I hot?” And I nodded my pumpkin head in concurrence.

Well, “Mamacita” suddenly appeared and climbed into the cab ahead of us, then came a parade of children that piled in and filled up the back seat. Adriana pulled two of the children out and ordered them to sit on my lap in the front seat, which they did. I looked at Alejandro and saw he was smiling a knowing smile.

I, meanwhile, was trying to calculate in my head if I had enough pesos to pay for the whole tribe at the theater. I don’t remember the movie, but the two kids who sat on my lap in the cab also sat on my lap during the movie.

I wanted to see Adriana again, but my college budget could not stand the strain, so I, as we used to say in Nevada, “drawed out.”

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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