A Friend On A Cot

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There is this compelling need within me to record and share some of the emotions and thoughts during a visit to a small medical clinic and a friend on a cot…

Ruben has diabetes. While hiking on Sonora’s Pinacate volcanic range (where the astronauts trained for the ‘Moon Landing’) he fell on some rocks and hit his head. He was most likely dehydrated. A few days later, while on a city hall errand, he passed out as he got out of his car. A good Samaritan witnessed his fainting spell, called an ambulance, and Ruben was taken to this Mexican clinic. The Pinacate event no doubt led to the fainting spell.

My friend, Ruben, was lying on a small cot in a dingy cell-like room in this medical clinic. He was on his back, covered by a cheap and gaudy blanket, staring straight ahead at a solid wall of concrete, for all the world like a man so forlorn he did not wish my wife and me, anyone, to be there with him. He was able to speak but his words were barely audible and with a total lack of will or spirit. A connected intravenous contraption was the only apparent equipment supplying nourishment and proper medicines to my friend. There would be some tests. With luck he would be out of the clinic in two days.

Ruben’s family was just outside this small closet-like room, sitting in a slightly larger area with sofas and chairs – his wife with a kind smile, his lovely and fidgety children, his mother with the aged and creased toil lines on her face, and his brother. They greeted us upon our entry into the little Mexican clinic and they tried to show us kindness with their modest smiles of thanks for being there. Their consideration of us, their genuine warmth, would ever be locked away in our memories… These were the same friendly and warm faces of most of the people in this small fishing village my wife and I call home.

Now, standing above Ruben, who works for the beach resort where I live and serve on the Board of Directors, my feelings were jangled. Part of me wanted to cry at the scene in front of me. There was Ruben, valiantly assuring me that he was going to be okay…”no problema, Bill, mi amigo.” His voice was weak, but, then, Ruben had never been strong of voice – just softly saying what he had to say, but saying it with more verve and commitment than now. My wife, Julie, stood at the end of the cot trying to show her smiley face and reassure him that we were there if he needed us.

We left ‘la clinica’ but my thoughts would not leave me. They took me down several mind paths that dealt with the quaint and beautiful culture of this small fishing village, how the families all gathered in moments of crises, how they bore up so well under circumstances such as this one, accepting the fate that was dealt to them.     My thoughts took me down the dusty back roads of this fishing village of Rocky Point where scraggly dogs roamed the streets in search of food, where sand from the desert floor was a constant airborne gust and swirl in the wind. They took me to the middle class areas of town where lovely haciendas dotted the landscape. They took me to the poverty that was a part of this tiny microcosm of the world, where the young kids rushed out at a red light stop to wipe down a car’s windshield, where hard working people with bronze skin wearily wandered up and down the beautiful beaches to peddle their wares. They took me to the pottery shops, the t-shirt shops, the fish markets where some of the best shrimp in the world were cheaply sold.

The thoughts took me to the Sandy Beach area where I lived among the wealthy and not so wealthy folks, those who sunbathed on the sand, swam in the myriad pools, relaxed in the spas, exercised in the resort gyms, ate at the finer restaurants along the beach and near the Old Port, and enjoyed million dollar views from their condo decks.

The thoughts were there, mingling and mixing, showing me the sides of societies the world over, the haves and those who wish to have. Somehow, here in this nostalgic world of Rocky Point, Mexico, the differences were stark, enough to batter the brain with too much unwanted and unwarranted guilt. Here was a town trying to come into the twenty-first century, arriving a bit slowly, but here, eventually, with all the resources and fast spreading technology, to become another Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cancun…

The thoughts were there about the US media’s enthrallment with denouncing this country, this lovely little speck of scrub brush desert, dusty roads, middle class and poverty, and a beautiful Sea of Cortez. Never have I lived more safely anywhere in this world than Rocky Point and I marvel at the absurd arrogance of the press to beat a dead horse. Sure, there is occasional crime in Mexico and in Rocky Point but not nearly as much per capita as can be seen in almost every city and town of equal size in the United States. Try living in some areas of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Houston. Yes, I get it, these big metro areas are melting pots. My mind just tells me it’s grossly unfair to keep posting negatives about a town and a country called Mexico without certain qualifiers. Can we not use the common sense God gave us no matter where we travel. There are few places in the world today where one can wander in an area that is suspected of having a crime element. We go where we feel it’s most safe to go. That’s our world today — a bit different from not so many years ago.

My clinic visit to Ruben caused all of this rambling and I’m glad it did. Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco), scrub brush desert and The Sea of Cortez, is a spot that can make you want to stay – in my case, for several years. The town has an AutoZone, a new Convention Center, a new Sam’s Club, a Walmart affiliate, a Burger King, a Dominoe’s Pizza, a lovely Malecon, a theater mall, jet skis for riding the waves, sailboats, yachts, para sailing, on and on. In fact, the government has already funded a future home cruise port for Rocky Point – to be started in June, 2013. Aero Mexico is scheduled to start two flights a week into Rocky Point from Las Vegas, Nevada. For anyone loving the seaside experience and life style, this is a good place to come.

My thoughts take me to an end point… This is a different country. The language is different. The culture has a timeless and nostalgic quality. ‘Manana’ is a theme for living. Things can wait until tomorrow, next week, or next month. If a rumor is not started by 11:00 AM in the morning, it’s time to make one up. This little fishing village where I live is making strides to become one of the best areas to visit, an area where one will perhaps stay a long spell along the long stretch of coastline we call The Sea of Cortez. There are a lot of good people working to make that happen, and it will happen!

In the meantime, Ruben must get better…not because we need him at the Bella Sirena Resort, but because I love the man, his stubborn yet gentle manner — and I love his family.

Please follow me on Twitter (@brchitwood) and preview my books at http://goo.gl/fuxUA (scroll/preview).


7 thoughts on “A Friend On A Cot

    1. Hopefully, ruben will leave the hospital on Tuesday next… He was transferred over from the clinic. Thank you so much for your sentiments – they mean a lot (for him and for me!) My best wishes to you.


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