Those things swimming in the foreground are called “pavos Mexicanos” . . . translation: Mexican turkeys.  While my Bride has been busy improving her language skills, my days have not been totally wasted . . . almost, but not completely.  I wrote a song entitled “The Ballad of Jim Bomberg” for one of the local cantina singers and have an article being published in the December/January issue of “Discover Sonora” magazine detailing the procedures and shortcuts to get a Gringo safely across the border and a brief review of available activities here in San Carlos.  Look for it wherever the New York Times Bestsellers are sold.  Or you can simply check it out online at www.discoversonora.com when they get it posted.  This is only their 3rd issue and it may take them a couple of weeks to get it on the website.  I have several first run autographed collector’s editions available that I’ll be sending out as Christmas gifts to our kids instead of the obscene wads of cash they usually receive.  Our youngest kid, Jenny, is coming down to spend some time with us over Christmas and New Years and we will be making a speed run to Tucson in the Jeep for a couple of days just before Christmas.  I NEED to have a Honeybaked ham and eggnog for Christmas regardless of the inconvenience!

    Feliz Navidad                                                         December 16, 2005

Since our calendar is rapidly filling for the remainder of the year this will probably be our last opportunity to wish all of you a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah.  Consider yourselves so wished!!!  And be sure to keep an eye out for our annual Groundhog greeting featuring our favorite groundhog, Amarillo Al.  Hugs and smooches to one and all, Chuck and Kalyn

Unfortunately this year’s turkey was somewhat smaller than usual due to the necessity of smuggling it across the border disguised as a tropical houseplant.  They do have turkeys available down here which are usually sold by someone from the back of a pickup truck.  I nearly bought one of those things last year until my sharp-eyed bride noticed that it had webbed feet.  Life south of the border just seems to meander along without interruption despite my bride’s attempts to complicate the situation through endless hours of intense study of the native tongue.  Once again, I have provided ample evidence that “less is more” by refusing to muck up my mind with anything more than “coach class” Spanish and thereby gaining a respectable 15 pounds whilst my “Estudiante de Español” has succeeded only in losing a similar poundage ordering her meals in a grammatically correct manner!!  It really is entertaining to watch her carefully explaining her dining preferences to someone who doesn’t speak a word of English and then comparing that to what she was actually served.  “Cerveza, taco, cerveza” is ALL the Spanish anyone really needs down here!  We enjoyed our first 3 weeks in peace and harmony with nature until the arrival in early November of the proverbial “ill wind that blows no good” in the incarnation of my brother-in-law.  Even BEFORE his arrival he managed to enlist me in another of his endless construction projects through a campaign of non-stop e-mail whimpering and whining until I cried “Uncle” and agreed to supervise the eradication of a termite infestation that had invaded his condo during his summer absence.

¡¡¡Feliz Navidad y prospero año y felicidad de Mexico!!!  Ahhhhyup, we made it back to “our spot” at the Totonaka RV Park in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.  After departing Phoenix in early October, we made a brief stopover in Tucson where we had the rear air conditioner replaced in our “home” and attended a wedding between two of the folks we formerly worked with (work…YUK…GAG…BLAH).  Since the bride is of Mexican heritage the wedding turned out to be exactly what we needed to ease ourselves back into the “mañana” lifestyle.  Margaritas, Mariachis and Mexican food were the order of the day and we also had the opportunity to spend some time with people from our former world (since retiring, we consider ourselves Third World people).  Our arrival in San Carlos was heralded by a gaggle of giggling geezers intent on an invitation to our annual Thanksgiving BBQ...

My bride had to flatten herself against the back wall to get this picture of the entire interior of the condo during the extermination process.  As they say, “what you see is what they got.”  When visiting this place it is beneficial if you ever participated in “let’s see how many freshman we can stuff into a phone booth” while in college or are very good at the game of “Twister.”  Although the interior of the place may be somewhat square-footage challenged, the sunrise from the rear patio is spectacular...