Early morning rituals, South Texas

A COOL, CLOUDY morning. Mostly. The weather people promise a high of about 90 degrees this afternoon, but at a tad past 7 a.m., coolness reigns. So do the birds. The grackles, who are just coming to life, the mockingbirds, the doves and the tweeters and chirpers. It’s too late for the roosters. Can’t hear any of them. A cloud just covered the bright star that dominated the southeastern sky. Probably a planet, it’s so bright. My cousin Mike would know what it is, or my brother Alejandro. But I never learned the heavens at night. Or at dawn.
Looking down the street to where a truck is backing up to the HEB grocery store’s unloading dock, I can see a trace of fog under the yellowish light of the street lamps. We don’t call them that anymore, do we? Street lamps. The term evokes a older times. Charles Dickens, maybe.
Across the street, my sister’s neighbor’s son’s 80s- or 90s-era Cadillac presides over that side of the street like a satiated royal. It stands out against the various shades of dark green of the trees, the lawns and the house. It is a light blue car with a white top. The blue looks like a pretty pastel in the semi darkness, which is a lie. It’s another kind of blue, a metallic blue, really. Less appealing. But at this moment it’s a satisfying blue.
I’ve prepared the morning coffee in the old-style electric percolator that my sister refuses to give up, and it will soon be ready. My brother-in-law Jess is in the shower and my sister Carmen is still in bed, enjoying every last moment of sleep before rising to don her walking clothes. Soon another sister, Dora, will arrive after attending morning Mass at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church a few blocks away and the twe best friends will set off on their morning walk and gossip exchange.
The sky is getting lighter and soon the street lamps will enter their period of slumber. Soon the school buses will roll by on their way to pick up their charges to deliver them to their schools, and soon the whole town will be awake and the heat will set in and the morning’s magic will also say, hasta mañana.
And we shall respond, as my grandparents and parents taught us to: Si Dios quiere.

About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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