Happy Grandfather’s Day!

Grandpa Teddy


When my husband, Teddy, sent me an email from Oklahoma with a photo of a handwritten note, I thought, ‘here we go, he has been pretending to be Sean Connery again’. The lovely server had asked him about his rings. He has a large silver and turquoise ring and a Celtic gold one. No doubt he had a few refreshments by then but showed her my photograph, explained that I was part native and that we were married for 35 years.

The silver ring was just a lucky gift when we were browsing a shop selling Native American goods in Rice Village, Houston. Some very rich guy had ordered a custom made silver and turquoise for his larger than average fingers. After trying it one, he decided he wanted something even more ostentatious. The original ring was being sold cheap until another werewolf popped in. Teddy’s has big hands but also large knuckles from arthritis that started in his 30’s. (Rather suspiciously he is growing werewolf hair on his shoulders…)

The gold ring was his 40th birthday present from me. By that stage he had two wedding rings because of the increasing knuckle size. I took those plus some of his granny’s rings to a goldsmith and chose a Celtic interwoven pattern from a book of sketches. He loved it! As time went by the knuckles became more inflamed and it didn’t fit again. About two years ago we took a chance with a local jeweler who increased it by expanding the pattern with more gold. It was fantastic!

We were not fortunate enough to spawn although we always wondered about creating some crazy mutant werewolf…🐺 He is still in Oklahoma for Father’s Day but there was a card in his suitcase signed by Toffee, our cat, Katniss and her new kitten (that’s another story), the armadillos, the possums, the skunks, the raccoons and cicadas. Teddy has been a fabulous Daddy to all our pussycats and clearly he would have made a lovely grandfather…

Love Nana Bunny

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!

¡Niños!

Concentration

Having been a nanny and no progeny, usually children are the last thing I want to see on vacation. This little cutie, in her plaid Catholic school uniform, just stole my heart. I really wanted to take her home with me but I think that is technically kidnapping… 😎 She was utterly oblivious of the busy sidewalk around her, totally focused on her drawing book. There is a beautiful Catholic cathedral in Puerto Vallarta with a school alongside it. The memory of Catholic school sometimes fills my heart with terror (don’t mention Jesuits…) but this brought back some unexpectedly happy memories. Every time I smell a fresh leather bag, I am taken back to my new leather satchel and first day of school.

Estuary meets the sea

Sandcastles

As I wandered down the river to the sea, there were children playing along the edge of the river or swimming in it. There was a market for local vendors on an island in the middle of the river and I think the children above might have been one of the vendor’s children or perhaps a shell fisherman that I saw not far from them. They were perfectly happy playing by themselves with a bucket/tin and sand. Big sister was in charge.  I was curious as to why they were on the estuary not the beach but perhaps it was for safety or the sand made better castles?

Estuary fisherman

Church of our Lady of Guadalupe

I was trying to take some more shots of the cathedral when I spotted this little girl sitting like a pixie. I think her Dad was watching me protectively.  Puerto Vallarta should be very proud of their lovely children.

School’s out

Sinister flowers…

Oleander

Oleander

You might think that I dislike children from my last bluebonnet post but that is not exactly true. I adore perfectly behaved, clean, silent children… Curiously, most children seem to like me, a former nanny, and recently I told two young unsupervised children not to throw stones in the pond. They looked at me quizzically which made me wonder how often they were disciplined. I suspect that all young animals respect boundaries and instruction.

The exquisite Oleander bush above has amused me for a decade. It grows gloriously right in front of a kindergarten and it is one of the most poisonous sub tropical plants. I often walk past when the children are out playing and I wonder if any of the patient carers have ever been tempted to make some oleander smoothies. You would have thought the landscaper would have planted something different. 🙂

kindergarten

I noticed that my exquisite pineapple guavas flowered this week – aren’t they adorable? I always thought the fruit was ornamental but have now discovered from this wikipedia post that you can flavor vodka with them. Woo hoo! They are not really guavas but a member of the myrtle family.

Pineapple Guava

Pineapple Guava

Finally our glorious hibiscus bushes are in full bloom in the street. In Egypt, vendors would go around the streets selling hibiscus tea which apparently is good for high blood pressure. It looked delicious but where did the water to make the tea come from??? Sinister tea!

Pink Hibiscus

Pink Hibiscus

Sexual Fluidity

Kerry with first older man...

Kerry with her first older man…

I was going to entitle this blog – sexuality is a wavy line – but then someone mentioned that fluidity is the new terminology for bisexuality. When I googled the term, I discovered it was more about the possibility of sexuality being malleable throughout life. In my personal experience, I was more conflicted about orientation, when I was a child and teenager, but quite certain now, at the age of 55. I am pretty sure that is a relief to my husband…

As I child, I lived in public housing in Glasgow in a predominately Irish Catholic neighborhood. I knew no other only children with single parents. Although sex was rarely talked about, the very large families with thin bedroom walls must have had a very good idea what their parents were doing. Their siblings also tried to gross them out with specifics which they, in turn, passed onto me. What! ‘My mum never did that’, thought I. In the summer months, it was very common to borrow a bedcover from the house and play tents over a washing line. This was also one of the few places you could have complete privacy. On various occasions, I would be in a tent with all girls or a mixture of boys and girls. I guess we ranged in age from 9 to 12, maybe? The dare was to take your underwear off and expose your girl or boy parts. Further dares involved some touching which would produce an interesting sensation, a precursor to real sexual desire, perhaps.

At this stage, I want to stress that there was no element of sexual abuse or molestation and the groups would be around the same age at the same time. It was natural curiosity. For someone, like me, who had rarely seen a boy’s parts (all female household), it was especially intriguing. One female friend was particularly interested in playing with me alone. That seemed innocent enough but we went a little further than was usual. On one occasion, I was sexually molested by an older boy at school and that was an entirely different situation. It was against my will and very frightening.

So, cut to my teenage years. I went to a Catholic high school – male and female students were separated from each other, in different annexes, until we turned 14. As soon as we entered that year, I was like a cat in heat. Zing! The sexual button switched on and I was fascinated by the boys in our class. I was very shy and believed I was unattractive. That was clearly untrue and I had one boyfriend after another. I was just like my slutty cats however (and I am only talking about first base here) and skipped from one to the other. The first object of my desire was a handsome lad and one of my girlfriends decided it would be fun to write on the chalkboard that
Kerry fancies Frank (that really was his name).

I blushed furiously, desperately wiping it off the board, and in my anxiety to stop her, banged her head into the wall and gave her a black eye!!! I don’t know who was more astonished, her or I. It backfired on the perpetrator, however, (you know who you are, Ms. K. 🙂 ) and the boy asked me out, to everyone else’s dismay. Then we went into English class and our teacher asked my friend, who sat next to me, what happened. She told him the truth and she got a row for telling lies. Of course innocent little Kerry wouldn’t do such a thing. Just don’t get in between me and a boy when I am in heat; nothing has changed. Slutty Miss Kerry…

Tune in for more tomorrow.

My Charismatic Father

My father as a beautiful boy

My father on the right as a beautiful boy

As I have been browsing other bloggers posts, I have noticed some lovely memorials to fathers who have passed on. It struck me that although my Dad died in 1990, I have no similar memories. He disappeared from my life when I was about 2 years old and, to all intents and purposes, abandoned us in Glasgow at my Grandmother’s home. Not only that, he ‘borrowed’ money from my mum’s family, never to be repaid.

My mum was a very complicated person with a mental illness and alcohol problem. When I was younger she invariably tried to boost the image of my Dad – told me how handsome, talented, clever and creative he was. I was aware that the rest of her family did not share that opinion. Then, one wonderful day, a giant package arrived from the States. Usually the parcels at Christmas were from my two single maternal aunts and one relative of my father. This one was from my father and it was full of a strange mixture of toys including a pink Cadillac, a fire engine and a large baby doll. I was so excited to receive something from this elusive father. I wasn’t quite old enough to figure out why my mum was conflicted about the parcel – we never did receive any alimony.

As the years passed, a clearer picture of my father emerged. He was a deeply flawed but utterly charismatic man who may well have had mental health issues – certainly he was an alcoholic. In one awful drunken revelation, my mum wailed at me that my Dad had wanted her to get an illegal abortion in 1959. I can still remember how devastating that was to me – not only was I an unwanted burden to my mother but my father probably only married my mother because of my existence. To make things worse I also knew that my father’s cousin, my aunt Jackie, wanted to adopt me because of the circumstances of my birth. How I longed that she had.

Time moved on, I had inherited not just a damaged psyche but a genetic mental illness. I married very young and when I was around 30 found out that we could not have children. That must have triggered something in my head and I asked my mum if she would be upset if I tried to trace my Dad but she was surprisingly keen. Long story short, I found him and he was happy to have reconnected. In essence, I had never met him and was struck by how sexy and alluring his voice was. It resonated beautifully.

There is no happy ending. Eventually, I couldn’t stand to even speak to him after many drunken calls in the middle of the night. He died in desperately sad circumstances, alone, and I am just sad that I don’t have a wonderful Dad to pay tribute to. The one person, who knew him intimately and did not dislike him, told me that I inherited his charisma. I have been told that I have a sexy and alluring voice, too.

I have written some more about him in my Kindle Book –
Letters from Cairo by Kerry Duncan

PS. After I wrote this I looked at my avatar and my Dad as a child and realized our faces are identical.

Feliz Navidad!

lighting of the tree

We were lucky enough to be in San Jose del Cabo for their annual lighting of the tree in the main plaza outside the Mission. It was a local event, not aimed at tourists, and we felt humbled to share their tradition. The main theme this year was disability and there was a tear jerking rendition of songs by deaf children in sign language. We were watching the proud parents and noticed that they did jazz hands instead of clapping. There were children with various conditions including cerebral palsy.

sign language

After the main event everyone squeezed into the little mission church, with some standing outside, for a short service with hymns echoing across the plaza on this beautiful starlit evening. It was not a rich town but clearly closely bonded. What a lovely experience for us to have the privilege of sharing with a warm, friendly community.

Below is a photo of the nativity scene that brought back some lovely memories of my childhood at our local Catholic Church. My only comment, and it is not meant to be blasphemous, but do you think the donkey was used previously in a Shrek production? 🙂

nativity scene