Dec 3, 2008


PUERTO PEÑASCO, Mexico – The mariachis strum and shout for Keith's 80th birthday. Ellen – la mamma – is grilling patties. "Carne para hamburguesa," I read off the wrapper. "Meat with hamburger! Let's see, these contain cattle meat, bird meat, turkey and two animal products I can't manage to translate."

She swats the spatula at me. "Bad vegetarian. Go away."

But she sticks to hot dogs, I notice. As if that helps.

The little boys start break-dancing, old-school. We crowd around, cameras whirring. "At some other wedding, decades from now, we will trot out this footage and embarrass Dayton," I think. "That's what families do."

And then I realize how much I missed this, all those eight long expat years in Europe and the Middle East. I had no one to remind me about the crimped hair, the inappropriate teen beaus, the time black ice spun my car into the irrigation ditch full of cow$hit, catching three fish (trunk, glovebox and under a windshield wiper). I couldn't share laughs about Fat & Friendly, the blind chicken who navigated like a pinball, or the April Fool's when I switched can labels, so Ellen got a mouthful of cat food, not tuna.

My history reinvented itself day by day, country by country. Brave new old world.

Oh, the adventures were many and epic. But I'm glad I remembered to come home.


  1. You know2:43 AM

    Castleman, you're looking pretty foxy...

  2. You know, that's the worst thing about leaving home. After ten years you just don't get the local jokes anymore. Those subtle undertones of shared mischief, political twists and talkshow tantrums...When you don't get the jokes anymore, it's time to head home for a while.

  3. Anonymous5:36 PM

    I'm glad your home and it was wonderful to have you there with us. I love the picture also, e

  4. Sascha: Absolutely. If I hadn't moved back in 2004, I probably never would have. Total tipping point...

  5. E, thanks for helping me make it to Mexico. And for taking the rockin' sunset shot!