Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don Pedro Lopez - Grandpa Himself

Don Pedro Lopez, My Wife's Grandfather
In my recent series of blogs about my wife's Grandpa's farm, I realized that I hadn't introduced one important person; her grandpa.  Of course, this man, the owner of the valley where he lives, who has never been farther than Cuernavaca, but boldly walks the streets of Mexico City with no fear of getting lost, is central to everything about that place.  He's someone I admire, so, here's some of the few things I know about him.

Grandpa's Religion

Unlike my wife and mother-in-law (his daughter) her Grandpa, whose name is Pedro, is Evangelical.  My mother-in-law had left the valley to work in the cities (first Ixtapan de la Sal, then Toluca, then Mexico City) before the Evangelical missionaries showed up, and so she has remained a faithful follower of the Catholic faith for all of her life, a dedication which she has passed on to my wife to some extent.  Grandpa Pedro, however, enthusiastically embraced the newcomers, and has become passionately opposed to Catholic beliefs. While he unquestioningly excepts my mother-in-law and my wife, he spends hours trying to convince them that they too should follow his steps.

I clearly remember one morning getting up and going to his house (we had been staying at the home of his brother about 200 meters away), entering his yard, then his porch to find him there sitting on his chair, with a pensive look upon his face, reading his Bible - I believe he learned to read only for this purpose.  He immediately invited me to sit down with him, began reading a passage to me, and explaining little bits of the sermon he had heard last Sunday.  I wish I could remember which passage it was, and what he told me about the pastor's words, but I can't.  I do remember, however, that each point returned to the fact that Catholics were on the wrong track.
Making a Strong Point

(Concerning this point, I made a few observations in that village as well as other places, concluding some points both in favor and against both the Evangelicals and Catholics in Mexico, but those belong to another post.)

I listened carefully, and asked him a question now and then, careful not to agree or disagree on any points about Catholics, since I knew that this could cost my mother-in-law hours of debate.

What amazes me about Grandpa Pedro, though, is that despite his passionate disapproval of Catholics, this in no way influenced his treatment of Catholic people.  He accepts my mother-in-law and my wife whole-heartedly to an extent that I have rarely seen among a family where one member makes a controversial religious choice (in this case to remain Catholic; all her brothers and sisters are solidly Evangelical, since they lived in the valley or nearby village when the missionaries arrived.)  As far as I know, not all of my wife's aunts and uncles are quite as accepting as Grandpa Pedro.

It is also worth noting that he hold some beliefs which seem to be outside of his religion.  Once a large beautiful rooster appeared by his house. It was around for a few days, and refused to eat, and no other animals would go near it.  One day the rooster began to crow horribly and loud, and disappeared.  His explanation was that the rooster was from the devil.  There are other stories of such animals. Although I've never seen anything that could make these seem plausible, I'm not making fun of this belief; my personal experience has led me to accept the possibility of many things I would have reject before, at least until I find some good evidence either in favor or against them.

Grandpa's Health

For the past few decades, apparently, he has had a hernia, and for this reason he would strap a small board to his belly to prevent the pain - I'm not sure how this concept works, but apparently it helped him avoid going to a hospital for these decades. The most recent news I have of him is that he was in the hospital for that hernia.  Only days after the operation, my mother-in-law complained that he refused to follow doctor's orders, and was out and about; he bought a turkey, which laid eggs.  He was excited that the eggs had hatched and was dedicating a good deal of effort to care for this turkey and the new offspring.  My wife observed that it would be next to impossible to restrict a man to his bed who has probably never in his life slept past 6 am.

Once he was stung by a scorpion, for which he went for a shot at a nearby clinic - I'm not sure exactly what is meant by "clinic;" this could be someone's living room.

Other than this, as far as my wife knows, his health has been perfect for the 30 years she can remember.

Grandpa's House - I described this in another post. Click Here to read it.

Well, I'm out of time to write today, but I'll definitely add a second part, discussing items such as Grandpa Pedro's work, his family, and his continuous, but unsuccessful search for a hidden treasure (which comprises of gold lost during the Mexican Revolution.)

To read all the stories I've written so far about my experience on Grandpa Pedro's farm, Click Here.

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