The President’s Wife

OK, so this isn’t about Michelle Obama, or any other US president’s wife. And it happened years ago but it’s one of those things you never forget and when you remember it, it seems like it just happened even though it was more than 30 years ago.

When I was married it wasn’t too long before it was blatantly apparent I married the wrong guy. Oh, he was a really nice person and all but we just had nothing in common, least of all love. So I set about pretending I could make it good by emulating stuff my parents (who were a great match) did. Didn’t work, but this is one story that came of my efforts.

Early in their marriage when my brother and I were still pretty small our folks did a lot of traveling. I have more stories about the sitters they left us with but that’s another blog. One of these trips was through Mexico, a place I could only be dragged dead today, where Dad had a great friend and business associate, my mother had a good friend from up north, and they threw in a trip to the Mayan ruins.

My ex-husband and I went in spring, over the equinox which had a significance to the Mayan people. They built their pyramids so that, at exactly noon on that day the shadow of the steep and narrow steps to the top of one of the pyramids at Uxmal took on the form of a snake which was one of the gods they worshipped. As it happened we were at this spot on that day. I noticed one area with a good view of the site was pretty sparse with people so I walked over to it. Can’t remember where my ex-husband was but he was not with me. Suddenly I am surrounded by many short-statured men in drab green uniforms waving their arms with guns in their hands and shouting at me something in Spanish. I speak limited French.

Noticing they were collectively gesturing for me to move in a certain direction, still not understanding what I had done, I complied and edged along the monument against which I had been leaning. I spotted my now very nervous-looking ex-husband and walked over to join him. 

The small group of soldiers disappeared around the side of the monument and momentarily reappeared, escorting a lady I later learned was the wife of the Mexican president who wanted to stand in the same excellent vantage point I had chosen.

We did see the shadow of the snake against the stairs, but I don’t recall much else of that portion of the trip.

There was the most interesting experience where I drank the water in Mexico but again, that is another blog.



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