Today was my first time to enter the bar. It was not dark and gloomy. I saw some pool tables and noticed that the bar was a dark wood. Many bottles were lined up on the south side of the bar. Three men, as if synchronized, turned to the door when I walked in and then turned back to their drinks. The bartender was sitting at one end of the bar and she got up and walked toward me. The white haired lady could have been any body's grandmother. I guess I had expected to see a young girl with tattoos on an exposed body.
"What can I help you with," she asked.
"I have a strange question to ask you," I said, "what do you do with your empty tequila bottles?"
She gave me a strange look and remarked, "We throw them in the trash."
"Could I look through your trash for an empty tequila bottle?"
"The bottles are all broken."
"The reason I need an empty bottle is because I am preparing an altar for the dead, and my father, who has been gone for a few years, loved his tequila."
She smiled, glanced back at the bottles of liquor, and said, "Tell you what. I have a bottle that is almost empty and it should be finished sometime today Why don't you come by tomorrow morning, and I will save it for you."
"That would be great. Thank you so much and I will see you tomorrow." I wanted to say "hasta la vista" al la Clint Eastwood style, but controlled my impulse as I walked out of the saloon!
Once back on the sidewalk, I prayed that no one I knew saw me come out of the bar. Would anyone seeing me come out of a bar in the morning believe my story?
I then drove to the McDonald's on the corner of the mall and walked into a loud, high-school student infested restaurant. It must have been lunch hour because some of the kids were eating while others were waiting for their order. I asked the clerk how they boxed their Big Macs. She didn't seem to understand or even hear me over the din of the students and she called her manager. The manager had me repeat my request and gave me a box where normally a Big Mac would fit. I said, "Are you curious as to why I need an empty box?" I was ready to tell her all about the altar I am preparing, but she said, "We get all sorts of requests for things and I don't have to hear the story." I felt a bit let down that I couldn't tell my story but in my hand I held an empty McDonald's Big Mac box!
On Saturday every item I am collecting, finding or buying will go on a Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) altar to honor my Mother, Father, brother and friend.