Guardian Angel Mexicano, Jorge

Guardian angels can come anywhere you need them.

High overhead fireworks gloriously crackled and thundered, blowing apart in streaming sparks. Stars and tiny moons were bursting, flaring, and exotic ovals of tiny lights were wobbling and fading, all showering the crowd below with light. And hot ashes…

Faces turned upward to watch the fantasy, a show our town fathers would put on at any excuse. Our new home, little historic Sonoran “Pueblo Magico” Alamos, revels in each revolutionary remembrance, each religious celebration, with stunning and happy ecstasies of pyrotechnics. Nowhere more than in Mexico do people love splashing the night sky with those dazzling displays.

And I’m a sucker for a good show myself.

So much so that years ago on a big number birthday back in the States, my husband secretly hired a fireworks company to put on a town-sized display to fete me, special discount, at a party to which nearly the whole New England town was invited. Fire permits? No problem. The fire department cheerfully rubbed their hands and set the whole thing off. Hooray for Yankee derring-do. While a rousing cheer went up, other husbands quietly cursed mine for raising the bar on wifely expectations.

Years later there I was on Alamos plaza, my face turned up, eyes wide and gawking, gasping with delight in the midst of the tightly packed crowd. A huge burst was expanding right over our heads. A chorus of oohs and ahs arose in one voice at the colorful shower. Gently drifting downwards, each glowing shred slowly winked out. One, still rosy with heat, aimed at my eye.

The pain was immediate, shocking, and fierce. A man beside me with a child riding on his shoulders, grabbed and dragged me down the street through an open door to a kitchen sink, hollering to the people inside. There he dashed water into my eyes. Before I could barely notice what was happening, my eye was saved.

Family man Jorge will forever be my hero. His reflexive act of kindness to me, a stranger, was so immediate, so extraordinary. His face has become a fixture in our lives; he works at the best hotels in our town. I greet him with “Buenas Tardes, Jorge, mi heroe’,” and he nods and beams back “Ah, la reina, buenas noches.”

A guardian angel? I like to believe it.

Some, like Jorge, are even handsome.