I park the Perfect Tow Vehicle at the curb beside the Winterhaven post office. I have the paperwork for a passport card filled out. Bridget commences her usual histrionics, hopping around screaming. I never know if this is all for show or if she has a valid reason.
“Okay, okay, hang on. I’ll let you out.”
I walk around to the curbside door and open it up. Bridget jumps out first, landing over the curb. She’s excited, of course, and bops and twirls at the end of her leash. Next Spike jumps out, only he doesn’t land on the ground beyond the curb. He lands on the edge of the curb and falls down very awkwardly onto the pavement between the curb and the PTV.
When he stands up, his front leg is pulled up!
Oh, no! Immediately I have a vision of repeated vet visits, dispensing pain pills down Spike’s throat, and pushing him in a stroller for a month like I did with Bridget when she hurt her leg.
A dislocated shoulder? I wait to see what he does next. To my great relief, he climbs up and over the curb and puts some weight on his right front leg. Well, I guess it isn’t dislocated.
“Oh, Spikey, you poor boy! Can you walk, sweetie?”
I step toward the sidewalk and he limps after me.
The three of us take a very short walk to the nearest pole. Spike relieves himself on it, and Bridget doesn’t seem to have any business to do other than to act like she’s never been outside before.
I lift the crew into the PTV and go into the post office.
The postal clerk examines my paperwork. Everything looks good. I ask where I can have copies of my two I.D.s made and she tells me about a place right up the street. I also ask where I can have the photo I.D. taken and she lists a few places, including Wal-Mart.
I hurry up the street, get the copies, and head for Yuma.
It’s a quick trip to Wal-Mart and before long I hold in my hand what has to be the absolutely ugliest photo I’ve ever seen ($8.07). I’m not saying that because it’s what every woman says about an official photo, like a driver’s license.
I say it because this photo is so bad, it’s nightmare material.
The lively sound of a mariachi band emanates from the open door of a restaurant. I walk down the street browsing the stalls of colorful merchandise. Vendors hold up their wares and beckon me. Spike sits in a sidewalk cafe, wearing a sombrero and pouring himself a shot of tequila. Bridget is doing the macarena between the tables.
“Pardon, senora. Your pass card por favor.”
I turn to see a broad-shouldered man in uniform.
He wears a holster holding a gun at-the-ready.
Oh no, what have I done! I nervously dig into my purse and hand the police officer my pass card. He squints as he holds it to his face.
“Madre de Dios! Que miedo!!”
He steps backward, momentarily losing his balance.
“Lo siento, senora.” He takes another look at the pass card photo and shakes his head. “Do you not know it is a crime in this country to be so . . . how do you say? . . . to be so . . . butt uglio?”
He pauses, then reaches up with his other hand to twirl the end of his handlebar mustache. His black eyes fix on mine while one corner of his mouth curls up in a malevolent grin.
“You’ll have to come with me . . . unless, of course . . . .”
I reach for my wallet.
Okay, enough of the Mexican stereotype . . . . back to Winterhaven.
I return to the Winterhaven post office with my filled-out form, birth certificate, copy of two IDs, and the photo of some ugly woman who bears a very slight resemblance to me.
All is well.
I write a check for $30 for the Department of State and another check for $25 for the United States Postal Service. The postal clerk hands me a form she has signed. A receipt for the checks is attached.
She informs me that she heard passport cards are coming back in about two weeks.
“Normally it takes four to six weeks. I guess not many people are traveling now.”
Then she adds some information that surprises me.
“You can go to Los Algodones today. Just show this form with the receipt.”
“What! I can? That’s wonderful!”
“Yes, they know what this is. You can use it until your pass card arrives.”
On the way back to camp, I stop at Les’s travel trailer.
“Hello, Les! Anybody home?”
I explain that I want to go to Los Algodones one day next week for appointments and ask if he will watch Bridget and Spike for me. He agrees! We sit and visit for a bit, until the crew becomes impatient in the PTV and puts up a ruckus.
I thank Les, return to the PTV, and slowly we make our way through the creosote bushes and across a few shallow washes to arrive at our campsite.
This is great! Tomorrow I’ll make my appointments!
NOTE: I apologize for the lack of photos in today’s post. I was so involved in the tasks at hand that I neglected to take any photos.
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