Uno Mucho Loco Gringo

Baja Bernie - 2-23-2007 at 12:19 PM

Mi Baja No Hurry No Worry by Bernie Swaim

Jim was a very pleasant guy who got along with almost everybody in camp nearly all of the time unless he had been drinking. Unfortunately, he was known to drink most of the time. He loved his rum and would drink it in any and all of its forms, straight, rum and coke with a twist of lime, in iced tea, etc. Hot or cold, it didn’t matter he was always happy to drink it. This was not to say that he would not drink any other form of alcoholic beverage. I never knew him to discriminate against any liquid refreshment as long as it had a good dose of booze in it.

He even liked to mix something light in his coffee to start the day on a positive and pleasant note. Jim didn’t mind drinking alone until mid afternoon. In fact, he rather seemed to enjoy sitting on his front patio with toddy in his hand and a good book in his lap as he watched the waves flow in and out. Around 3 o’clock you would see him out on the main street looking up and down the dusty road for someone to share a few drinks and some idle conservation with.

The first person to come along would never be able to get past Jim. “Come on in and have a drink, sit and talk for a while. The sun will be going down soon and we can watch for the “green flash.” It never appeared to bother him that the sun would not be going down for another 3 or 4 hours. He just wanted someone to share a few drinks and help relieve a little of the boredom in his life.

If he really liked you he would invite you to come back after dark to participate in one of his favorite pastimes—hunting in his vegetable garden. He would arm each hunter with a flashlight and an old kitchen knife and then the fun would begin. Jim would laugh, a real crazy chortle deep down in his chest, and inform all participants that the person who killed the largest, the smallest and the most tomato worms would each receive a prize! Try to visualize grown people, both men and women crawling around in the dark trying to find “Tomato Worms.” Remember that in those days there were no streetlights to light the way. All they had was starlight and occasionally the moon would really make the hunt easy.

As I said, Jim was a very likable guy until he reached a certain point in his continual consumption of hard liquor. When he reached that point he no longer was able to act in a reasonable manner. His behavior became truly “mucho loco.” Some said that this was caused by the steel plate in his head, which he received as a result of his involvement in the Invasion of Europe in WWII. I’m not sure of that but let me give you a vivid example of his behavior and you be the judge.

One night, in the early 1970’s, Jim was drinking in the Cantina when two plain clothes State Police Officers began questioning a fairly young, good looking blonde. They searched her purse, found a baggie of marijuana and placed her under arrest. Seeing this, Jim slid out of the Cantina, ran to his house, got his rifle and hurriedly returned to the Cantina. He burst in and demanded that the Polica release the girl immediately. When they ignored him he pulled out the rifle and shot one of the cops in the leg. The place became a zoo—people stumbling over each other in an attempt to get out of his way. When no more shots were heard several people came to the aide of the wounded cop. During the confusion Jim beat it home, got his wife and rapidly headed north to the border. Jim never set foot in Mexico after this episode.

Oh! Yes, the State Cop that he shot in the leg is that wonderful, easygoing guy you all know as “Ramon Puente,” my good friend, and the best bartender the Cantina has ever had.


P.S. Should you be in the area of La Salina drop by the Cantina and say hi to Ramon and tell him Bernie said hola!
He's still there Thursday through Saturday.

When Ramon is not there "Gus" Gustavo is and he is a great guy too.

DENNIS - 2-23-2007 at 12:29 PM

Well, Jim's behavior wasn't very nice but I'm glad he got away. Did you ever hear from him, or about him again, Bernie?


Baja Bernie - 2-23-2007 at 12:45 PM

Yeah! Jim moved up to Oregon and bounced around there for years.............Then I heard he passed away when he was around 80 something. When he was still in Baja his house used to be the camp was just south of Frenchy's and was the largest house in camp for a number of years.

Hey! He was an okay guy who just had a problem..........he didn't shoot someone 'every week' or anything like that.:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

FARASHA - 2-23-2007 at 04:27 PM

:biggrin: tomato worm?? never heard of it, funny pic the "hunting in the veggie's" by night . Thank you Bernie, and a nice weekend >f<

Sallysouth - 2-24-2007 at 10:29 PM

Egads FARASHA! Never heard of a tomato worm? They do have tomatoes in Europe, don't they? (then they have tomato worms!) They are fat and very green and have smooth "skin",about three or so inches long.Nasty buggers... Thanks for the story Bernie, a little bit more of your Baja history!:bounce:

FARASHA - 2-25-2007 at 02:09 PM

YUP - WE DO HAVE TOMATOS here, even in my garden we had - plenty. Never saw a green worm on them, maybe this is a Baja species?:biggrin: Sorry Bernie - for sidestepping off your thread! :saint:

BajaDanD - 2-25-2007 at 10:41 PM

grew up in So Cal and remember the tomato worms. We grew tomatos in our backyard and were always picking those things off our tomato plants we used to have races with them
Here is a link


Baja Bernie - 2-27-2007 at 03:18 PM

That be them..........Nasty critters.......they even squirt green 'blood' when stabbed.

FARASHA - 2-28-2007 at 12:29 PM

Originally posted by Baja Bernie
That be them..........Nasty critters.......they even squirt green 'blood' when stabbed.

STABBED?? with what would you stab them? toothpicks?:lol:

Checked the Link - well, we did have caterpillars in the garden - but this Horn thingy - NO. And can't remember if the green tiny ones we had here ever went for the tomatoes. They rather could be found on the salad, or cabbage, or else.

Sorry but this reminds me

Baja Bernie - 2-28-2007 at 04:03 PM

of the time I took the Mexican Consul, Lic. Daniel Gonzalez de Pree to lunch, many, many years ago, at Tom Hamms Lighthouse in San Diego. He was raving about how good his salad was and I had a hard time in keeping a smile on my face because I had just cut one of these 'salad' critters in half with my knife. Saying nothing I merely folded the carcass under a piece of iceberg lettuce and continued to eat as I agreed with his comments on the salad.

It was about then that I received a card that I never 'leave home without it" when venturing into basically says that it was received for "Servivio Exterior Mexicano Consuldado en San Diego, California.....Unsaid is that I am a 'protector of the Republic of Mexico' and that I am to be granted all the assistance necessary.............period.

I have never flashed this 'badge' but I have sure felt a tad more secure knowing it is right there next my badge........So now you all know my story.

Daniel was a wonderful man who was taken from us in a head on crash near Otay Lakes in San Diego County... a true gentleman of the old school. I am from the same school, but a decide.

Memory's are fantastic! Almost as good as the real thing.......if you think hard enough.

Sallysouth - 2-28-2007 at 08:55 PM

Bernie, Very curious as to who gave you that "badge"? And what am I supposed to decide??? I already know that you are a True Gentleman, that is more than obvious to ME! Cool story...(check out my signature) Sally;D


Baja Bernie - 3-1-2007 at 06:32 PM

As a gentleman, I must ask you, which badge!

Sallysouth - 3-1-2007 at 08:26 PM

Bernie, the one that says you are a "protector of the Republic of Mexico".


Baja Bernie - 3-2-2007 at 11:22 AM

from the Mexican Consul in San Diego.

Come see the future as it once was. You will find that Happiness is just a memory away....

Combining signatures tells everyone that I like both of them very much.

And you could add 'Baja looking Back' and have a complete story. It would read,

Baja looking Back. Come see the future as it once was. You will find that Happiness is just a memory away....