It’s 6 am and I’m drinking a cup of coffee and listening to ‘Blues Masters Volume 1.

‘Crazy about you baby but I just ain’t got the price.’

‘You’re a high class momma so I guess it ain’t no dice.’

‘Going back home getting my old gal Sue.’

‘She ain’t the caviar kind, just plain old kidney stew.’

‘Old kidney stew, old kidney stew is fine.’

Kidney Stew Blues is maybe one of the best blues songs of all time. The horn work is amazing. And I know it ain’t exactly a song about food but somehow it makes me hungry just the same.

The sun will be up in another hour and this in-between time is the quietest moment of the day. I look at my watch and see that breakfast is still an hour and a half away. I am thinking this morning it’s going to be one of Gaby’s specials like her chopped pork ribs that have been slow cooked in green sauce for a couple of hours; served with frijoles and fresh made tortillas. Oh yeah, that sounds good.

While I am on the subject of food here’s a short story from my last run. I was just 40 minutes into my run at that place where I hit that U-shaped viaduct that crosses part of the canal. When the thing is full of water I have to walk across the top of it which scares the crap out of me because it’s a 30 foot walk across a 6” wide concrete wall suspended 10’ over the top of the canal that you just don’t even want to fall into. The water is a disturbing yellow green and I just know it is full of all kinds of pesticides and insecticides, deadly mutated poisonous snakes and other stuff that you just don’t want to know a thing about.

I see a couple of men on the west side of it and my first thought immediately goes to ‘I sure hope they don’t have a dog’. I hail them before I begin my crossing so that I don’t surprise them and if they do have a dog it doesn’t chase me snarling into the canal. They tell me to come over and join them. I skinnied through a narrow barbed wire gate to see a dozen men and boys having a cook out. They had some fish steaks bubbling in a clear broth over one open fire and a big pot of soup simmering over another. They ask me what I am doing; a few of them openly smiling with the merest hint of contempt for this dusty sandal wearing old gringo with the rag tied around his head. I tell them I am out for a run and a couple of them mumble the word ‘run’ like it’s some kind of unimaginable concept.

One of them thrusts a bowl into my hand and ladles some soup into it. I am not hungry and would rather get back to my run but their hospitality is not to be refused.  It smelled good. The bowl had chunks of tomato and potato and small boney pieces of white meat. My host squeezed some fresh lime into my bowl, added some chilies and then pinched in some salt. He grabbed a piece of fish out of the bubbling broth with his fingers and added it to my bowl. There were tortillas to serve as makeshift spoons so I dug in.

It was pretty tasty stuff. I spit the small bones into my hand then pitched them into the canal. I was halfway through my bowl when my host told me that they did a cook out regularly. They all liked to hunt and fish and everything that we were eating had come local. He pointed with a greasy thumb over his shoulder and told me that they had shot those ducks and caught those fish right out there in the canal.