CHAPTER TWO – Pueblo de Los Agaves (Jalisco, Mexico)
Pueblo de Los Agaves
They travelled for quite a long time. At first, Jerry got dizzy looking out at the world while it whizzed past but after a while, he got used to it. They drove and drove until they entered a place called ‘Jalisco’.
‘Jalisco! Perfect!’ said Easy Joe, and soon he turned off the main road.
After some time, Easy Joe, Jerry and Vanessa found themselves surrounded by desert. A deserted desert, with only some stones, a few plants and just… sand. Jerry looked around and through the other window, he saw a giant field of agave plants as they arrived at a shabby motel.
‘Jerry, this is a really great motel. Whenever I stay here in Jalisco, I always come here. Now it may not look fancy, but I’ve been coming here for years. People here are the friendliest ever and the breakfast – absolutely delicious!’
Jerry was excited to see whatever this motel was but when Easy Joe came to a stop, he said “So Jerry, little buddy, you got to stay here, in the van, we won’t be stay here for long, Jerry, this is just a tiny stop along the way. For now, rest, relax and have fun that is what I plan to do while we are here.
Jerry was a little sad to discover he would not be seeing the motel, but he also thought he could explore a bit. The agave field looked remarkably interesting. Jerry had met an agave plant in the past, so he was excited to see a familiar face.
Once it was dark and quiet for a long time, Jerry left his pot, jumped out the car window and started walking toward the agaves. On the edge of the field, he saw a big sign that said ‘Pueblo de Los Agaves’ – a village of Agaves plants. How exciting! Jerry thought.
Jerry crossed the border between the land and the field, and he saw that all the agaves were celebrating something. He moved towards a group of very cheerful Agaves.
‘Hello, everyone, said Jerry, It’s nice to meet you all…’
‘Ay no! Not here, nino!’ said an agave.
‘Ay… we know marijuana! Get out!’
‘I am not’ said Jerry,
‘Loco! Get out! Let us celebrate in peace!’
‘He is loco! Loco like Jali!’
The agaves started to laugh and giggle.
‘Who is Jali?’ said Jerry
‘Ay, you don’t know her, she is from our pueblo, but she is bad agave plant. We are always happy, we have fiestas and her? She just cries, cries, cries!’
‘Is she sad’ said Jerry
‘Get out loco weed! Go off to Jali! We don’t know and we don’t care”
“Go find out for yourself”
Jerry felt confused. Why do these plants hate me much? They never met, and they already called him names. Was this what Mama had meant about people not understanding them?
All the agaves were all celebrating something, they all seemed happy and playful. But which one was Jali the crying agave? Maybe she needed a friend and would want to talk.
Jerry wandered through bigger and bigger crowds of agaves. Still, whenever he called or asked for Jali, everyone just laughed. Finally, he reached the darkest edge of the field. It was the only place he hadn’t looked. There in the corner was a small agave plant. To Jerry, she looked amazing, but she also seemed very upset.
‘Wooow…’ said Jerry, and for the first time in his life, he felt a new feeling.
‘Hey, are you…Jali?’
‘Who are you?’ the little agave plant asked, softly sobbing.
I’m… uhhh I’m …. Jerry had trouble talking.
‘Who are you…?’ she asked, confused once again.
‘My name is Jerry, and I’m not a marijuana!’ he said proudly.
‘Oh…’ she said surprised.
Jerry took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down. Which he found strangely hard with such a lush and green agave in front of him.
Jali smiled at Jerry.
‘So, if your aren’t a marijuana,, what are you then?”
Jerry fluffed his leaves out as best he could, “I’m not marijuana as everyone seems to think, I’m hemp. I’m a good guy! I’m travelling with my human Easy Joe Hippie to the place called Call-O-Rod-O…’
‘Call-O-Rod-O….Where is that?’
‘It is in the US’ said Jerry proudly although he didn’t know anything about the United States.
‘Well you found me, I’m Jali…’
‘Oh good, they told me about you!’
‘Only bad things I’m sure!’ and the beautiful agave started to cry once again.
Jerry felt terrible, the last thing he wanted to do was upset such a beautiful plant.
‘No, they didn’t say anything bad…. I’ve never met a prettier agave than you, your green…’
‘I know I’m a bad shade of green and everything is wrong. I’m an absolute disaster. Look at my leaves, all soggy, because I’m here in the shadows. I have no power over my body, do you know what that feels like? It’s awful! There’s no point to anything!’
Jali started to cry even more.
Jerry thought for a second and then said
‘Jali, I think you should…’
‘Whither away and dry up? Sobbed Jali, I’m so useless!’
Jerry felt like he made the situation worse. He took a deep breath.
‘Jali why are you so upset?’ Why are you upset about yourself?
‘Just look!’ said Jali, as she pointed one of her leaves toward the agaves who were celebrating. ‘Always drunk. All my family and all their friends. They all think I’m muy loca, ha! You know what they use agave for? ALCOHOL! And you know what happens when humans are drunk? Only bad things…’
Jerry looked on Jali once again. He couldn’t believe that such a beautiful plant could only see the bad in herself. He thought of his mother and remembered some of what she told him – grow medicine, grow relationships. Always help others!
Jerry rolled one of the flowers his mother gave him and said
‘I think we should have a sesh.’
Jali looked surprised and confused.
‘What is sesh?’
‘Oh it’s just a little tradition we have in our family. Come on, Jali. I honestly think it will make you feel better.’
Jali got closer to Jerry and took a rolled flower in one of her leaves.
The sesh was going on, and Jali seemed more and more relaxed.
‘You see Jali…’ started Jerry.
‘What is it?’ she asked with a most fantastic smile Jerry had ever seen.
‘Your smile… it’s beautiful! You are an amazing plant, Jali. You’re really just amazing. You said humans make alcohol from your plant, but you know what Jali? Did you know that alcohol isn’t the only thing agaves are used for? Jali stared at Jerry in disbelief.
‘You’re sweet, and you can be made into syrup and many non-alcoholic drinks. You have various medical properties and humans will even consume you if you have been prepared exactly right. You, just like me, were created to be beautiful and help people! And don’t even get me started on your fiber! I bet you don’t know about that either’
Jali closed her eyes and listened. slightly hugged Jerry.
‘This is the first time someone has ever told me something so… nice.’
She looked at Jerry and hugged him.
‘Thank you, little Hemp!’
‘I’m not just hemp, Jali. I’m a Money Tree!’
She seemed much more relaxed and, in some way, cheerful.
‘So cheerful that she started to move. ‘If you can move, then so can I’ said Jali.
She stretched her leaves and started to move. Come on Jerry, I have an idea!’
Jerry let Jali lead the way, and she got right into the center of the pueblo.
‘Listen everyone!’ she started, and all agave got quiet. They seemed shocked!
‘Jali you here?!’ asked someone from the crowd.
‘Yes, I’m here and I have something important to tell you. I heard how you treated this hemp leaf! His name is Jerry, and he is not marijuana. He is a fine and decent cannabis, and he deserves your respect! He’s said so many kind words, and his flower… his flower made me feel relaxed in a way I have never felt in my life. We agave have forgotten how wonderful we are. You believe that your worth comes from being made into alcohol and drowning in it. But we are much, much more than that!’
The agave plants looked at one another as Jerry spoke.
‘As Jali said, I’m Jerry. I have some seeds and flowers with me, and I want to share them with you. It seems you have been drowning in alcohol too long. My flowers have amazing power. They can help you relax and get perspective just like Jali did.’ he looked at Jali and was positive she was even more beautiful than when he first saw her in the shadows.
‘Well, you heard Jali everyone!’ shouted an old agave from a back ‘And you heard that young hemp. I think they are both right. It is good to try new things, so let us celebrate our differences and value what we have in common. Let the Fiesta continue!’
Jali grabbed Jerry for a dance. They partied all night to the rhythm of the music.
In the morning, when Jerry woke up next to Jali, he felt sad. He didn’t want to say ‘goodbye’, but he knew his destination was Call-o-rod-o.
‘Jali, I wish, I wish you could…’
‘Jerry!’ She stopped him, and she leaned closer ‘Please take me with you to Call-o-rod-o.’
Jerry couldn’t express the joy inside him. He could not believe that she wanted to come with him. He laughed and took one of her leaves in his and they made their way back to Vanessa.
‘This is Vanessa, Easy Joe’s van. It moves around while the world moves with us. Jerry and Jali jumped through the window and into the van. Jerry settled into his pot and Jali laid in the pot next to him. They sat together chatting and making plans about what they wanted to do and see during their journey. Jali wasn’t sad anymore.
When Easy Joe got into the van he looked at them and smiled:
‘Well well, looks like you found us a new travelling buddy huh Jerry? You two are adorable.’
Easy Joe laughed and started the engine.
‘Now it’s the best part!’ said Jerry to Jali and they both looked outside. The world around them started to move as their journey continued.