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Purple

Purple makes you drunk.  Chicha morada is a purple corn whiskey made in Peru, an ancient Inca recipe.  Purple maize was invented by the Incas, you know.  Chicha morada is also a refreshing non-alcoholic brew, too, made with cloves and other spices, slowly cooked.  Apple and pineapple chunks float to the top.  Served room temperature, but sometimes, if you’re lucky, served cold.  There were few refrigerators in Peru, and even fewer houses with electricity.  Peru is also dressed in all purple during October, mes morado.  Purple processions follow a “Lord of the Miracles” image, a painting from deep in the purple heart of Angolan slaves who were brought to Peru after the conquistadors ransacked the country.   Chicha morada, the alcoholic kind, flows freely before and after the processionals.  Purple ends the month, too, with Day of the Dead.

 

Purple corn.  My grandma Knighton grew purple corn, too, but only for decorating, not for eating and definitely not for drinking; we ate only white-supremacist corn, Puritan yellow.  Grandma Knighton’s purple corn was bred with white and yellow corn, a mestizo, misceginated corn.  It made an intriguing impressionist or pointillist painting, specks of purple, maroon, white, yellow, and even some burnt orange.  Grandma’s Indian Corn decorations were hung by its whithered and paper-crackling dry shucks on the stone walls in the patio.  Grandma had great respect for Native Americans, who we referred to as Indians back then.  Silly Columbus, in his purple Spanish robes, calling them Indians.

 

Grandpa Knighton split the creek stones to build the patio where the purple Indian corn hangs.  Some of the stones bled when they were split open.  One or two of them bleed purple, perhaps just in the light of the Black and White TV where Perry Mason re-runs play, as we grandkids sneak to turn on the old TV.  The adults have closed the patio door and we are supposed to be going to sleep.  Because I am too young to follow the storyline of Perry Mason, my mind wanders to the bleeding, split stones.  I focus on the purple one, a lavender shade of purple, like a soft pastel but a color that you have to blend a tiny bit of pink, speckles of white, and some iron-ore red and some granite blue, igneous formation to come out in this tint of purple.  The purple bleeding rock tumbled down from the purple mountain’s majesty, the Rocky Mountains, the Wasatch range, and kept tumbling until it was washed round in shape by the creek where Grandpa gathered the stones for his masonry project.  Mom said he learned the stone masonry trade by training himself, starting at the back of the little wood-framed house, splitting the stones one by one and fitting them together with cement mortar, and slowly working his way around to the front of the house where everyone would see the stonework.  By the time he built the sunken patio, years after finishing the stone veneer, he was very skilled.  And there and then, many years later, the bleeding purple stone had dried and the patio was a room.

 

Fast forward, I am grown, and the patio room was tinted with purple again when I took my fiancée to meet Grandma Knighton.  A purple quilt was on stretched on the racks, the quilting racks.  That’s where we had always slept as kids, beneath a quilt stretched on the racks.  I loved purple, and my fiancée loved anything brassy and sassy, and the purple quilt was all that and more.  Grandma Knighton had chosen several dainty, traditional type quilts for a wedding gift, but my fiancée would have none of those.  She demanded the purple one.  And I didn’t mind, so I persuaded grandma to give us the one she was working on, stretched on the racks.  Grandma relented and brought it to the wedding reception several weeks later.  Purple and blue and some prints, too.  What a quilt it was!

 

Purple is red and blue mixed, a mestizo, and purple miracles are needed in the United States, I see.  Trump doesn’t realize that “Make America Great Again” really includes all of North and South America; we’re all “Americans”, from Alaska and Canada all the way down to Punta Arenas, Chile.  I learned this in Peru, when I saw “America” bus lines, and realized Peruvians were Americans, too.  Trump may not know about Amerigo Vespucci, since Trump didn’t enjoy school as much as I did; instead he still talks of and praises Columbus.  We USA-Americans will be bleeding red and blue on election day, November, 2018, and all that blood will be forming purple processions to and from the voting booth this November.  We may end up drunk with purple, hopefully happy drunks, not the Kavanaugh/Judge kind.  Happy Purple Month, y’all.