A Tale Of The Argentine Department Of Highways By Roger Gallo
The Argentine, while predictable; surprises. The dead woman has shrines on every motorway, littered with hundreds of water bottles. Sometimes the shrine is replete with the sculpture of a woman, child at breast, sometimes not. What I at first glance perceived as mounds of debris in front of a Goodwill Box, was a Eucharist-like offering of hundreds of multicolored plastic bottles; belated offerings of water for a woman who died of thirst in the desert. The dead woman, Deolinda Correa, worshipped by the truck drivers of Argentina, was a woman whose husband was forcibly recruited during one of the Argentine civil wars that occurred around 1840. She is now a popular saint through no fault of her own, unofficially, and unrecognized by the Catholic Church. She performs miracles.The road to my vineyard passed two such shrines. I stop once in a while in moments of solidarity and leave a bottle of water. I am reminded of the joke about the Jewish woman who keeps pleading for someone to give some chicken soup to a person who has just died of a heart attack. She is finally told that the man is dead, and that chicken soup is not going to help him. It couldn’t hurt, she replies.
The motorways of Argentina were to play a rather strange episode in my life all because I was afraid to fly on the local airlines. I had become justifiably terrified each time I flew in and out of Argentina of flying on the Argentine airline, Aerolineas Argentina. Discovering that Copa Airlines flew in and out of Córdoba, Argentina, I decided to drive hundreds of miles to Córdoba, thus avoiding taking my life in my hands on Aerolineas Argentina. Of course, little did I consider that I was risking my life and my sanity by driving on Argentine highways.
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