Hugo’s stories go on and on, but there is this last one to finish the record.

When Hugo was not traveling he was pretty lonely. So he advertised in a Spanish language journal that he would like to meet the right girl. He got a lot of responses and flew all over Mexico, the Phillipines, and part of South America to check them out. His adventures following these leads could easily fill another book. But he finally found a marvelous lady in Papantla, Mexico, by the name of Beatrice, or just Betty. I was skeptical at first but later regretted ever having doubted his choice.

I attended his colorful wedding in Papantla, a very picturesque city near Veracruz, Mexico. The town is famous all over Mexico because of its voladores. These are daredevils who are tied by ropes to a very high tower and fly in circles, sometimes only inches above the ground. This was an old Indian custom. Hugo’s wedding in Papantla was fabulous, it contained all the old regional customs. One really funny custom has the groom pretending to be dead so he would not have to go through with the marriage. So Hugo was duly hoisted up above the heads of six sturdy lads and carried around the room as if a corpse. Hugo was so big, more than 6 feet tall and 180 pounds, that they almost dropped him a couple of times.

Finally, however, Hugo had found the right girl. He and Betty settled down at his Napa estate (can you imagine, both Hugo and me, separately winding up with Napa estates?)

Two years later, a doctor discovered Hugo had cancer of the pancreas and gave him just six months to live. Hugo berated himself for having been so careful about his cholesterol when it was cancer that got him. During his last months he ate a lot of greasy french fries which he had never permitted himself before. Betty comforted Hugo as no one else ever could. Six months and one day after the doctor’s pronouncement Hugo died.


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