ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Jimmy Smith, "The Grinning Gargoyle" A Great Friend.

Updated on January 8, 2011

Jimmy and Family and his home turf.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A brilliant yet simple man:  Jimmy with Lupe and "Mini" In front of store and holding copy of book.In reflective moodJimmy's favorite spot by his birdsBird's eye view of Los Barriles, Jimmy's home town.This cement ball marks the Tropic of Cancer -23o 28' - just south of Jimmy's location.   Credit Jim Foreman photo.
A brilliant yet simple man:  Jimmy with Lupe and "Mini" In front of store and holding copy of book.
A brilliant yet simple man: Jimmy with Lupe and "Mini" In front of store and holding copy of book.
In reflective mood
In reflective mood
Jimmy's favorite spot by his birds
Jimmy's favorite spot by his birds
Bird's eye view of Los Barriles, Jimmy's home town.
Bird's eye view of Los Barriles, Jimmy's home town.
This cement ball marks the Tropic of Cancer -23o 28' - just south of Jimmy's location.   Credit Jim Foreman photo.
This cement ball marks the Tropic of Cancer -23o 28' - just south of Jimmy's location. Credit Jim Foreman photo.

Jimmy Smith was Baja's Great Raconteur

The Grinning Gargoyle: We Ain’t Forgot Ya!

When Jimmy Smith finally published his long awaited book, “The Grinning Gargoyle Spills the Beans,” his friends and admirers - who were legion - only had a few more years to enjoy the company of this great raconteur.

I met Jimmy when I was writing for Carrie Duncan's benighted rag, the Gringo Gazette, in Los Cabos, Baja California, around 1999 and we remained in touch until I left the area in 2003.

There was something magic about Jimmy: he would hold court in his little property on the highway by Los Barriles, while his wife, Lupe, ran the tiny store which, along with Jim’s pension, kept the wolf from the door and locals supplied with cold beer and cigarettes, plus a few other essential odds and ends.

It is said that no one knew Baja better than this leathery old ex pilot, who had flown planes stitched together with baling wire and string into Baja’s gnarly dirt and sand runways, ferrying such notables as Erle Stanley Gardner and Ray Cannon - to name but two - around

Jimmy passed away at the end of 2003. I had also returned then with a girlfriend to look up the people I had left earlier that year. I stopped at Jimmy’s but Lupe said he was resting and I didn’t have a chance to see Jim that year, to my eternal regret.

All his friend had to do to be spellbound for an hour of two was to call on Jimmy, accept a cold beer - he always had one popped - and wait until that faraway look came into his eyes and he was off on another Baja reminisce; his constant cigarette burning in an ashtray close to hand. In fact, Jimmy’s smokes were so much a part of the man, it was said after Hurricane Juliet in 2001, that the biggest crisis the Gringo community faced was getting Jimmy’s favourite brand to him, as all the roads in and out of Los Barriles had been cut by the torrential rain and flooded arroyos!

To me, what shone about Jimmy, apart from his relaxed hospitality and contentment in his own skin, as we say these days, was his culture and sheer intelligence. Jimmy understood you; what you were and what you needed to keep you going up that weary old road. I was mostly in La Paz when Jimmy got ill and he wasn’t in the habit of complaining about a few old pains: I heard he rested more, popped a few pain killers and then was back in the outhouse ready to chat and recount more of his famous yarns of the people and times of Baja over the last 50 years.

I have unfortunately lost my copy of his book with the caricature of Jimmy Smith adorning the cover. If you see one, snap it up, for no book has been published with such a riveting and hilarious cover picture of the Grinning Gargoyle himself on an airplane. North Americans will still be able to get copies of the book: the postage may be prohibitive for people elsewhere, I saw Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon had copies online, both new and used: none were really cheap.

Despite Jimmy’s view of himself as the gargoyle, he was really a handsome and sensitive bloke - if a bit worse for wear! If you read some of the stories in the book, you will know why.

Well, Jimmy: won’t let you rest, will we? You been the wrong side of the grass for six years and there’s still no one around like you, despite all the “Baja Bob’s” and the “Baja Dave’s” who have been around a while and like to think of themselves as being attuned to, and apprised of, all that makes up this wonderful peninsula. Gargoyle, you had all these gifts without effort, and not once did you refer to yourself as “Baja Jimmy,” you were way above that.

James Pledger Smith RIP From RC, your bud

Photo credits Western Outdoor News Photos of Jim..

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hola Sarita: Jimmy was a man you don't easily forget. As he and other Baja institutions fade, it chips away at the reasons to go there. My friend, Aldo, drowned in La Paz last year; he was another person a bit like Jim and is sadly missed. Are you in Los Barriles, or? Bob Challen

    • profile image

      Sarita de La Vos, (Sally Smith) 

      7 years ago

      That was a wonderful read. Everything you said was OH SO TRUE. Jimmy Smith was and always will be my mentor. He has been gone a few years now, but everywhere I go, he is with me, advising me, he was the best Dad a kid could ever have! Thank You for your words, they were true thru and thru! Saludos, Sarita

    • profile image

      diogenes 

      7 years ago

      Muchas gracias para su comentario. Jimmy era un persona muy especial y no olvidamos su presencia y amistad.

      Jimmy y Mexico for ever!!!

      Roberto

    • profile image

      PAKO 

      7 years ago

      I LOVE JIMMY THE GRINGO GARGOLEY, THANK YOU SOO MUCH FOR YOU ARTICLE......

      JIMMY FOREVER!!!

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hello...Hola Gloria

      I think everyone loved Jimmy; I wish I had met him earlier and we had spent more time together.

      Thank you for commenting...good luck in 2011 y viva Mexico!

      Roberto x

    • profile image

      Gloria Santacruz Cosio 

      7 years ago

      He was my granpa! And thank you soo much for this article!

      we love him!!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)