Tag Archives: love

Thought #49. On folk memory.

I still remember with heartfelt emotion the enticing prospect of a summer’s fortnight at my grandparents’ cottage. They would boast about what they had achieved, not without a great deal of hard work though. Had it not been for their financial ingenuity in hard times, my mother, aunts and uncles would have not been who they are. Mum is the eldest of six children and although she was widowed at the early age of 42, she already had five children.

My grandfather, Fermin, born on July 7th, 1919, fought in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. Fortunately, he survived it and became a forest guard on January 26th, 1946. He devoted his life to preserve the mounts of Castellon province, on the eastern coast of Spain. He would worship nature during the rest of his life, only coming into his own when trees and plants were literally surrounding him.

When my father died, we were living in a small suburb of Tarragona. As we did not have family there, my mother took us to Castellon, where her brothers and sisters lived. I was then eight years old and the elder brother of my baby sister. My grandparents lived between two places, their city flat in Castellon and a cottage near a small village that used to be a windmill. It was there, in that country house, where I hold so many treasured memories.

My grandmother, Adelina, was remarkably cheerful and always displayed a strong character. She was a good person, sometimes a little innocent. I would not go so far as to say that her patience hardly ever snapped but, most of the time, her company was extremely pleasant. I would play cards with her  till the small hours by candlelight, and tried to cheat her by using devious tactics. It was at those moments when she would snap fiercely.

Games apart, every summer with them was outstanding. Picking cherries and loquats, collecting apples and pears, watering tomato plants, I passed the time of those long days. We often made marmalade out of any ripe fruit. Food was never thrown away. A famine-stricken youth had taught them the lesson. A lesson inherited, as many others, from generations. Bits and pieces of a folk memory that we must not forget.

To Adelina and Fermin, from his grandson Alberto,  still captivated by your eternal humility, generosity and humanity.

Thought #6. A dog’s life.

I’d always had mixed feelings about dogs, keeping them away for fear of being bitten while aching for having one of them as a pet. Sucre is a birthday present I gave to my wife on 2010, the year before we got married. I’m lost for words when it comes to describing the strong bonds that emerged out of the blue between we and him.

Human beings have been domesticating dogs since ancient times. And their unique and special way of communicating with humans has become one of the most successful when compared to any other domestic animal.

Maybe there is no clear evidence but based on my intuition I think many of us are hardwired to love dogs. At least, I am. No matter how hard my family had been discouraging me, I finally got away with it.

Sucre was still a puppy when he joined our family. At the beginning we struggled to get him poo and wee on the street. By using positive reinforcement we managed to change some of his wayward conducts into good deeds.

His nature is true and pure, unique and special. Being a mongrel, Sucre could easily have ended up as a stray dog. Luckily, he forms an integral part of our inseparable family and we are proud of it. More than living a dog’s life, since that summer of 2010 we are in seventh heaven.

Thought #2. A pain in the neck.

Saturday morning. By the blazing sunshine invading my bedroom through every little hole in the curtains, I guess it may be around ten in the morning. Luckily, oversleeping is not going to cause me any inconvenience. It’s weekend, indeed, a long weekend as next Monday is a local bank holiday.
– ‘Honey, honey!’ I shout to grab Marta’s attention.
The door bursts open as she appears. Her radiant smile and the sparkle in her blue eyes, signs of a woman still deep in love.
– ‘What do you want for breakfast?’ she asks almost whispering.
I wonder how well she is able to read my mind. Only a raised eyebrow and a freshly squeezed orange juice with a toast is waiting for me in the kitchen.
As I prepare myself to get out of bed, a terrible pain freezes me, I’m unable to make the slightest movement. A pain in the neck which is a far cry from those I find at work, pernickety individuals incapable of seeing the wood from the trees.
This pain, however, is different, a simple one that hopefully will wear off in a couple of days.