Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Challenges and a day filled with travel
Yesterday we woke to the most beautiful blue sunny day in the Netherlands. Everyone said of course the day you are leaving it will be sunny. I said that it was wishing us well on the rest of our trip. It had been a late night filled with lots of family and laughing, talking, coffee and catching up with dear friends. I took pictures of all the families, that ane connected with one heart, and we are so lucky to be part of all this love.
Sjaak and Joyce took us to the airport in Amsterdam, it is less then an hour from their house, and good traffic yesterday. We all held our tears in check with hugs and kisses and promises of visits on both sides of the pond.
Dad and I made it through the airport very well with lots of help and the kindness of strangers and every airport assistance they had, I think. All was going so well, until I realized that I did not have my wallet. The last time I remember seeing it was on the farm, but they have looked in the car, around where the car was, in my room, in the entire house, and no wallet. I was sick, but did my best to not cry and stay calm so as not to worry dad. Travelling is so very very hard on him and I did not want to add anything to that. But of course I was terrified that the worse possible scenario and someone was out emptying my bank account and running up my credit card. But I was also trying hard to remember what I might have done with it, and using the theory of quantam physics, that everything is a wave of possiblities until you focus on one point. I tried to see all the positive points in the wave hoping that even though I have not worked or practiced at this, any positive thoughts might help. And it did by keeping me calm.
The flight from Amsterdam to Madrid was pleasent enough and then we had almost 5 hours in Madrid to wait for the once a day flight to Badajoz. Dad was tired and sitting in a wheel chair for that long isn´t good on anyone. He would try every hour to get up and stand for a little while, but even that was hard, but it was better on his knees then sitting the entire day. The plane was delayed so our 5 hours turned into 6, but then it was time to take the shuttle plane to our final destination and to our beloved Luis and Josifina, and if we were lucky to see Ana, their daughter and maybe even Luis and his wife Beline. Getting dad to the plane and into it was a bit of a challenge. It took 2 wheel chairs and more men then I can count. Sweet, dear, strong helpful men who were so kind and tried so hard to keep humor about caring a man of about 176 pounds and extremely limited mobility up some treacherous ladder like stairs and then through an aisle in a plane that was not big enough, really, for their smallest wheel chair. But we were loaded, dad was a little banged up, but all in all, no so bad. Again because the kindness of strangers.
We arrived in Badajoz less then an hour later and now came the ordeal of getting him out of the plane. Two very big manly men came and again as gently as possible moved him from the plane to his waiting wheel chair below. There were a few moments of confusion with the chair, but we got him in it and settled, then as I leaned over to show them what to do with the feet pads my back pack swung out and hit dad on the hand, giving him a huge deep gash just slicing his thin delicate skin open. He cringed in pain and we all looked down in horror. I had not eaten well and my stomach was queesy, but I focused on him and one of the manly men ran to get the firstaid box. They cleaned it then wrapped it tight with guaze and taped it. I kept insiting he keep it up above his heart to minimize bleeding until it could set. I know he got tired of hearing me say that, but I thought it would cause less throbbing today. We will look at it today to see what must be done.
But then we rounded the corner and there was the beautiful Ana smiling and our beloved Luis beaming at us. It felt so good after such a long day to run into their welcoming arms. Luis took us home via one of the new plazas that depicts the history of Spain. He has a statue of the President of Peace. This is the leader of Spain who defeated Napolean in this country and brought peace.
These are his studies made before making the nearly 3 meter tall monument standing in a center portion of the plaze de history of Espana
Here is Luis, the famous artist. He is also the Head of the Art Institute here in Badajoz (pronounced by the locals as Badajo)
He is holding a plaque from my Father and I to him saying what a great amigo he is to our familia. The medal is won from when Mother was the Alcadaza of Ybor City.
Here are are some more of Luis´s studies from his home studio:
This is one of my favorites ¨Tres Poet¨depicting the three most famous poets of Espana. It stands in a small park as you come in from one of the brigdes leading into town.
This is a study Luis made for the horse in the Plaza of Hernando deSoto in Barcoratta. Hern is a solid bronze lifesize statute in full armor and head gear, I will try and get a picture of that when we go to Barcarotta later this week.
This study of the statute commissioned by a local casino is of Lady Luck
As you can see he is very talented artist, and sweet, funny, and a very much go to guy. You want it, Luis knows the person who can get it. Cigars? got it! Melon? got it! Wine? got it! Job? got it! He is loved and respected here in Badajoz for many reasons, and also in his home town of Barcarotta.
Barcarotta is the town that claims to be the birth place of Hernando deSoto. Bradenton claims to be the first place he landed in Florida. That is the connection between my family and Espana, The Hernando deSoto Society. They elect a new Hern each year and Daddy was Hernando in 1987.
The house that Luis and Josafino live in was originally a guild house built in 1844 and then renovations began in the 70s and I think they have lived here and finished the inside renovations about 20 years ago and it is a gorgeous home. Here are some pictures:
Street in front of their home
Plaque on corner of the house
Outside front door leading into the courtyard
Inside of the door
looking outside the living room into the courtyard
The courtyard, Luis´s studio is behind the hearth in the back of the courtyard and is expansive and airy. A lovely place to create. Sometimes his pieces are too big to make in the studio so he makes then in the courtyard and then a crane lifts them out to be bronzed. He sculpts in a type of clay and then a mold is made from that and the bronze statute made from there.
The third floor is where the pool is, and there is a full basement used as storage and a root cellar.
Here is the inside of the actual front entrance to the house. I have never seen it used, because friends all come in through the courtyard, or as we think in America, the back door.
It is a glorious day with clear blue skies, cool temperatures that will get warm by the afternoon. It is quiet with Josafino at work at the school and Luis in the studio doing some business. In the middle of the night Luis called me, dad had fallen on the hard tile floor and could not get up. After that I turned off the fan in my room, and opened the door back up so I can hear him. Tonight we are putting a bell in his room and when he needs help, he can ring it and I will go to help him.
It is almost mid day, and dad is up and getting dressed. I will make some breakfast, I am starving, but just now realized it. I have been so busy helping me in and out of his room and up and down the stairs. I have moved him from the nice big guest room into Luis Jrs old bedroom where there are no stairs between him and the bathroom. There are stairs he must go up and then down to get to the elevator, but just a few, so we can do this.
My Spanish is dismal, and Josafino´s English the same, but the men are completely monolingual, but seem to get along and understand each other quiet well. So I let them go at it, and just translate, or try with Josafino when it is important to understand. Everyone has made lots of plans for us on this trip and we will be very busy and lots of parties and dinner and visits, if I understood properly.
I am calm and happy in these beautiful surrondings with such dear beloved ones. They all worry about me terribly and try to do everything for me because I have cancer. My backbone and hard head straighten up, and I smile, gracias, I will do it for myself, por favor. They are adjusting, but they knew my mother and she also was a hard headed woman.
I am looking forward to all the fun, oh! And when we were first pulling into Badajoz, I recognized a man sitting in a plaza. I said, there is the most famous Flaminco singer just sitting there. They all laughed that I should recognize and remember him. He does not dance, he sings the revolutionary songs of the Flaminco. I felt like I was coming home, with familiar sounds and sights and people. It has been too long since I have been here. But I am here now, and for the last time with my father, and we shall remember these days always with such love.