Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bob is back home

This morning I woke up and realized that the animals needed to be fed, but Bob could not eat anything after midnight, so Harry had his breakfast on the back porch.  I think he actually prefers to eat outside on the porch.  Maybe it reminds him of Pine Island, where the house was too small to have 3 large labs eating in it and 2 people living in it, not to mention all the other variety of wildlife.  So Harry was happy eating his breakfast.  Bob was confused.  I drove him up to the Vet's to be there at 9:00.  Harry road along in the back seat of the toy, trying to stretch his over sized self out to catch the best advantage of the wind blowing in on top of him.  He looked good.  We left Bob there, and I talked to the Vet around 2.  He has a partially torn ACL in his rear left knew.  Not bad enough for surgery, but bad enough to cause him pain so that he favors it, pulling on his back and hip, so now we have inflammation on the knee and the hip.  He is an athletic dog, but with the inactivity he is putting on weight, so went on a new eating regiment starting today.  So far he is not thrilled, but I am sure that he will get used to it.

Pat and Christopher came out and we had lunch at the Rosemary Tree.  "Delicious food, good service and wonderful people".  That should be on the sign above the door.  After lunch They headed back into town.  Pat will bring Christopher out to stay with me on Friday.  I am pretty excited.  He is a great kid, and we need to work on the Radio play together, and he has promised to help me start a walking regiment to try and build back up my stamina and strength.  I am hoping to get accepted into the HOPE project in Thomasville with the next month or so, but it will be fun for the two of us to go ahead and get a start on things by taking a walk each evening.  We stopped by the Chamber and signed him up for the free art classes at the Jefferson Art Center.  These are classes offered by a Grant Melanie was able to get and are free to the students.  The classes are from 10 - 2, and they will be in 2 classes each day with a little art appreciation/history class discussed at lunch.  I think it is a great idea, and happy that the girl at the Rosemary Tree told us about it.  The following week he will be in Space Camp.  The last week he is here we are hoping to take some driving trips around the area, maybe to some caverns or caves or forest, or museum.  I know I have been waiting to see the insect show at the Mary Brogan Science and Art Museum.  He has some brochures of things over in Alabama.  We will see how things go.  But I am pretty excited about our time together. 

And here is another day in the life of Bob, father and Kathleen, daughter's trip across the pond.  Last night we left you in Barcarotta, late after dinner.  We begin with the next day:  

Friday, June 24, 2011:  Barcarrota
I slept until 8, and let Dad sleep a little longer while I took a quick walk around the neighborhood, stepping up into doorways if cars drove by because there is not enough room for a car and a person on the same road most of the time.  I took some photos that I have probably taken every time I visit Barcarrota.  First a photo of the street, showing how narrow it is, 

then photos of the rocks too big to be removed so they were made a part of the walls of the casas

I walked around the parks, past two Supermercardos, one of which is a small one room operation,

 sort of this small towns convenient store.  Finally I walked past the two cathedrals and back home to get Dad up and ready and to breakfast at Paco y Teresa’s.  

We sit in the TV room to eat.  That means that Paco y Teresa spend all of the time walking back and forth between the kitchen and are table as they bring out more and more food.  After breakfast Paco drove us two the biblico Infantile (children’s library) for the little ceremony they had organized.  They are hoping to move the library to a new location within the next year and a half.  Because of the economy, they have had to cut into the space allotted for the library for office space, so the library will be moved.  In the meantime they have put up another plaque on the wall to the door talking about mother. 

Alfonso, the Mayor gave a speech.  Montana translated.  The new young librarian had two children there who gave a two sentence speech which they wrote on their hand and read.  Then they gave Dad a book on the history of olive trees.  A project that the library has won an award for.  So far this new librarian won two awards last year, one so far this year, and they are up for another one this year.  These awards are for the programs the librarian has initiated for not only children but for entire families.  Juan Maria, the librarian brought out a large photo album that he has started putting together photos from the visits of people from Bradenton starting up in the mid 1960s.  He hopes to have it finished by the 50thBradenton and Barcarrota.  Barcarrota is hoping to make this a major celebration, October 2012.  These gentle, kind, affectionate people take the sister city very serious.  It has given them the opportunity to increase trade with the US with a group of business men who came to the DeSoto Festival in Bradenton many years ago.  There is a young people’s Ambassador program where young adults switch towns for a month or so.  These are all very important to Barcarrota.  I hope it is as important to Bradenton.    Montana translated that they do not just want to have photos of the trips that were only DeSoto, they want photos of any visits by people from the sister city.  I told her Dad and I would go through the photo albums and send them photos from the various visit Mother and Dad made to Barcarrota.  This was Dad’s twelfth visit to this beautiful little village filled with so many dear friends, art work by our Luis, Mother’s monument and of course the library.  Dad gave the kids DeSoto coins to pass out to the people who had attended.  Then Dad gave a short speech with Montana translating for all the Spaniards this time.  It was very special, and to think this all started with a wish of my Mother’s to ensure that the children of her beloved Barcarotta had a library where they could go and be kids and develop a love for reading.

 Two of the awards won last year

 An award won this year, and still waiting to hear about another this year

 Jose Miguel (Guitarist) and Dad 
 Alfonso the Accolade (Mayor)

 Montana, Juan Maria the librarian, Alfonso, Dad and Paco looking at the book that Juan Marie is putting together for the 50th anniversary of the celebration of sister cities

Dad and Juan Maria as Dad gave him a financial gift from he and I towards the library

After the little ceremony, Paco drove us past Mother’s monument and the DeSoto on the horse statue so I could get photos. 

Dad and I standing in front of Mother's monument created by Luis Martinez Giraldo, son of Barcarrota

DeSoto on Horse back  created by Luis Martinez Giraldo, son of Barcarrota

I talk about food so much, because it really was the center of everything.  It showed these people's love and faith that with enough food and enough saints I would be healed.  You have to love that kind of faith, and those kind of generous beloved ones.

 Back at Paco y Teresa’s we had a typical long lunch, queso, jamon, pan and fried cheese.  The second course was an insalada mixa, third course a soup of spinach, garbanzo beans and chiro sausage.  Fourth course was a tortilla, this time, a traditional potato and egg one.  They brought Dad some more pork.  The fifth course was melon, figs and more jamon.  Finally ice cream and cookies were served.  I simply gave out on the fruit course and had to beg forgiveness then to manage to get Dad and I up so that we could waddle home for a siesta.  Everyone here is complaining about the heat.  It honestly is not anymore uncomfortable then a typical hot humid summer day here in Florida.  But it is really taking it out of our friends there. 

Everyone here is complaining about the heat and disappear into the cooler recesses of their homes during the hottest hours of the day.  A very civilized idea that we all know about, but honestly do not take enough advantage of here in the US.  I wanted so badly to slip out and walk to the garden and then take quiet refuge in the cool shade of the park.  I have never been to Spain this time of year, and it is quiet lovely, filled with flowers and floral scents that penetrate the still heat of the day.  But I am exhausted and I know good and well that it will be another late night.  So I fight the urge and lay down to rest and prepare to spend another meal with dearest friends struggling to translate between them and Dad.  That and even at 7:00 pm the heat engulfs you when you open the door to step out.  It really is amazing how cool the houses stay even in this triple digit degree temperatures. 

Our siesta was restless with Dad waking up every time he heard a horn honk or a loud car.  The streets are so narrow that when you come to most of the “intersections” you honk your horn so other drivers know you are there.  It is hard to see around many of the corners.

We walked back over to Paco y Teresa’s around 7 because Pablo had come over to tell us that Concha, who lives across the street from Bob’s casa, and a dear family friend had come for a visit.  The house was filled with family and friends again, and I admit to slipping out of the fray for a few minutes to take our laundry back to Bob’s casa.  Montana had told me the day before that it was only polite to allow Teresa to have someone wash and dry our laundry.  They were going to iron it, but honestly, everything looked like it had already been ironed, so I slipped away for a few minutes and to take an Ativan, to slow the anxiety of being around so many people and for having such little time on my own.  I will have plenty of time when I get home to be alone, but I still need a little break every once in a while. 
 Pablo standing holding a traditional bread served in the area that has cherries and pine nuts.  It is not as sweet as it looks like it should be, but instead is a very light dough the color of egg yolks and is more like a cheese danish with out the sweet then anything.  Teresa's cousin came over and hand cut all of the orange and lemon zest for the dessert.  I should get her a zester like we use over here.  She took hours cutting tiny pieces of peel from the fruit.

 Pablo, Marie and Amalle (2 years old)

 The pharmacist daughter in law, her daughter held by Marie, Dad, Amparo, Teresa, Santiago, Paco and Pablo

Tonight is dinner with Santiago and Amparo.  Amparo is quiet a character, talking faster and longer then I am able to translate.  We are supposed to eat at the casino, but there is no way that Dad can go up and down the stairs.  I am a little relieved, because as a normal person, Amparo is a delight, but I understand that when you get her around music and dancing that she becomes bigger then life.  Santiago had some connection to bull fighting, famous matadors, and the breeders who raise the bulls for the bull ring.  So we drove the country while he pointed out different sites having to do with the bulls and matadors.  Santiago has a firm belief that two wheels should be on the asphalt at all times.  However, the other two were more often off the pavement then on it.  But it was a lovely drive and we got to see some of the famous acorn eating pigs and lots of cattle.  Dad is pretty sore and beat up and all the driving, especially only partially on the road is wearing on him.

We ate outside on the lawn of the Nautilus restaurant, the only other restaurant in town.  I love trying new things and am open to trying anything that does not have meat in it.  Santiago speaks about a dozen words of English which as few as that is, it helps me so much to communicate in my broken, limited Spanish.  We had a delicious meal starting with olives and aged cheese, which Dad and I refer to as stinky cheese.  I tried to order Dad pork, but he ended up again with a beef steak, again, which they refer to as a fillet.  All steaks are referred to as fillets.  I had a traditional fish dish that was very lovely.  By the end of the evening, we were again communicating not bad for our limited shared languages.  We got home around 1:30 am and both of us slept well from pure exhaustion.  We are having a wonderful time, and tomorrow we will get to spend time with Alfonso and his gorgeous wife, Fatima, and then a visit to the farm and dinner with Montana, Barto, Patricia and friends.  Montana, Barto and their daughter Patricia are again some of our most beloveds.  So a wonderful day, hopefully a good nights rest and tomorrow more time with beloveds.  
I am so grateful to be here.
I am so grateful for this time with my Dad
I am so grateful for the dear, sweet, generous people we call friends
here across the pond
I have been given so many, many gifts in this life
and this is trip, 
each moment, 
is another gift
and I am so very grateful

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