Snapshots and Everydays

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI look for my landlord’s truck as I drive around town sometimes. I hope to see it with a ladder propped through the roof, because it means that he is working.

My landlord owns a small business, and of course, the European Financial Crisis has hit his family as much as it has virtually every family in the city. Work is slow. Times are tight.

And I wish that I could fix it.


Last Friday, my youngest son dressed in a white shirt, black pants, and a red sash, and did a traditional Sevillana dance for his preschool’s Feria.  He danced with his teachers and classmates. Their dresses flared out as they spun. They were a mass of color, petals outstretched. Arms raised, dancing, blooming.


“Do you have cherry tomatoes?” I asked my fruit man.

He reaches for his phone, “Miguel? Por favor. Tomatoes por La Americana.”

He told me to come back that evening. “I bring tomatoes for you.”

They tasted like sunshine.


I told my landlord that I avoid most red wine because it gives me headaches.

No,” he said, “No no no.

He explained that he used to get headaches too, but then he found more wine, better wine. “Don’t give up,” he said, “Es importante.


This weekend, we are going to a first communion party for a Spanish friend’s son. There will be paella. Jamon. Wine. Laughter.

Come, they say. Come, and eat and share our joy.

There will be besos, and children, and sunshine.

And no talk of crisis.


I watch for that ladder, in that white Volkswagon truck. I am not Spanish, and I do not share their particular set of troubles.

But I kiss my children and hope for them. As do they.

With every cafe, and every paseo, I love them a little more. And I ache for them, and their beautiful land.

I want more days of feria dresses and first communions.

I want the days, for my amigos espanoles, to taste of sun-ripe tomatoes and hearty, oaky wine.

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