Welcome to Smallville

Last winter, I was walking my kids to school. It was a dark day, teetering between cloudy and rainy. As we continued our whiny trudge, the skies opened, and the rain flew into our faces. The three of us huddled under one umbrella, small droplets pelting our legs, arms, and backpacks.

A SUV pulled up,and a voice called out, “Vamos!” The driver wore a gray sweater and a medallion of the Virgen dangled from his rear-view mirror. “Qual coleigo?” he asked.

I named my kids’ school, and once again he said, “Pues, Vamos! Venga!

I figured that if I was going to hitch-hike, I might as well do it in a foreign country with my two small children. The wipers thwapped along as we chit-chatted the short distance to the front of the school. In the course of the conversation, I learned that he knew my name, the names of my children, and the names of my landlords. And that I used to live in Maryland.


This Tuesday, my neighbor, who also runs a bodega/hardware store out of his garage, called out, “Senora! I hear your husband likes White Moscatel. Have him come over for a bottle.”

I asked my husband, “Who did you tell that you liked White Moscatel? Word’s getting out.”

He replied, “Nobody. I just ordered it at dinner last week. That’s it.”


Today, I was buying new uniform pants for my sons. I was three euro short,and the lady behind the counter said, “Pay me next time.”

She didn’t need to say the next line—by now, I know. She knows where I live. They all do. This town is a small little miracle.

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