Some call it dull and boring.
And some, like me, call it "home." I have the pictures at multiply.com but you can comment here, if you like. I wish I had taken more, but I was too busy drinking up the sea breeze and sites, storing up hugs and kisses from family, and just kneeling at my beloved grandmother's bedside, holding her frail hand as gently as I could. Those hands used to hand-wash clothes, and cooked for me many times. Those hands used to grab me and hug me when I would come, walking up from the dock, with my little bag I used to euphemistically call "luggage." Those hands were always loving and gentle to me, and I held them so softly, so as not to hurt her.
I couldn't bear to take a picture of my grandmother. I think part of me wants to remember her, sitting on the porch, waiting for my twin and me to come, with some lunch warming on the stove. Usually rice, beans, and yuck, pork chops. She's the ONLY person in the world who could make me eat porkchops. To this day, since the last time she made some, oh, some 10 years ago, I have not eaten any, nor will I, ever again.
One day I called her up, panicked, and said, "Abuelita, I'm trying to make fried chicken and it's coming out all wrong!" I don't know what she was doing, probably watching one of her many favorite shows, but she stopped and told me how to do it. The secret is to season it on the inside, and then to add just a splash of oil, and water, and let it cook, covered slightly. I fry my chicken like she used to, and it *almost* tastes like hers, almost. Perhaps her secret ingredient was lots of love? Mine has it, but it's never the same. And, there is no sea breeze to whet your appetite, either.
My grandmother showed displeasure towards me only ONCE that I can recall, and I don't blame her. I was chatting on the City Hall steps with one of the most notorious young men of the island. And, of course, being that I was her grandaughter, that didn't go unnoticed. So, what happens but that she sends one of my aunts to fetch me, only I was having a great time and din't "get it." Next thing I know, my GRANDMOTHER is there, frowning, so I knew something was dreadfully wrong. So, I shrugged and went dutifully with my Abuelita, knowing that this would be known throughout the whole island by tomorrow, because I'm sure that her best friend, Sofia, probably saw us talking and called her up. You can't be naughty when EVERYBODY knows your grandmother and uncle. NOT that I was being intentionally bad. I was just chatting with a cute boy, and how was I to know he had an awful reputation?
If you're wondering what happened next, I think I was on my way home in the next ferry... I learned my lesson. Check with the family first. She loves me, but I was a handful back then. I'm still a handful, but in a good way!!!
Almost forgot to post the link: http://riverglorious.multiply.com/photos/album/61
One last thing. The last time I went to see my grandmother, I had my crochet tote with me and was making a doily. And, she went into her room and came out with a crochet hook, size 12. I've never seen a size 12 hook. She was so proud that one of her grandaughters could crochet. And, she gave me her hook. I treasure it. When I asked how she learned she explained that when she was a teenager, there were programs, sponsored by the US goverment, that taught arts, like crochet, knitting, and cooking, I believe, and she learned how to crochet. And her very last hook is now mine. I will hand that down to my own daughter ones of these days...
Now, my Uncle Tito (Sixto) goes every day and makes breakfast for her, and watches over her until Aunt Petti comes in a couple of hours later. Petti fixes lunch, snacks, and makes her comfortable, often fetching her things, and just keeping her company, taking care of her until around 2 or 3 p.m. That's when my cousin comes in from work and takes it from there. Uncle Tito usually comes back for a little while in the late afternoon or early evening. Another aunt, Fechi, often comes from Fajardo and cleans and helps whenever she can.
I would say that my grandmother is surrounded by love, wouldn't you?