Portugal # 8: Anniversary: A Rejoinder

Anniversary thoughts: A rejoinder.                                                                        November 18, 2011

Conrad & David discuss 16th-century Salamancan architecture.  Angel Trujillano & David dip into 16th-century mercury and silver.  Roberto & David gaze at 16th-century books.

Scattered among those moments, as mixed couples (with Margarita, Bella, Graça, Linda), references can be heard to the here-and-now and, gulp, the future.

 We are all of “a certain age.” And the ageless question has come to the forefront: “What are we going to do for the rest of our lives?”

Bella would like, actually, to have a conversation with Angel as she enjoys lunch. Margarita wants to find a good, secure, comfortable place to live as she & Conrad continue their research. Graça wants to have some good times with Roberto before her illness progresses much further.

And I? What do I want? All of these things.  An occasional dinner without references to the Almeida, Fonseca, and Rodríguez guys who had big problems in 16th century New Spain.

Where will we be best comfortable in the future? The Kingston house, is it already too big? Where would we move? In 2009 or so I thought I had the all the answers to our future: move to Mexico – good weather, nice wi-fi, great food. But then I returned to Kingston and fell in love all over again with the colonial house and the 1 ½ acres of my gardens. I made another bigger garden to go with the ones I am already fighting weeds in, refinished several pieces of furniture, and went crazy in the yarn shops.

I met David in 1974 on my first trip to Spain. Both young and healthy. Who knew about the void of the future. And who cared? Now in our late 60s we think we should be paying more attention to the void, but it’s just as nebulous as it was 37 years ago.  Margarita & I and 2 days later Graça and I agreed that we are lucky: we have energetic, interested, and interesting partners. We can stand aside a bit as they delve into their passions and we can enjoy it all as well.

The truth is that we all do the best we can. Sometimes it is easier to think about what has already happened than it is to cope with decisions that will affect our futures in ways that we cannot comprehend. To balance our bank account instead of fighting Congress’s inability to balance the budget. To pull weeds instead of pulling up roots to move in the American sense of “westward, ho”.

So we keep on keeping on.  The future is now  and now is the future.

The visit to Salamanca was an anniversary for David. But the here-and-now and the nebulous future is our shared joie-de-vie .