March 29, 2005

Fin de Cycle, Semana Santa

It's the wee hours of the morning and I've just seen mom off to the Barcelona Airport. It's been touch and go with her health during this trip. Thinking that her recent cold cycle (caught on a plane to the Philippines recently) was winding down enough to make this trip, mom's chest cold consolidated into something that was beginning to resemble pneumonia. So we returned early from Madrid, Googling over the weekend for info, making amateur diagnosis, hoping that she would get better day for day.

Finally, she did.

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This, marking the end of the Grand Madrid Natal Tour of 2005. Much of what happened was chatter, stories told, what was said between us... and the topic of the conversation centered about family of course. I think that most family stories are rich and I seek your pardon for thinking with temerity that perhaps our family has enough twist and drama for a good story to be told.

But alas, It shouldn't be told just yet, too much is not yet known anyway and more importantly, too many people could get hurt. For now, teh story should be incognito. In time, in time it will be told. It's a great story. Maybe I'll blog it before 2050.

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I think now of the first lines of a book I haven't yet read (Stephanie did, and she told me all about it), Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina":


All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

I think too, that:
1. All families are both unhappy and happy in varying proportions.
2. And since unhappiness is generally less memorable over time...
3. While unhappiness is the grist for the storyteller's mill...
4. Therefore we are thus compelled to monumentalize our unhappy families and these stories become history, some more than others in ways that change over time.

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And boy, did we monumentalize the unhappy while we dusted off the happy in our family during this vacation. It reminded me of the Day of the Dead festivities in Guanajuato, Mexico so many years ago (another vacation trip in the late 80's). There, the town assembled in a big procession and then all had a party on the graves of their loved ones. There, weeds were pulled while children played and widows repainted gold into the incised letters of tombstones as delicious food bar-b-qued nearby and music wafted likewise.

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We had our own All Saint's Day over Easter.

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Here in this blogpost are pictures from a Semana Santa procession. (Pardon me whilst I ignore the proper names for the features of this ritual event.) We had just finished dinner and as we exited the restaurant into wet streets, we heard a commotion. It was a procession of penitants, complete with an icon engine driven by a squad of men on their knees, escorted by cone headed incognitos, (whose visage can only remind a yanqui of the KKK unfortunately) and a fantastically blaring brass band.

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Posted by Dennis at March 29, 2005 4:56 AM

1 Comment

I was glad to read your family story. I found it entrancing. It's risky, putting family jewels like those out for strangers. Thank you very much for sharing them.

Family frames an inescapable mental universe for each of us. We can overcome family difficulties and gain perspective, but the scars are indelible, as, hopefully, are the joyful memories.

Our family stories are our mythologies. We respond to them at a gut level, deeper than we respond to the other mythologies in our lives. They ring truer for us than our religions.

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