Two Spains

February 9, 2011

There was this guy named Antonio Cipriano José María y Francisco de Santa Ana Machado y Ruiz. He’s known as Antonio Machado now, but I like his real name and its disdain for brevity.

He was a brave dude (anti-Franocist during/after the coup) and really went hard with literature and poetry.  Here’s an excerpt:

‘Españolito que vienes
al mundo, te guarde Dios.
Una de las dos Españas
ha de helarte el corazón.’

It basically means,’Little Spaniard coming into this world, May God protect you.  One of the two Spains will freeze your heart.’

It’s about the intransigent Spanish political divide.  We just finished reading Giles Tremlett’s The Ghosts of Spain and learned about how this divide affects the past, present, and future of Spanish governing and culture.  In some cases, politics run thicker than blood, to sometimes tragic consequences. We’re talking about bodies, people.

I won’t give you a book report although I want to. Props to Connie for the rec.

The poem also got me thinking about America more than anything since Bunk, McNulty and the train track metaphor.

But there’s space for optimism.  We have 2 little nephews that we love and don’t see enough and I don’t think they long for the lost days of Air America.

Have to love those kids.  Hearts not frozen yet.

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Miles and Miles Away

August 30, 2010

We may have lost babysitting privileges.

It was a hot morning and we slept in.  I drifted in and out of sleep, dreaming of eggplant calzones and starting a 1960s ad agency (Draper Geraghty Cooper Pryce). Then there were footsteps.  Assertive but light.  There was also a distant and gentle giggle.  Miles Jameson.  Little nephew’s checking in at 2.5 years, about 27 pounds, two dimples, and suddenly blazing speed.

If you saw him, you’d think, yeah, this kid’s cool. Sometimes he wears funny hats and chic rustic outfits, other times just a diaper.  He doesn’t drool like he used to.  If he wants to say goodbye it’s ‘night night,’ regardless of what time it is.  We have a shared affection for Buzz Lightyear and I admire his obsession with juice boxes.   Most people agree that a hug from Miles is one of life’s ten greatest offerings.

So we get up and say hello to the young guy and my mom tells me she’s babysitting him for a few hours.  We can help out if we want.

I fist-pump Bethany because this is our one chance.  We’ll be gone for a year so we need to somehow convince him that we’re worthy.   He’s not old enough to buy off with video games and birthday checks so quality time is really the only way to go.

What do kids love?  Doing things they’re not supposed to.  My father- his grandfather, and a tremendous one- tells  Miles to put some shoes on before they go outside.

Ha!  I will let him outside without shoes on behind my father’s back!  Trying to be the cool uncle really knows no bounds.  I throw him on top of my shoulders and we run around the house playing cops and robbers.  We were the robbers and there weren’t any cops.  It was chaos, a la Joker via The Dark Knight.

He’s laughing.  I’m sweating but happy.  I am earning the boy’s trust.

But man: that little boy can go.    B and I had a breather on the front steps and let him just be for a few minutes.  He was messing around with leaves- crumbling them up and throwing them on top of himself- and he was pretty close to the street.  Ok, fine.  He was on the curb, maybe a half-inch from the street.

But it was no big deal.  Cars rarely travel down our road and Miles is trained not to go onto it.

So when we heard a car, we thought, whatever.  I said, ‘Miles, be careful.’ We were probably about twenty feet from him.

Miles did exactly what he was supposed to, and there were no injuries.  The problem was that it was his father (my brother) in the car.

My brother got out quickly.  His look of surprise was evident.  How could two adults possibly let a kid play with leaves this close to the street?  And why isn’t he wearing shoes?  And why is his face marked with dirt?   And why isn’t he wearing sunscreen?

‘I’m just going to take him inside for a few minutes,’ my brother said.  It was a nice way of saying, ‘You’ll never be left alone with my child again.’

We’ll always have cops and robbers, Little Man.