Sunday, 3 February 2008

Winter, The Who, and Whatever.

We had a week of spring, and this morning Winter decided to come roaring back down from Cantabria, driving cold rain horizontally before it and into our squinting little faces. The church was so cold this morning Don Santiago skipped the sermon altogether, and told us instead about winning a prize for rural workers.

Seems he and a childhood friend have worked together at the garden center for 30 years, and a regular customer nominated them for a prize for hardworking country folk. (A prize sponsored by the regional Communist Party. Imagine... a country where you can be a public Commie, and not be considered a wacko! To me, that is what Freedom looks like. )

Anyway, Santiago And Friend qualified on several counts, he said: they were sons of the soil, born and raised on the meseta. They help their neighbors with advice and provision of the newest seedlings and crop varieties. They both help run family farms on the side. And they are (the crowning glory) ministers of the church, traveling to a long line of rural parishes each Sunday, sowing the seeds of the Gospel. (here´s a pic of Don Santiago, in his white Regular Time robes, taken last spring when we all marched out to bless the crops.)

Anyway... They won the prize! Which is, they learned: a roast lamb! Not enough to share with all the people who made it all possible. And those who WERE invited to the feast will expect tortilla and salad and cakes and wine, all the trimmings, they said... So it looked like the "prize" was more of an expensive curse than a blessing. Until they went ahead and threw the party a couple of weeks ago, at the nominating guy´s bodega down in Cisneros.

But it didn´t turn out disastrously. Everyone who came brought a dish, he said... fruit salads, ice cream, potatoes, green beans, fancy pastries, even TWO extra lambs to roast, in case they ran short! The family is still working its way through the food, he said.

Jesus did this, he said, with the loaves and the fishes. All it takes is one person of faith, handing over one provision, and divine providence kicks in -- "the Holy Spirit at work on the hearts of selfish men can make a feast happen, a party of abundance and generosity." Miracles come in every shape and flavor. (Here is one I plan to try soon as I get some maple or vanilla flavoring, and figure out how to use the local yeast: .)

So now we are holed-up in the little kitchen with a nice scrap-wood fire roaring and the smelly dogs sacked out in front of it, listening to The Who singing "Happy Jack" on the little Bose box. It´s dirty here, and gray, and the dishes want washing. Still, I think these are some of the days I will look back on, happily, in the future.

¨No, They couldn´t stop Jack, or the waters´ lapping.
And they couldn´t stop Jack from being happy."

We expected Chris, a Scottish pilg, all through this week, but we´ve not seen him. And we expect Dominique, the French chef/builder who helped me with Thanksgiving in Paris, to show up here any time, but there´s no sign of him. He is coming to advise on the building campaign, I think. He is staying for a week. I have some misgivings, but flexibility is the Number One requisite for living here. Dominique may turn out to be a godsend. I shall have him help me design the kitchen, I think, him being a chef. Maybe we´ll go over the mountains to the Ikea in Oviedo. I hope there are some funds left over to furnish our house, once all the construction is done... that will be a blast! I shall have to find a volunteer to stay at the Peaceable for a few days, to walk the dogs and feed the chickens, while Paddy and I go shopping in The Big City, or maybe walk the week-long Camino Ingles up in Galicia.

Let me know if you want to take a turn out here on the Camino this spring or summer. We´ll probably need a break by then. And walking is good. Here´s a quote I stole from someone this week:

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

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