But You Look So Cuban

As you might imagine, I’m still trying to hold on to my memories of Cuba before they flit away, but it’s been difficult finding the time to write to all you all, what with so much to do just now at the Pie Shop and Driving Range.

I didn’t sleep well last night, but you already know how that waning gibbous moon affects me, and I’ve had some strange dreams lately about The Morning Guy. In one of these dreams, he and I are in some kind of Main Street U.S.A. Theme Park in a huge crowd, which is always trouble for me.  I had no information about what was going on, but he was carrying something the size of the menu at Denny’s or IHOP, and kept asking me if I wanted to sign up for any of the special activities, and he had already marked the ones that he thought I should do.

I don’t remember the other dream half as well, but again there was a crowd, and confusion beyond anything that I ever see anywhere near my turquoise conch cottage.  And again The Morning Guy was with me, close enough to touch, guiding me to wherever it was we needed to go.  How he knew the route, I cannot say. After all, it was a dream.

Still, Sparkle Junior is pretty well convinced now that The Morning Guy was, at sometime in his past, a secret agent.  Personally, I still think he’s Canadian.  There’s so much we don’t know about him, but he does know how to hit a golf ball, and he does savor a nice piece of pie, and that’s all we need to know right now. I wish I could have brought him back a cigar or two.

He’s a blessing to us, especially now that the snow birds are arriving. So many of them require an extra bit of attention, both in the shop and out on the range, and I deal with them so much better when I have my post-its and emails from The Morning Guy to keep me on task.

A few years ago, I wrote a series of essays that I called “Unwelcome Blessings” and perhaps you remember some of those stories. If not, let me know, and I’ll send you a copy. In Cuba, I welcomed blessings, and received many. I’ve already written about paying a peso to be blessed by the Santeria woman, but there were others. For one, it was a blessing to spend so much time with Little Peach, that goes without saying. I also found a blessing in wandering out by myself, into a circle of people on Marti square. As it turns out, they were young Christians, close to rapture, and I was glad to let them surround me with their prayers.

And I was just as glad to walk away and open another can of Bucanero beer as soon as I was out of sight. Of course, the moment that I did that, their pastor appeared next to me, and gave me a smile. I’m sure that was a blessing, too, since we’d already had a lovely chat about Jesus and the miracle of the wine.

I also found a blessing in the words, “But you look so Cuban.”  I heard that in three different situations, and on each occasion I felt a glow in my heart, as well as a bit of mystification in my mind, especially the last time when the speaker was so obviously European and was hoping I had some local knowledge to impart. I did not. My understanding of Havana is fragile and untested. I suspect it will not last for long.

So, today I’m sorting out my memories and trying to recall the rest of my dream about The Morning Guy. As I do this, I’m remembering that these activities call on different parts of my mind.

I used to give my writing students a three-part assignment: Describe someone from memory, from observation, and from imagination. What I didn’t understand then is what would happen to my written observations, my notes. Those seemingly hard facts have blended now into fantasy, and maybe I have already waited too long to tell you my story. But maybe alchemy will take over and turn my thoughts into a metal that you can cast.