This is one of my favorite photos from my visit to Santa Fe. Anytime a photo was taken, two groups of people would form, those being photographed and those taking the photos. Cellphones would be passed madly around so that everyone would be ensured a picture.
"Use mine! Use mine!"
I even heard, "Oh my god, is this a camera?!" when someone was passed a film camera as though it were a remnant from another century. And by golly, it was a remnant from another century. In the years since I last saw these people, the Twin Towers came and went, Get Smart introduced us to the idea of a wireless phone, and our remote controls - if we were lucky to have one - had half the number of buttons that they do now. It's been a very long time.
Cousin Anthony couldn't make it. The last time I saw him he was still wearing a leg brace. I was straddling him in the middle of the street giving him the pummeling of a lifetime until a car came. Then I fled the scene and left him to fend for himself. He's a priest now, so surely all is forgiven.
I saw Margaret. I love dear Margaret. She's Auntie Betty's daughter and the same age (a little older - heheheh) as me but only by months. She lost her mother to leukemia soon after she was born. She inherited the dreaded poodle picture when Grandma died and had the gall to threaten to leave it to me when I saw her at the memorial. She's remarkable and an inspiration. She never stopped striving and learning and was always self-suficient. Hats off to Margaret.
I saw Angela and Mena, Stephanie and Martin and Carla and Auntie Bea and Auntie Ana. I saw the grave of my great-Grandfather Filadelfo born in 1865 and his wife Guadalupe. I visited the grave of my Grandmother Guadalupe and took a picture near it with my mother and a brother I hadn't seen in 30 years.
I was introduced to a bold and brave new generation. I met two nephews and a niece for the first time and they weren't babies. The youngest was 15, the oldest was 18.
St. Anne's, interior
St. Anne's is a cruciform adobe with plenty of saints looking down from their niches. The light inside is soft and beautiful. The staff was patient and kind and tried to help me past my tears so I could read a short passage during the service but it was not to be. My brother took over and for that I was grateful.
I turned fifty and my dad died. I feel as though I am experiencing a metamorphis, that I am emerging as a new and better person. On August 18th I stopped biting my nails, thirty minutes after my brother called with the news. I don't remember a time that I didn't bite my nails but within thirty minutes of hearing that he was gone the need vanished. The nervous child that nested at my core finally stilled itself. I keep good and loving memories of my father. Why burden the dead with the weight of painful memories? They have a long journey to make and the loved ones that they meet will find them by their shining joy and love - it is not for me to diminish them with darkness that lives on the fringe of my beautiful memories.
Horses were my thing and my dad indulged me. He let me lose myself and challenge myself with them. He took me to riding lessons and horse shows and quiet trail rides. He'd bring a paper or a book and sit and wait. He took my dog, Pearly Mae, when I could no longer have her. She was a little black pug which he liked so much that he got himself another, a fawn colored one, after Pearly Mae died.
He wasn't perfect, thank goodness. Who could ever please perfect? He was flawed like me. He had an uncanny ability to look past my shortcomings. I'm still learning to look past my flaws and hope in time that I will become as practised as he was so I can love myself as much as he loved me because I have absolutely no doubt that he did. What would I be, I wonder, if I could love myself as much as he loved me?