Memories of my America – Of Liberace and The Hope Diamond

hdColombians are prone to embellishment, to taking a story and making it even grander. It was Gabriel Marquez, the famed Colombian novelist, who proclaimed, “To Colombians, life is a stage.”

My mother has entered a delightful stage of dementia. Delightful in the sense that her already Colombian tales of life have become even more entrancing. We pick her up on the weekends, and she spends the day at our house, where my three boys and I spread her favorite blanket across her lap, much like a ceremonious draping of an ermine wrap across a queen’s shoulders.

We settle her in with Mexican cocoa — hot chocolate with a pinch of cayenne — which she sips slowly, blowing softly across the steam, and when she leans forward to set her mug down, we know we are about to hear, The Theatre of The Colombian, Part Six; where she will pick up where she left off, when she was here last.

“You know,” we all turn to see what she will floor us with today. “I had to say no when Fidel Castro asked me to marry him. Yes, he acted one way in front of our government, but I knew… he was not going to grow into a nice man. And look, I was right.” My mother reaches for her hot cocoa, blows and sips, sets it down, and begins again. [Read more...]

Cheeeken in a Can and Butter Cookies

BITE ME! Food and Whine on FnS

My mother was a fancy lady. She never cooked, nor cleaned, nor kept up a home. She had grown up in South America, with “servants.” That’s the word she used for the help they had around her house. They had a servant for bed making, sweeping, cooking, market shopping, and small child watching. They even had one to feed my older sister’s pet howler monkey.

When she moved to the United States, that all had to stop. No maids here, but at least there were appliances. Still, the shock of do-it-yourself life along with the unwilling attitude on her part to have to learn how to do for herself, birthed a lot of meal time horror stories.

She couldn’t cook worth a lick. [Read more...]