Maybe...in my heart of hearts. I love this magazine cover from the Christmas/NYE issue. It is what I wish I had painted. See my two beside it. I was on the same track but I totally lacked the intimacy of the cover.
Two friends of mine made reference recently to a trip to Cuba: their countries allow them to do that. I thought of them yesterday on my way home from Islamorada. Here's a poem. Of sorts.
1:25 PM 12/30/2006
I could be in Cuba sitting in the Cafe Cubano in the Sunshine Supermarket sipping a cafe con leche looking at the menu taped to the wall-- Don't forget to order your whole roasted pig for the Christmas Night or New Year's Day.
The square room, tables for four pushed against whitewashed walls, the cafeteria chairs, so faded, so mauve, so leatherette, cracked linoleum, swept clean. I am eating Maria cookies reading the neon signs, ads for el presidente beer and the Lotto.
A man at the cash register folds his paper, a girl in an apron leans out the pass-through window. Music plays in Spanish. I imagine men in Havana ninety miles away listening to the same song. But something is not right; this is an old Cuba, reconstructed, remembered from before the exile. The men in their work clothes will get up from lunch and go back to work, not home to nap. This is the Keys, the Overseas Highway, as close to home as some will ever get.
In 1620, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, bound for the new world. There were 102 passengers. 44 of them (19 men, 11 women, and 14 children) were Separatists, looking for religious freedom. The others were known to the Pilgrims as "Strangers," men who desired a new life in a new land. In spite of the hardships and deaths of so many of their group, not one person chose to return to England when the Mayflower made its return voyage five months later. I love this painting by N. C. Wyeth which shows the Pilgrims standing on the shore watching their ship leave.
For more pictures, and a wonderful retelling of the story by Robert San Souci, I am recommending the book, N.C.Wyeth's Pilgrims, to the students at our school.
Memorial Day is a national holiday; banks are closed, schools, most businesses, too. People get together with their families, cook out, and mark the beginning of summer. Here in South Florida where so many people are recent immigrants every year someone asks, “But what is Memorial Day?”
Decoration Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. The most popular poem associated with this day is “In Flanders Fields.” It was written by a Canadian, John McCrae, and refers to the First World War.
In Flanders Fields John McCrae, 1915.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.