Friday, 24 February 2017

The Forgotten Bridge Route (part I)

My 93 Saab circulates smoothly along the A5. I am on my way to meet my origins. I come here to remember the moment when I came into existence, and my experiences in Extremadura.

I was born 63 years ago now in a house with granite stone solid walls, completed with mud bricks. I still remember the dark wooden beams, as I enter the living room, sustenance of nail-covered wooden planks where the roof tiles (tejas de tejado) used to sit.
Those thick beams which were used as pegs for domestic and farm implements, aroused my curiosity about the way these tools had gotten there. How many men and how much strength would have been necessary to place them there? That mysterious thought used to accompany me before falling asleep.

The house was part of a cattle ranch where my parents, as sharecroppers, lived taking care of beef cattle, working a plot of olive grove and gardening a rustic vegetable garden. The abode used to have
Stay, bedrooms; Today
three rooms. The entrance area, where the fireplace used to be at the back of the room, in the posterior wall of the entrance. On its right, two rooms connected to each other and separated by a thin partition wall which was built with homemade mud bricks. A concluded in its lintel with an ash tree branch that supported a heavy piece of fabric instead of a door enabled the passage between rooms. Out of these two, the biggest room, which was closer to the front door, was where my parents and my little brother used to sleep. My sister and I shared the room wich faced the North, where we could, at least, enjoy a larger window than the little one in my parent´s room.

Our dwelling extended to a stable on the right side where a couple of mules used to be; my father was very fond of these animals, which he treated as fellow sufferers. It took me many years to understand a quote that he used to tell me while looking at them with certain amount of resignation: “Whatever people may say, these animals are intelligent: they know it is time to work, not for chatting or other today´s trifles ” As I recall, I was around seven years old when I heard him say it for the first time. It was February, I know because Carnival had just passed and, soon after that, was when my sister and I discovered the forgotten bridge.

Traditional housing sharecroppers, in Extremadura. Spain

(to be continued: part II and the end)
Relive experiences in Extremadura
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