Together AgainTuesday, April 07, 2015
|Linda Lorenzo & my father's mate|
Many times in this blog I have written that I have nothing tangible from my father except for his King James Bible that has half his signature on the title page. The reason for that and which I cannot explain, nor was I ever curious enough to ask my mother while she was alive, is that half the page was at some point torn off.
When I picked up the belongings of my father at a Buenos Aires police station all that was given to me was his Cédula de Enrolamiento (a sort of identity document) and some change. The reason as to why I went to the police station is that my father had died on the street and taken to a nearby hospital by his friend a police sergeant.
Of my mother I have dresses, photographs, a wrist watch (given to her by my father) and personal belingings like mirrors, shawls and a beautiful red Mexican rebozo.
But there is another, very intimate possession of my father’s (of which I have written many times before) that has been in front of me but I never made the complete connection.
This connection is my father’s Argentine mate.
Fragrant as a cured mate
While my Rosemary has never liked sipping mate (it takes a special sort of tolerance to like it) the one member of my family that has often sat with me to share sips is my granddaughter Rebecca. The procedure is that one person sips from the bombilla, the metal straw, and only after it is refilled with hot water will it be then handed over to the person next to you, usually in a clockwise direction.
Rebecca and I differ in that she likes sugar in her mate while I like mine (most manly) straight. But I am willing to have my manliness sacrificed for the pleasure of sharing a mate with the only person I know in Vancouver who likes it.
Argentines say that if you drink a mate abroad, while living abroad, you will soon return to Argentina if only, at the very least, to visit. Rebecca has been in Buenos Aires. I know that one day she will return.
That my Rebecca has sipped from the very mate and bombilla that was my father’s (skipped the generation of my daughters) is something that I find memorable and special.
As I look at our rose garden and wonder what will become of our plants when we leave (perhaps by late fall), I am hit by a surge of depression, loss and sadness. I remember fond times when Rebecca and I sat on the metal (but awfully comfortable) garden bench in the sun and sipped on the mate.
My roses will never be able to cope with condo living or in a smallish house that might have little sun. But I do know that someday soon Rebecca will knock on the door and propose, “Shall we have a mate?”
And the three of us, my father, Rebecca and I will be together again.