Thursday, December 29, 2011 - Wednesday, January 4, 2012
If you have not read part 1 click here WEEK 97. PART 1
The rest of Saturday 31st went like this:
I drove around, Auburn, the town where I live trying to finish off my ¨to do¨ list. It didn’t take long
because Auburn is a very small town. Founded in 1892 the city was given its name because of the red
clay found here to dye cloth auburn-red. The pine tree surrounded town is so small in fact; the historic
downtown consists of two tiny blocks. Police department included. Incredibly, the old, two story brick
and wood buildings on those two tiny blocks are in just one side of the street. Therefore, there is great
visibility of the little downtown area when you drive on Highway 8, also known as Highway 29 or Winder
Highway, because the only thing between them are the rail road tracks that run parallel to the road for
miles on end.
However, even with an open view of Auburn’s historical downtown, driving by at 30 miles an hour you can
miss it by a blink of an eye. The only thing that pops out of the scenery in this small street was an old,
red caboose stationed on a little park area by the buildings. When Alonso was with me in the car and saw
it he would shriek with delight over and over again, ¨Choo chooooo tain!! Ook! Yaya!! Chooooo choo!!¨
And when I was by myself and saw it, I knew that on the next light I had to turn left and cross over the
rail road tracks if I wanted to go home.
Sometimes the thought of stopping and taking a closer look at the red caboose crossed my mind. But I
never did. Not in eleven years. I guess I had let it go to many tomorrows.
When I was done with my list I passed once more by the red caboose on my way home. Sigh.
Soon I would be living in another city and this familiar sight would be something from my past.
I wondered... No- Certainly now was not the time to be curious and stop the car. Georgina C would
soon be by my house to pick up her virtual yard sale purchases.
Georgina arrived right on time with her husband, teenage son, mother, and two pick up trucks. The
cheery woman in her late thirties paid for what she promised she would buy, then looked around the
garage with interest and bought even more. Her son wanted every tool he saw in sight, and her mother
bought the green rod iron kitchen rack and one of my favorite decorations; a wreath... a beautiful one
custom made, with lots of love by my sister Hilda just for me.
At least Georgina was so thrilled with the furniture, decor and tools she bought that it made it easier
for me to let go of them... I even threw in some of my movie posters for free. But when I saw that
wreath in their pick up truck as they drove off on Summer Lane... I had to repeat to myself that I was
saying good bye to mere objects, not loved ones. Things dear to me, but not necessary to go on living.
And afterall, much of our memory bearing belongings were on the way to Spain already.
I should not complain. The large two car garage that had metamorphized into a storage unit throughout
the years was now almost clutter free. I couldn´t believe I actually could park two cars in it if I wanted
to. I laughed out loud and shook my head. How ironic... now that I didn´t need it....
Now, with the pick up arrangement out of the way, and a gratifying sense of relief I could go to Ingles
Market and buy some groceries for a special dinner, as I had always done in years past for New Year's
Eve. I took my grandson Alonso along. In the produce department I held a bag of green, seedless
grapes and pondered on buying them. In Spain it is traditional to eat grapes on New Years Eve; exactly
twelve grapes on the last quarter of the last minute of the year. There is always an exception of
course... with my son, Chris, I remember we had to prepare a small plate with 12 peanuts. He was a
finicky eater. However, most Spaniards make an art of this traditional grape- eating moment.
Others like me, choke or end up laughing and pieces of gnawed grapes go flying everywhere...
I smiled. What´s not to like about it? I certainly had some great family memories tied to the tradition!!
I looked at Alonso, sitting in the shopping cart, happily eating the free cookie offered to all children at the
bakery. The chocolate chips matched his big, dark brown eyes. I said to him, ¨well, buddy, you won´t be
eating grapes tonight... by ten o´clock, the latest, you will be sound asleep, and your mommy will be
going over to her best friend´s house. Hmmm... what´s the point of buying these.¨
I put the grapes back. Some people skip Christmas- tonight I was going to skip ¨las uvas¨or the
grapes. It could wait until next year when I would celebrate next to my husband, Pepe.
The thought aroused emotions. A tear fought my will and rolled down my cheek.
I decided right there I wasn´t even going to cook dinner. The hell with it. Sandra, Alonso and I could eat
out. I paid for my milk and bread and headed home. There was a very important call to make at six p.m..
That I couldn´t skip.
On the way home, Alonso cried out his usual, ¨Chooo choo!! Yaya!! Chooo choo tain!!¨ But this time I
didn´t keep going, I crossed over the rail road tracks, turned left and onto the tiny two block street.
Alonso sensed what was about to happen and clapped his hands in aticipation.
I said opening his door, ¨Let´s go buddy! Let´s say hello to our friend the choooo chooo tain.¨ Alonso
opened wide those big eyes of his and gave me an even bigger smile, jumping for joy all the way to the
Seeing Alonso explore the red caboose was priceless. However, when the time came to say good
bye it wan´t easy. He did not want to part from his new friend. I had to half drag, half carry a very
dramatic, crying Alonso to the car. The child shed tears all the way home crying out for his train.
My grandson´s tears would not be the lasts of the day. When six o´clock came around I was ready to
make that important phone call. In Madrid it was midnight and the New Year 2012 had arrived. As I held
the phone tight I whispered, Happy New Year honey. I waited a few minutes before dialing my husband´s
cell phone number. I had to wait... give him time to hug our daughter Mayra, her husband Raul, our
grandkids Alberto and Gabriel, and the rest of the family there gathered.
My husband´s voice quivered as he said, ¨Baby, don´t cry please. Everything will be different next
year... This is our last one apart. OUR LAST ONE! The wait is over. I love you with all my heart and
I can´t wait to see you in a few days. We have a whole brand new year to spend together. I love
you. I´ll call you tomorrow. OK?¨
He was crying by the end of the conversation.
I sobbed on the kitchen´s counter after we hung up.
Sandra, and I ended having juicy hamburgers at Dakota´s Restaurant. Alonso had a grilled cheese
sandwich with fries. Delicious any time of the year, yet so different from what I would have prepared on
such a night. I think my daughter and I did a real good job of eating our hamburgers without getting
emotional. In the back of our heads I know we were thinking the same; eleven more days and
who knew when we would be together again after I moved to Spain.
When we returned home, Sandra started getting ready to go to Diana´s home. I had insited she
go before midnight... but she took her sweet time. I knew what my daughter was doing. She
didn´t want me to be home by myself. While she put on her make up and did her hair I fell asleep
cuddled up next to Alonso.
A ¨Mom! Wake up!!MOOOM!! It´s almost time¨!!¨ woke me up. I responded with a ¨Didn´t I
tell you I wanted to sleep? Why aren´t you at Diana´s?¨ She said, ¨I wasn´t going to leave you
here like this!¨ I rolled my eyes. I knew it.
When the clock struck midnight my daughter and I hugged, kissed and did a little silly dance in the
dark living room lit dimly by our television.
After the door closed behind her I took a moment and texted Happy New Year to my son Chris, who
was working, his wife... my friends. I gave Hilda a phone call and we ended up talking for quite a while.
And as always we laughed. We always like to say something funny to make each other
laugh... we can´t help it. Silly, very grown up girls we are.
In my home. In the wee hours of the first day of the year of 2012. In that little town of Northern
Georgia named Auburn, next to a peacefully sleeping Alonso I cuddled once more and wished him
a Happy New Year. I carresed his hair and wondered if he was dreaming of red choo choo trains.
Kissing his forehead and wrapping my arm around him... I hoped... hoped it would be a good
year for us all.