“Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is THE BEST.” ~~Frank Zappa
For her music was everything. It was the weekend barbecue with the family. Everyone gathered on the backyard, beer, meat, guitar, everybody singing. The birthday parties, the monthly visits to the grandparents, the summers at her grandmother's beach house. The church, the baptisms, the Christmas feasts, the processions, the end of the recess, the evening soap opera. Every memory was full of music. There was always a baby to sooth with a lullaby. There was always a song to entertain a long road trip. The maid singing along with the radio while she was pressing the clothes. She would stay there with the maid, doing her homework. The clothes strings on the backyard fluttering the linens, "The strange festival" like in the song.
Every morning they would wake up with dad's march playing on the radio spilling the news all over the house. Eldorado radio station. A bunch of easy listening tunes would follow after that. A jazz standard here and there, popular tunes, refined songs, with precious lyrics and impeccable arrangements that were taken for granted, because no one ever paid good attention to them.
The church was special. Her parents had so many activities in church. The charities, the simple poor people that they would help. Her family was like foreigners in their own town. They didn't have the local accent, since her parents weren't from there. She would listen to the people singing the hymns at the church, the rolled r's, the long vowels. "The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends." "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another".
Her father was this man greater than life. He was the justice, the righteousness, the final decision of all quests. Poor and rich, humble and wise, all would come to him for advice.
The last year of his life was like a blur in her memories. He was away in the hospital most of the time, in another city. Her mom was away with him. When he finally came home, she and her sister ran to the front gate to hug him. He embraced them and he cried. So profound cry. She felt it on her bones. That was when she understood that he was about to die. She was 12. The rest of the month was a routine of scrubbing his dried skin with a hard brush, to give him some relief. Apply cold cream. Listen to the radio. He fancied to buy one last record, by The Carpenters: "Now and Then". She remembers his favorite tune on it: "This masquerade". "Are we really happy with
This lonely game we play
Looking for the right words to say
Searching but not finding
We're lost in this masquerade"
His funeral mass had a packed church. The coffin was in front of the altar. She was taken there by family friends. Her mother was beside the cofin crying inconsolably. All she would say to everyone was:"Have seen how sad? He was so young..." She told her friends that she was OK. She had cried a lot when he died in the morning, but now she was back to her brave self. She let go of her friend's hand and walked in the aisle towards the coffin. Half way through she stopped. She couldn't do it. She sat on the pews a couple of rows behind. The image of her crying mother never left her. She would remember that when she had to bury her own son. What she didn't realize then was how small a coffin is. From the distance and because of her young age, it looked bigger then. Many years later when she saw her son in one, it looked small, fragile, not much more than a box.