Winter encourages hibernation. It’s as though the neighborhood carefully tucks itself away till spring. But like daffodils and tulips, once it hits, everyone is back out…including me.
I’ve been quite melancholy lately over a number of things nothing seems to help.
I even dragged out all my Anne Lamott books since she’s a sure antidote to the bluest of blues.
Even in the middle of Some Assembly Required, when she writes comically about becoming a young grandmother, my spirits still lag.
But there’s been a break in the clouds.
Who did I see out on the lanai sprawled in the mid-morning sun but Carmela, the basset hound, who due to the cold, hasn’t been around much.
“Carmela, over here…Carm, it’s me, Susannah…wanna a little company?”
She sprung up rushing to the gate, her tail wagging like a pendulum as if to say, “I’d love some…I’ll ring for tea.
I never actually go into the yard. I pet her respectfully through the bars grateful for the length of my arms that can reach all the way to the end of her.
I immediately began singing….the prettiest girl I ever saw…was eight feet long with great big paws…
Just then one of the maids came out with a cup of something (wow, she really did ring for tea) beckoning me to come in. I hesitated at first not wanting to intrude, but realized, I needed a little companionship in a cup, if you will. Carmela, the best hostess on four legs, jumped up pushing me into the sunny kitchen.
Once again English was at large and with the exception of…have a nos day…my Spanish isn’t quite up to snuff, or sniff, since Carmela smelled me from head to toe.
No one was there but me and Lupe who was very kind to me. She brought out scones, fresh from the oven, buttering one motioning for me to eat.
Carmela and I shared since she was lying across my feet like a speckled area rug while Lupe sat across from us smiling. How does she know I’m so sad, I wonder.
Hmm, I thought, I feel something coming.
Sure enough she reached for my palm examining it with great expertise.
“Ah,” she said, shaking her head, beginning a litany in Spanish that made my heart pound.
“No Espanol,” I said, with obvious regret.
“Woof,” said Carmela, like she could really translate.
Lupe then got up and brought me another scone. I decided she must have seen a scale in my future because she then gave me some chicken on a flowered plate Carmela seemed particularly thrilled about.
I’ve never been in a situation before when I couldn’t communicate, providing you don’t count my hearing when it feels as though I’m in a beehive while the world chatters on.
Our faces though spoke to one another. I could see how incredibly sweet she is not just because of her treatment towards me, but the way she treats Carmela who clearly adores her.
I sat for another twenty minutes or so, eating and drinking while Lupe and Carmela watched making me feel like a five-year-old.
After a third cup of tea I got up to leave.
“Muchas gracias,” I said, not quite sure that was right.
Italian and Spanish can be close, grazie mille meaning many thanks in Italian.
After kissing Carmela too many times, I headed out the door.
They stood in the doorway, Lupe smiling, Carm wiggling, when suddenly I turned to blow them both a kiss.
Something, I knew, needed no translation.