3 - Stories from Galicia 1961 :
by Michael Furstner
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Joseliño's offer of friendship
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An old geology student friend in Leiden (Charley Arps) sent me several
photos today, from my student days I had not seen before. In return he would appreciate
my contribution of a story of our fieldwork days in Galicia (Province in NW Spain) to be included in a
commemorative book for that time. I complied with two brief anecdotes I
remember. One was the story of Maria-Luz I recorded previously in this Blog, the other one I will
relate to you here :
It was in the summer of 1961 that I arrived on my motorbike late in the evening
at the small sardine fishing village of Caión (20km West of La Coruña). It was the
fieldwork base of my (now late) friend and fellow geological student Henk Rijks.
After having deposited my belongs in my hotel
room I went downstairs into the bar for a late drink. I found an empty chair
next to a well known local identity, Joseliño, who besides being a
fisherman, also (as I gathered in due course) was the caretaker of the
Joseliño was an enthusiastic singer with
one of those typical guttural rough flamenco voices, and stimulated by the drinks
I offered him, he sang song after song into my ear.
After a while I got up and walked outside onto the village square to investigate
and sample one of the other several bars on the square. Once seated in one of them it was not
long before Joseliño too arrived, and so the singing and drinking
continued over several hours and in several of the local bars.
It was therefore only natural that Joseliño and I at one point became the
best, no, very best of friends. Joseliño also increasingly felt a need to
repay my generosity in terms of free drinks with an act of great
friendship from his side. And he immediately spotted his opportunity when
I told him that in a few weeks time my sister Wivica would visit me here.
"Miguel," he said to me with a most serious
expression on his face, "I wish your sister of course all
the best for her visit in Spain here with us, but you never know! The food is so
different here, with all that olive oil, not at all what she has been used to.
She may suddenly turn ill here, even very ill, and in a worse case scenario,
Heaven forbid, I dare not think of it, she may even die!!!"
terrible terrible event really to happen, Miguel, my dear friend, rest assured, I
will for you burry your sister in our cemetery for free!!"
Almost 50 years have past since that late night in Caión but I have never in
all my life received a gesture of friendship so unusual and so wonderfully endearing as
Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner