SHE came to visit me even before my own parents, right back in those original days in 1971. She was a neighbour, one of my mother’s best friends made even tighter by their bondage to the church (Methodists) of doing good work for the community.
Being the mother of an international pilot she received incredibly inexpensive flights and used them. She travelled constantly and became quite the fashionable personage about town (back in Iowa, USA) for her worldly observances and travel commentary.
When her letter arrived announcing her visit, just two days before she arrived, my brother and I were totally dumbfounded about how to entertain her. She was travelling alone which put the onus for her vacation fun totally upon us. Her husband worked in the same office as my father. Their oldest boy, now a pilot, was the one that put Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper on the chartered plane that fateful night back in 1959.
In my youth as I remembered her, she was mother to my best friend, second son Jimmy. She was so soft spoken that when she shouted you couldn’t hear her.
Under such difficult circumstances we decided to feign being unusually busy and put her in the Parador down the road. We formed a pact, one would take her around in the mornings and the other in the afternoons and dinner. We had just 72 hours to suffer the delicate problem. But, we were both worried, damn frightened in fact. Wife Karen was our secret weapon.
We took her to the caves in Cuevas, over to Aguilas and along the coast before the road was built. A morning outing to Carboneras and Agua Amarga. We took her everywhere that had more than three houses together. She was kept constantly on the move in a whirling pretence so she could return home and at least report to our mother that we had made gargantuan efforts to entertain her. She was gleefully entranced by all she saw and rarely spoke a word. She nodded frequently and finally whispered endlessly “Oh my, oh my.”
We saved the best for last. A morning in Mojacar’s town square watching the locals come and go along with the resident hippies appearing intermittently sashaying their way around. She observed bug eyed and mumbled: “Oh my, oh my.” Nothing like that had obviously made it to Iowa… yet.
It was on her last day that she finally spoke in audible sounds; “Rickey, what do they pay those folk to ride about on those donkeys? Do they get paid by the hour? And who directs them, telling them when to arrive and go?”
I couldn’t believe my ears, I heard her. I was dumbfounded. When I finally broke my silence all I could say was “Oh my, oh my.” No one heard me. I was grateful.
Our visitor from Iowa left that afternoon with glowing reports I am told. (Chorus: my oh my) Goodbye.