Chapter 3… The Chinandegan magpies
“This will give you an idea, of what life was like back then, when I was growing up! I would walk from my house to a store, called ‘Hope Store’ (La Esperanza). The owner, doña Lencha sold all the available candies in the world. Well this store was maybe, eighty yards away from the house. To get there, first of all, I had to pass the carpenter´s shop, which was right next door. I would say hello to Master Alfredo, the carpenter and owner, and also his three assistants, for starters. But if he had customers in the shop, then I would have to say hello to everyone, shoot the breeze for a few minutes, spread some gossip around and surely swap a round of the latest jokes, at least. That would have been considered proper manners.
“Now, this was the critical part. If it was after lunch-time, by then, as God is my witness, the magpies would be out, sitting in the shade!”
“The magpies, I didn´t know there were magpies in Chinandega, Grandfather.”
“Yep, the magpies: doña Clarissa, who had more hairs on her legs than any of us; doña Refugio, who had the largest mustache I´ve seen in my life! All the guys envied her. And last, but certainly not the least, for I never understood how she could pack it all in such a small chair, was doña Sagrario. She was always dressed in black since the mythological day that her chimerical husband died, supposedly after their assumed wedding!
“They spent the days in their white plaited wicker rocking chairs (the white thrones for the three Dark Queens of the Sidewalk). To get by them, you had to pay.”
“They made you pay just to walk by, that was very mean of them. They were like witches, Gramps!”
“Trolls hon. The word you’re looking for is trolls. It was just like in the fairy tales. Remember how to pass the bridge, the hero has to pay the trolls?”
“Wow, sounds like it was scary when you were a kid.”