A passion for life

When he looked back, in retrospective, he felt his life had not been in vain.

Puente sobre del río Stratford-upon-Avon. U
Bridge over the river
Stratford-upon-Avon. UK

The young woman was quiet for a spell, pondering the question, while he smiled with a mischievous grin on his face.

“I wouldn’t dare say, Sir John. Perhaps, he tired of cleaning them and sold them all off?”, she answered in a doubtful voice.

Sadly smiling, he answered:

“Three hundred and forty-three, not one less, nor one more! He never sold, exchanged or bought any one of the bloody coins. Ironically, grandfather was ever so fond of wealth. I dare say that the least valuable of them all, was worth a handsome income. Now you tell me, what kind of a collector would ever behave in that fashion?”

Caminando las calles Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Walking the streets
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

“When I began to go to school in Stratford, I had a collection of glass-marbles. I loved those little glass wonders. Every single one of them! I was willing to trade off the most common ones, the repeats, for that rare marble, for that beautiful marble that I had to have, at whatever cost!”

“A real collector has this drive to watch his collection grow, to turn it into the best compilation he is capable of achieving. For, in the end, he is immensely proud of his treasure and longs to see it thrive.  He will be most willing to display it to the rest of the world so that in turn, it may be admired by all. The perpetual longing that afflicts his soul resides in his blood.”

Vista del río Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
View of the river
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

“Possession, my dear Alicia, without that enthusiasm and unrelenting passion is merely empty custody and guardianship of a group of inert and lifeless objects, and that, my dear, is as worthless as his collection! What a shameful and tremendous waste….” “

“The good news is… when my father inherited the coins, each one had been so thoroughly cleaned and was as shiny as the most beautiful ray of dazzling light”

La entrada Stratford-upon-Avon
The North House


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They start to kiss you!

Chapter 3… The Chinandegan magpies

The fishermen Granada, Nicaragua
The fishermen
Granada, Nicaragua

“Thank you very much, I´m sure I am all that and so much more,” he added with a mischievous smile, “you’ll place them right in your pocket, and you can keep them there too; but, allow me to enlighten you: in this valley of tears, there are no free lunches, no sir, nothing, my dear, nothing comes for free.”

“Whatever are you talking about, Grandfather?”

“Honey chile, they´ll be so pleased with you that they will want to pull your cheeks with pleasure, mark my prophetic words of wisdom! But the worst of it all…the most infamous thing that can cruelly be done to an innocent child, like I was once upon a time is… you know what I´m talking about?” he innocently asked wearing his favorite poker face.

“They start to kiss you! Oh yes!” At this point he began to get carried away as he raised the volume of his voice. “With lips crammed with sticky, gooey, fire-man red lipstick, they will kiss you on the cheek, if you’re not careful, on the forehead too! Just in case that’s not enough, they will lick a finger and then wipe you, or smear it all over your cheek, like Aunt Sagrario loved to do. You’ll walk off there with your face painted like a Navajo warrior in the middle of a steaming Nicaraguan tropical day. Your friends will cry themselves to an early grave, and you´ll have nowhere to hide!”


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A shiny collection of antique coins

In the comfort of his daily routines, he found the subterfuge to avoid thinking…

El salón de té Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
The tea parlor
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

“During the trip, I had the opportunity to observe the early, morning, before-breakfast rituals… it is no wonder that my grandmother scarcely talked! What can you say to a person like that?”

“John Henry, my dearest Alice, inherited a collection of remarkably rare and valuable coins when his father passed away. Three hundred and forty-three antique coins to be more precise. In the afternoons after tea, he would wash his hands as if he were a surgeon preparing for the operating room. Once his hands were immaculate and faultlessly clean, then grandfather would take the coins out, one by one.”

Las calles del pueblo Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
The town’s streets
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

“Immediately after, he would clean each one, scrupulously and meticulously, and then, he would immediately put them away, each of them carefully placed each in a separate, little felt bag until the next afternoon. Now I ask you, how could they possibly need daily cleaning if he didn’t allow them to be handled at any other time or by any other person?”

“Meanwhile, in that rarely broken silence in the room, the soft beating of grandmother’s knitting needles was faintly heard, occasionally interrupted by grandfather’s knee-jerking grunts and vibrant groans. When he died, how many coins do you guess my father inherited?”

El Río Avon Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
The Avon River
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

He continued abruptly, not allowing her to answer, his eyes shining with excitement.  “I´ll provide you with a clue that will help you decipher this enigmatic question. Less than half were one-of-a-kind.  All the other coins were not unique, you see?

Té sobre el río Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Tea at the river
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK


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Grandfather’s great Sunday adventures

Who would be the daring enough to boldly modify his routine, ready to risk all and try something new in their life

Las calles de la ciudad ciudad de Londres, UK
The city streets
London City, UK

“Ten minutes after finishing such an extraordinary breakfast, he would go for a stroll, no matter the climate. He walked ten blocks to the North until he reached the train-tracks. Without stopping, he turned West and walked five more blocks, following the tracks.”

“When he arrived, at that point, he rested for two minutes on the dot. Replenished from his efforts, he began walking back. First, he strolled ten blocks south, of course, finally bearing East to arrive back at home in exactly twenty-two minutes, not twenty-one, and of course, never twenty-three.”

Las fachadas ciudad de Londres, UK
London City, UK

“On the other weekdays (to be precise, on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays), he also had two eggs for breakfast. They were boiled for two minutes, measured by the black grains of another sand-clock. Instead of bread, he would then eat two crackers with butter but no jam.”

“He would go out for a walk as well, but he inverted the direction and began by heading West and then North. He arrived back home in exactly twenty-two minutes, no more and no less.”

Vistas de las calles ciudad de Londres, UK
Street view
London City, UK

“The greatest adventures of his life, he reserved for Sundays. On those remarkable days, he had two sunny-side-up eggs with ham. Surprisingly, he drank coffee instead of tea, which might be considered preposterous, but understandable. As it happens, my great-grandmother, who grew up on the continent, loved her coffee in the mornings, or so they said. So, in a way, my grandfather was replicating a ritual acquired when he was a boy, without a thought on how unconventionally he was behaving.”

La rueda de la fortuna ciudad de Londres, UK
The merry-go-round
London City, UK


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