Lunch With Jose

I left a message Saturday night with Jose. I told them to let him know I would be coming by Sunday for lunch. My youngest son and I went to a Cuban restaurant to pick up something nice for Jose. I picked up an assortment of pastries and croquettes and a couple of bottles of “Malta”. (It’s a soda type of beverage)

My son was a handful and all he wanted to do was run around. Having worked in a nursing home (10 years ago) I was totally freaked out by this. Doesn’t he KNOW what spills on these floors! Uh, no…he’s two…why would he know. OK, OK, so I couldn’t get Jose out to the patio fast enough. Jose looked the same. Lanky and happy to have someone to talk to. My son was fascinated with his wheelchair but soon took to playing in the grass while we talked. Between bites of food Jose told me little stories of his time in Brazil. I gather that his father was not around much. Apparently his job took him to some other town and he would return on weekends. He and his mother were close though.

I told Jose that I recently had taken all my Purple Martin housing down, as season is over. I asked him if he did the same. “Yes, for quite some time” he said, “But little by little the body gets lazy and the mind gets tired, then I started leaving it up. The rain was hard on the would, though. It was cheap wood.” Jose had told me on an earlier visit that he would use wooden pallets and take them apart to pirate the wood for Purple Martin houses. I asked if he pre-built nests for the Martins. “Oh sure, sure. I would use a lot of palm trees.” You mean pine trees? (Typical nests down here are made of pine straw) I asked. “No, Palm trees. I cut up the fronds after the tree drops them, like so.” He motioned with his fingers a distance of about 5 inches. “They like that alright. Sometimes, you know, they change it. Most times they like it fine. They add the leaves and I change out after they all done with the babies.” Wouldn’t the fronds get wet and soggy? I asked “Nah, its a bird. It’s no brain surgery. They like it fine.” I asked him what was the earliest that he would get the Purple Martins back and he said, “I always have everything up and ready before 3 Kings day.” (January 7-I think) “But they came earlier than that quite a few times. I think New Years one year was earliest…Sometime in 1968, or something. Long time ago. My mind gets tired you know.” With that he polished off his 8th croquette.

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