We just heard that one of our oldest friends in the village died last night.
When we first stayed in the village on a visit to Spain, we stayed at the small hotel in town, the Asencio. Quite conveniently, there is a bar just across the way (the Miguelin), which quickly became our local hangout on Friday nights.
There was an older man who owned and ran the bar, named Miguel – at the time, he was 62, fit and healthy. He was a true gentleman, always helpful and pleasant, and corrected our Spanish whenever necessary (i.e. a lot!) He explained the way things worked here, where to buy things, who was related to whom, and so on.
Miguel (we were told) had led a very interesting life. He had worked as a card shark during the Franco years, to earn money to buy and refurbish the bar in the village. He rode a mule down to Malaga to buy a record player for the first disco in town. Despite his lovely manners and gentle nature, he could obviously be tough when need be!
Eventually, Miguel retired and passed on the running of the bar to his son Juanjo, also a good friend of ours. We would still see Miguel sitting at a table at the bar, playing cards with friends. Or watching and cheering passionately for his soccer team, Real Madrid. Or walking along the street with one of the grandchildren. He always spoke to us, and even took the time to get to know our daughter Peggy well.
His type 1 diabetes was well controlled, but caused him problems. He had operations on both feet a few years ago to relieve circulation problems, but seemed to recover well. However, a few days ago, he was admitted to hospital again, and never returned home.
The funeral is tonight – the Spanish bury their dead very quickly, usually the next day. We shall, of course, attend, as will most of the village, I expect.
Apparently today there are 2 funerals and one baptism. It is, as our friend Manuel says “la vida”.