Happy New Year to All

Osmel Almaguer

Happy New Year photo by Irina Echarry

I just had a wonderful New Year’s.  Something happened in my house we hadn’t seen in years.  No, it didn’t have to do with any inheritance, nor did anyone hit the lottery.  I didn’t stumble upon a briefcase full of money, nor did they give my father a trip abroad.  We simply shared it together as a family, and it was great.  For first time there was no arguing; no old quarrels or resentments surfaced.

I admit that I was expecting the worst.  Over the last twenty years, the family has been splintered a lot.  I think the economic situation has been a major influence in this, but also the aging of our parents and grandparents.  Among my generation (and I include my cousins, my sister and myself), none of us have houses of our own, and none of us have had children.  We all know that a house without children lacks joy.

I remember when I was a little boy we would all get together on December 30, that was when the party began.  My father, my uncles and my aunts’ husbands would drink rum and beer, and we would roast a pig.  The women cooked, tried on their new clothes or simply talked among themselves.

What I would do was play, with my cousins and my sister Caridad (the person who takes pictures for Havana Times) but who now is so far away.  I think this was the first time we didn’t have her with us for New Year’s.

The family party, though memorable, also suffered the absence of two of my cousins.  They had been kicked out of the house by their father, my uncle, a kind of villain or black sheep of the family who I’ve written about previously.  My cousins were missed.

Again we enjoyed my grandfather, who this year turns 90, though I think he’s a few years older.  The problem is that in the neighborhood where he lived before 1959, they didn’t keep legal records.  So he himself isn’t even sure about his age, though not out of senility.

I believe that to get along well, each person has to make an effort, and that was exactly what happened.  It turned out that I was the one who acted as the host of the party, thanks to the microphone brought by my uncles, the ones who live in Guanabo.  My grandmother and my father took care of the food, and my mother organized a raffle that was the delight of everyone present.

And to spread happiness, first we should ourselves be happy. May the happiness and best wishes that each one of us needs arrive through this diary post.

osmel

Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.



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