Por Safíe M. Gonzalez
HAVANA TIMES – These Christmas holidays will be very sad for my family. At the beginning of the year, my maternal grandfather passed away at 90 years old, falling victim to prostate cancer.
My father suggested putting up the Christmas tree at some point, which we would normally stick up every year. However, the sadness of my grandfather’s absence, plus the bitter aftertaste 2020 has left us, has stopped us from feeling happy at this time of year.
A few nights ago, Christmas came up at the time the family gets together to eat and tell each other about their day. I remembered the wonderful stories my grandfather would tell me and his longing for those celebrations I never experienced firsthand. His face would light up talking about the lights, presents and sweets.
Everybody would get excited, but it’s been many years now that December 25th and the New Year haven’t been such big events.
Especially this year, which I believe will be the worst holidays of my life. I remember when I was a little girl and we used to live in the countryside, that we never had a Christmas with such shortages, even in the Special Period crisis. It was tough times, but now people are disappointed and can’t find a way to at least welcome the new year in properly.
The Cuban tradition is to eat pork, rice and beans, cassava with garlic mojo sauce and salad. However, I think very few will be able to enjoy our typical Christmas dinner this year. People who like to enjoy the meal with beer will find it practically impossible to get a hold of. Unless they find it above retail price or buy it the dollar only markets.
I’ve been thinking about my grandfather a lot recently. I picture his smiling face, as he remembered his years as a boy, and his happiness at this time of year.
I can also picture his disappointed face if he were still alive, longing to eat a piece of Jijona turron, which you can’t find even at “spiritual centers”. And saying, over and over again, “I should have taken that job proposal abroad I was offered.”