Monday, December 17, 2012

Se Sentanemililis Revisited

Members of Se Sentanemililis with Elena Poniatowska
 Queridos amigos,

At the end of January 2012, I posted Se Sentanemililis (One Sole Thought) in my blog.  
The post told of a library project I am involved with in a small Nahuatl village in the Sierra Norte of Puebla. Nearly a year has transpired, I am now back in Mexico, and I am very pleased to report that the project is well off the ground and flourishing. The library was officially inaugurated in mid October of this year. The group was honored to have one of Mexico's most venerated authors, Elena Poniatowska, present for the ceremony. (http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Elena_Poniatowska)
 Gaudel Reyes & Elena, with group members
Elena, a long time advocate and supporter of the disenfranchised, has been a strong supporter of the project from the beginning, and she graciously accepted the youth's invitation to be the guest of honor for the inauguration.
The project has been initiated and developed through the determination and hard work of twenty young people from the pueblo. Gaudel Reyes (in blue shirt), a community member now studying human rights law in Puebla, has been one of the leaders of the project. 

Dance group members after inauguration performance

Gaudel asked me to share the following information with you:
• The library is open six days a week from 1:00 to 7:00 pm
•It now contains more than 2000 books
• 20-25 children a day come to the library to do homework and to research projects for school.
• The first literacy event was held in November with 22 children participating.
• The first week after the October inauguration,150 people visited the library.
The Ayotzinapan Community Library

There are many very worthwhile and valuable projects that need support from others to be successful and grow. This is, without doubt, one of them. If any of you are able and would like to make a gift that will make a difference in people's lives, please follow the steps below:
• Send a check payable to Dick Keis with the words One Sole Thought Project in the memo line.
• Mail it to my daughter, Quena Keis:
2076 Lincoln St #1  Eugene, OR. 97405
She will deposit it in the account.
• You can e-mail me ( informing me that you sent a check, and Quena or I can get back to you confirming that the check arrived. It would be good to have e-mail addresses of donors so we can update you as to the progress of the library.
I can draw money directly from that account in pesos without paying any transfer or exchange fees, so 100% of all  donations will go directly to the project.
Last February we raised over $1500 for the project. This enabled the children to finish the construction of the building, get bookshelves, pay someone to be responsible for the operation of the library and  have one cultural event in the new library.
Youth of Se Sentanemililis with Elena

Any funds raised now will be used for cultural and literacy events in the library. The plan is to have one event per month. Workshop presenters will volunteer their time, and Se Sentanemililis will cover transportation costs to Ayotzinapan. Two hotels in Cuetzalan, a pueblo a half an hour away, will offer free lodging to workshop presenters and artists.
I will do a community writing workshop in February. The estimated cost of one event is 1300 pesos ($100 US). If we can raise $1200, it will provide for one event per month. Donors will be kept informed of how the funds are used. In hopes of long term sustainability, the group is seeking donors who will make annual contributions. If you are interested in doing this, they will send a reminder e-mail each year. However, they will gladly accept a one time donation. 

The following letter was sent to donors earlier this summer:
The youth, the indigenous boys and girls of the Se Sentanemililis Organization, send you a cordial greeting, hoping that all goes well for you. At the same time, we take advantage of this letter to express our sincerest thanks for your confidence and support for our educational project. Please know that your support will significantly affect each and every one of the inhabitants of our communities.We will make sure that you receive word of the progress that we make in the project, and be assured, we will not lose this link that we have created.
Inauguration dinner

Se Sentanemililis A.C
¡Muchas gracias!                Thank you very much!

Ayotzinapan, Cuetzalan, Puebla
Orange crate book shelves

Niños de Se Sentanemililis

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Southward Migration

The winter has arrived in Le Lot and this morning I awoke to snow falling wetly from the sky. Since I was wearing most of the clothes that I brought with me and was still cold, I decided it was time to load up my new van in preparation for my southward migration. Much to my dismay, I was informed that December is a very dangerous time to try to round Cape Horn in a van. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with a train ticket to Bordeaux and a plane ticket to Mexico City via Paris. I had to leave a few things at friends' houses here to get down to my one suitcase limit, but I did it! So tomorrow, December 3rd, I join the geese and head south.

But before I leave, I want to recap some of the highlights of my sejour in France and thank my dear friends who put me up (or put up with me) for two months. Since I am still unpacking my van and packing my suitcase, I have to keep this post short. I may rely more on photos to tell this story.

My stay here began and ended in Cazals, in le Lot at my friend Carmel's house. I must say, she has the nicest house in the village! My little apartment was cozy and comfortable, and I spent a good deal of time with her and Peter talking, laughing, sampling some of the fine vintages of the region, and enjoying tasty dinners together in the evening. I also spent some time at the new house that Peter built.
It is a work of art, very earth friendly and modern in style, and the view from the terrace is breathtaking! I will be anxious to see it when it is done and being lived in when I return in April.

My time in Villeneuve-Lez-Avignon was also a gift of friendship. Besides discovering my true identity as Duke Deek IV (previous posting) I also got a unique insight into Rue des Greniers, where my friend Helene lives. I was immediately included into a fine circle of friends who knew how to enjoy life.
Robert and Helene Live at the Chartreuse!!
My encounter with Robert Zurbach was a privilege. Not only did he share his true heroic story of WWII with me, but i also got to hear his incredible tenor voice resounding off the walls of the chapel in the cloister of Le Charteuse. Helene joined him and I was witness to a rare live concert that would have pleased Pope Innocent himself.

Le Chateau, our home in Goult
Our excursions lead us back in time to Goult, where we lived for two years from 1991-92. We had lunch at the Bistro de France, a turn of the century, family run restaurant, that was an experience in itself to dine in. And we had dinner with friends  that made my stay there very special.
Barman at Le bistro de France
Bernard, Francoise, Christiane, Helene et moi

As I prepare to leave for the warm, sunny land further south, I do so with much gratitude to these dear friends who have made me feel so comfortable and welcome in their homes. I never take for granted the wonderful friends that I have north and south, east and west. They give meaning to life and fill it with joy. Merci a tous!

View of the valley from Peter's place

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sheikh Deek en Afrique

Sheikh Deek in his palace in Fez              Foto Joa Keis
One of the many advantages of being unstuck in time is the freedom to ricochet geographically from place to place at will, in my case from France to Morocco. Another is the possibility to experience very distinct historical time periods simultaneously as I did recently in at the Necropolis de Chellah in Rabat, Morocco. I was standing in the center of a necropolis that included Roman ruins dating back to the time of Christ and Moorish structures built by Sultan Abu al-Hassan in the 1300's. They existed side by side and were surrounded by the the modern world of 2012 where cell phones and satellite dishes dominate the terrain. Such random time travel is extremely complex and requires multiple identities in order to be "culturally correct", hence the addition of my new title as "Sheikh Deek". 

Olive stall in souk - foto Joa Keis
My son Joa had a week of R&R from his Save the Children post in Mali, and we chose Morocco as a convenient halfway rendez-vous point. After meeting up in Casablanca early the morning of November 10th, we took a train directly to Meknes where we had a reservation at a friend's guest house, Dar Zidane. Andre and Khadija were our gracious hosts and despite a rainy first two days, we were able to eat very well (Khadija had a Moroccan restaurant in Lyon before returning to Meknes) and André took us to the medina there to visit some ancient sites and wander through the souk (market) at dusk. The souk was full of activity and delightful things to eat and wear. 
Meknes marketplace at dusk
There was color everywhere, and the unfamiliar bantering of Arabic added even more to the experience. It had been a long time since I had been in a culture so different and with a language I could not understand. It is good to feel uncomfortable at times, to feel helpless and dependent on others. It reminds you what it is like to be a stranger in an strange land. Since most people spoke French or English, communication was not a huge problem, but the excited Arabic syllables bouncing of the earthen walls of the medina, and the Islamic call to prayer echoing through the narrow alleyways, left no doubt that I was a guest in a foreign culture.
Fez Medina before the arrival of the tourists

Our next destination was Fez, a UNESCO World Heritage Center and site of the largest medina in the western world. It was founded by the Idrisid dynasty between 789 and 808 A.D and is over 920 square acres and has more than 9,600 small, winding streets that create a medieval labyrinth that completely disorients you in a matter of minutes.God forbid the local youth detect your lostness, because once they notice, you are fair game. It will cost you to get back home, and if you do not accept their help, you will still be wandering around helplessly in 3012!
Fez Medina after Lonely Planet and Guide des Routards ratings

Our lodging in Fez was nothing short of majestic. This trip was on Joa, and he decided to treat his Papito royally. The thought of getting his own harem did, however, cross his mind. The Riad Dar Zeffarine was a living museum with intricate Moorish motifs and Islamic designs that boggle the mind. The terrace on the rooftop overlooked the entire medina, and sunrise and sunset were truly magnificent. An abode fit for  a sultan, or a sheikh for that matter.
Deek waiting for the prophet to speak

After paying out a good portion of our travel allowance to the street youth who helped get us back home to Dar Zeffarine every night, we decided it best to move on to a less maze-like setting. So we set off for Rabat on train for the final few days of Joa's stay in Maroc. It was a good choice, a combination of the very old and the very modern. The medina there was less impressive visually than Fez, but it was frequented by the locals who did their shopping there and shopkeepers were not high pressured or aggressive as they often were in Fez. We roamed the souk peacefully,visited the colorful blue village of the Kasbah des Oudaias and enjoyed a brilliant sunset on Rabat Beach where Joa surfed that day. We even found a few places to have a cold beer, not an easy thing to find in Morocco!
Sunset on Rabat Beach

Joa in the Kasbah
Our last day together was a trip to the Necropolis de Chellah, mentioned at the beginning of this post. The beauty of the place was breathtaking, even under the heavy rain that intermittently drove us to seek shelter where ever we could find it.
Fortress walls - La Chellah, Rabat
Walls in the Chellah
And as many good things come to pass, so did this one. Joa boarded the train to Casablanca to catch his flight back to Mali, and I caught a train in the opposite direction back to Meknes to spend a few more days at Dar Zidane with André and Khadija before my return to France. It was a wonderful reunion, one that I will never forget. Merci Joa!! We will do it again soon in some new and exciting place, Inshallah.
Sudanese street musician

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Narrow Escape

 Descending to La Chatreuse, August 8, 1944
As I was plummeting back through time to Fort Saint André to mediate the battle between the French and the Holy Roman Empire (see previous entry), the mistral unexpectedly let up, and I parachuted precariously down into the courtyard of La Chartreuse. It was August 8, 1944, and yet another battle was raging. WWII was peaking in Europe, and Villeneuve-lez-Avignon, as many other towns in France, was occupied by German forces. What I observed here was a piece of the history of which few are aware. The Allied forces were preparing to launch Operation Dragoon to liberate the south of France. An American plane sent to destroy bridges and rail lines along the Rhone River was hit by German artillery above Villeneuve, splitting the plane in half and killing most of the crew. There were two survivors. One, Louis Capawana, parachuted from the plane and, much like me, came down right in the courtyard of La Chartreuse. The second survivor, R.S Hirsh, landed in a field just outside the cloister and was rescued by members of the French Resistance. Unfortunately Capawana's parachute got tangled on a chimney, and he was stuck in mid air, unable to free himself. The Germans had spotted the two men coming down and were in full pursuit as soon as the air raid sirens stopped. Both men's lives were in great danger.
Area where Capawana's parachute got stuck

But the Germans were not the only ones who had spotted Capawana and Hirsh descending toward Villeveuve. Seventeen year old Robert Zurbach, who was in an air raid shelter in the Fort Saint André at the time, and members of the the French Resistance (Maquis), had also spotted them. Robert and a few friends courageously ran back to La Chartreuse and found Capawana suspended from the roof with his feet on a window ledge, unable to undo his harness. They hurried to the window and managed to free him and bring him inside one of the cells. By then the Germans were hot on his trail. Robert and friends took Capawana to another cell occupied by a family with a young daughter. They changed his American uniform for a pair of French blue work overalls. To cover his true identity, they then put their daughter in his arms to make him look like her father, and rushed him to a back exit of La Chatreuse where he was smuggled off to Apt by members of the French Resistance. Both Capawana and Hirsh were later safely reunited with their American unit in Corsica.
In 1998, fifty four years after being rescued the French Resistance in the field outside La Chartreuse, R.S Hirsh, the only remaining survivor, came back to Villeneuve and was reunited with Robert and the other rescuers.
Robert visiting the Chartreuse 2012

 Robert Zurbach is now 85 years old and still lives within the ramparts of La Chartreuse, right down the street from my friend, Helene, on Rue des Greniers. He has his own home, simple but comfortable, and a plot of land nearby with a vegetable garden and 21 olive trees which he cares for with love. 

In this day and age, it is hard to imagine someone like Robert who still lives only a few hundred meters from the place he was born and raised. Perhaps it is the thick, stone walls of the ramparts that gave him protection so long ago that still give him comfort today. Or it might be the delicious olive oil that he presses from his olive trees down the road. But he seems perfectly happy with his life, and fondly remembers that August 8, 1944, when an American, just like me, fell from the sky and landed in his front yard.

Robert telling his story - Foto Helene Thevenet
In 1944, no monks lived in the La Chartreuse. After the French Revolution in 1789 the land was expropriated and given over to the people of France. La Chartreuse became a haven for those who had nowhere else to live. Robert and his grandparents were among those living there in 1944 when this event occurred. On November 4, 2012, My friend Helene and I took Robert back to the place that he spent the first twenty one years of his life. He had not been back inside since 1995, as it now costs 7 Euros to enter the historic monument. When we explained Robert's story, they gave him free entry for the remainder of his life. It was a pleasure to see his reaction to his return "back home", and to hear the amazing stories that being there brought back to mind. Strange how even war can bring back fond memories.
Robert's childhood home in La Chartreuse
Ft. St. André as viewed from La Chartreuse

Monday, October 29, 2012

Unstuck in Time

Le Fort Saint-André - Villeneuve-lez-Avignon
Like Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim, I have become  unstuck in time, randomly experiencing the events of my trip with no idea of what part I will visit or re-live next. I have taken this blog from Carmel's house in the Lot to Helene's house in Villeneuve-lez-Avignon in one giant leap, without a chronological transition. I have time traveled from the 21st century to the 13th, from 2012 to 1991, all in the blink of an eye. It is as if the mistral, which is blowing wildly today, has whisked me through time and space in an Alice in Wonderlandish fashion.
Le Chartreuse -Villeneuve-lez-Avignon

As I write, I feel as if I am looking out from the covers of a hand bound, medieval book written in  one of the small cells of Le Chartreuse, an ancient Carthusian monastery built by Pope Innocent IV in the late 1300s. Today it is a historical monument, and the 40 small monastic cells are reserved for writers and artists in residence. As fate would have it, I have my own little writing space in the  Chartreuse without going through the stiff, selection process! Our friend, Helene, lives inside the walls of the Chartreuse in what used to be a granary. It is a very narrow, deep, and high house, attached to the seven others that make up Rue des Greniers. Her bedroom looks out onto one of the gardens in the cloistered monastery, and mine looks out on Rue des Greniers with Fort Saint-André off to my left. The Fort was built in the 1200s to defend France from the forces of the invading Holy Roman Empire. You can feel the history in those walls, almost hear the frantic voices and the clinking of armor as the battles raged. At night, when no one is looking, I put on my paper knight's helmet and cardboard sword, and take my rightful place in Villeneuve as Duke Deek IV! Thus far I have not been wounded nor I have injured anyone else. I am considering starting the Order of Pacifist Knights Templar, an organization that could rewrite the history of the crusades! While we were living in France in the early 90s, we visited the fort with Joa and Quena. As any good parents would, we tried to make it a educational experience for our kids, sharing what we knew about the Middle Ages in the south of France. It backfired a bit with Quena, however. There are holes in the side of the rampart walls which, we explained, served as latrines for the soldiers stationed there. No plumbing, just a straight drop about 100 feet down to the earth below. Quena was scared half to death, and would not go anywhere near them, fearing that she would either contract the plague or fall many meters to a very unpleasant death on the stained rocks below. Another child marked for life by the good intentions of her parents.

A poem of a house
Marie & Helene "decompressing"
Villeneuve was one of Marie's favorite places in Provence. She loved Helene's house and the medieval village that surrounded it. It was here that she would come to "decompress" after her sketching workshops in La Coste or Pont St. Esprit. Her sketch to the left calls it "un vrai poeme la maison" (a true poem of a house). And it is, its pale blue door and shutters contrasting against the azure blue sky and verdant green of the vine shading the entryway. Marie would sit against the wall directly opposite Helene's house and sketch whatever caught her eye at the moment. There was so much color, so much history, so much beauty, it was hard to stop sketching! I apologize, Marie, these scans do  them no justice, but they do help tell the story.
"I want to feel it all, capture everything"
La Ferme de l'Avellan - Lacoste
And there is a story to tell. Being back in Provence again has unleashed a myriad of memories and nostalgic feelings. It was here in the early 90s that Marie wrote her first book, Les Quatres Saisons en Provence. It was here that the idea for her sketching workshops was conceived and where she fearlessly organized her first one in Lacoste, not knowing what to expect. Provence was the beginning of "un nouveau chemin" for Marie, one that changed her life and mine. The years pass, but the memories do not fade. They are sketched in my mind in permanent ink, moments captured spontaneously that are so vivid and colorful they can only get better. Like the soft blue shutters and doors of Provence, they only become warmer with age.

The mistral continues to blow relentlessly through the narrow streets of Le Chartreuse. In the distance I hear the bugle calling from the Fort Saint-André. That can only mean another attack in progress, time for Duke Deek to don his paper helmet and cardboard sword and try to pacify the combatants.
A duke's work is never done. Goodbye 21st century, the mistral has caught me once again. More later (I hope!)             Duke Deek IV

Whoa! Was that a white rabbit I just saw flying past me in this tunnel?

Monday, October 22, 2012

A New Road to Travel

Deux chevaux, my dream car in France
After a fruitful and memorable summer 2012, I have decided to Move on a bit further down the road. I left Oregon on October 5th with my first stop being Paris, France, home of Lance Armstrong’s infamous Tour de France doping scandal. Luckily, I did not wear my US Postal Service cycling jersey as I had intended before leaving Oregon. Instead I stuck a pack on unfiltered Gauloises cigarettes in my shirt pocket, wrapped a silk, lavender scarf around my neck, flashed my French passport, and passed customs without notice. One can never be too careful when it comes to preserving national integrity. (see link below)

Deek frolicking in le Jardin du Luxembourg
 I arrived in Paris too late to catch the train to my friend Carmel’s house, so I spent the night at the Hotel Sunny, a clean two star hotel on Boulevard du Port Royal on the edge of the Quartier Latin, close to the metro St. Michel. Marie and I rarely stopped in Paris, opting to “bite the bullet” and take the train directly to Brittany.  But I love exploring Paris, and this trip gave me one night and a full morning to wander around and absorb what I could. Le Boulevard du Port Royal is full of small cafes and restaurants, and even though dining by myself is not one of my favorite things, I decided I must do it for the sake of those friends who might read this blog. How could I hope to have any credibility with my readers if I did not indulge a bit in the culinary delights that France has to offer? Besides, indulging is something I do quite well! The things that a person will do for friends! That night I came across a small Lebanese restaurant on Rue St. Marcel where I had a plate of eight different Lebanese delights, a glass of tasty red wine (filled to the brim the way I like it), a plate of warm pita bread, a double serving of baklava, and un petit cafe express, for twelve Euros! My stay in France is already worth the trip! Anything from here on out is frosting on the cake.
 The next morning I headed off to le Jardin du Luxembourg, a beautiful, green space in the center of Paris where I spent a few hours frolicking and sketching. It was a gray, autumn day, and I decided to thank Marie for opening the door of France to me by doing a sketch in her honor. Being true to her belief that sketching is not about producing beautiful drawings, but about capturing a moment, this is what I did that morning. 
Chez Carmel, Cazals, le Lot
Later that afternoon I boarded the train in le Gare d'Austerlitz with destination Gourdon, the nearest stop to Carmel's place in Cazals. And Voila! that is where this posting stops, pulling up in front of Carmel's house in anticipation of an apero of good French wine, creamy goat cheese on a fresh baguette, and some fine conversation with a dear friend. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wrapping Up, Winding Down

Ritual a Quetzacoátl Fireworks
 There are less than two weeks before my return to Oregon, and I am feeling that strange, happy-sad feeling that comes with departures and homecomings. After six months here, Cholula feels like home. It may lack the "pueblo magico" luster of places like Oaxaca, but it has it own charm, its own "realness". It has that duality that Marie wrote about so frequently in her sketchbooks: opulence and poverty, beauty and ugliness, side by side. Being alone here has had it definite advantages, I became part of the local landscape, another known passerby that street dogs can ignore, another pair of shoes to shine in the zocalo. That in itself, is reason to be here. So what is it I like best about Cholula? It is:
• The turkey, Hortensia, at my front door daily, leaving droppings of friendship
Hortensia's morning visit
• Bicycles built for one, carrying four
¡Te quiero, mi amor!
• Young lovers embracing on park benches, zocalo grass, at bus stops, ahhh to be young again!
• Pregnant women, round-bellied and beautiful, pushing baby carriage down the street (ex park benchers!)
• Cohetes (frighteningly loud fireworks), endless cohetes, celebrating life in Mexico
• Pyro-technique displays in church courtyards without fire regulations to ruin the fun
Ritual a Quetzacoatl
• Church bells ringing out synchronized percussion symphonies
• Clowns proving that laughter is the best medicine
• Processions through the streets accompanied by a brass band
• Aztec dancers, motionless mimes, and voladores de Papantla on Sunday afternoons near la piramide
• Ice cold Negra Modelos, bien preparadas con sal y limón, not to mention las tequilitas, Yummmmm,
No comment
• Multitudes of street vendors offering everything from watches and toothpaste to corn on the cob with mayonnaise and chile, and
•  Culture everywhere, constant reminders that we are the latecomers here, following in sacred footsteps. These are a few of my favorite things, things that I will miss dearly upon my return.
 So as the days tick away, I start to wrap up the projects I have been involved in. I finished the Illustrated Journals workshop at Project Iskali last week. I was very nervous about doing this as it was Marie's specialty, but it turned out great. Once I gave the group their sketchbooks and made materials available, they took off on their own, enjoying an opportunity to play that most never had before.
Project Iskali artists
Ethno-botanical garden
It was a nice mix of ages, and everyone approached it with the innocence of primary school children with unique life experiences to express. We were even able to take two excursions to sketch outside the neighborhood, a rather dusty, dismal area without a park or playground nearby. The trip to the Ethno-botanical garden in San Andrés was a big hit, and Marie would have loved every pencil stroke of it! It was a very rewarding experience, one that I will not hesitate to try again.
I also went back to Ayotzinapan, the library project in the Sierra Norte de Puebla. I delivered over $1200 US to the group, money that you all so generously donated.The money will go to buy more fruit crates to use as book shelves, put a door on the library, and hire someone to staff the library for as long as the money will take them. We also brought a good number of donated books, some from people who live in Puebla, and others that were sent form the States. The group was very grateful, and a communication to donors is in the making as I write.
Se Sentanemililis readers
Since my projects have come to an end now, I have found more time to write. I have been trying to combine my words with Marie's sketches, a very experimental process. I recently received an e-mail meant for Marie from Ana, a young Mixe (indigenous group in Oaxaca) woman that Marie sketched in the Oaxaca zocalo in 2002. She wanted to thank Marie for giving her the confidence to do what she had so long wanted to do: write. When I told her that Marie was no longer with us, she sent me a long, quite poetic, e-mail, telling me how important the encounter with Marie had been in her life. I will meet Ana in DF before I leave to talk more and read some of her writing. To me, this event was no accident. It was the impetus I needed to start writing. I will end this posting with a poem I wrote recently about the view from our living room window in Atlangatepec, where we lived in 2008-09. It is quite personal, but then it has to be.
Ink Strokes on Paper
Beauty, like happiness, occurs frequently. 
Not a day passes by in which we don't, for an instant, live in paradise.  
Jorge Luis Borges

Framed in weathered wood,
El Popo spews ash and plumes of billowy smoke
into the azure blue bitterness
of the January morning.
Huddled around the radiant crackling
of an old wood stove
we sip steaming cups of Cordoba coffee
warming our innards with bowls of avena
as the frost melts off the high desert landscape.
The stark beauty gives her respite
from the angoisee that is stalking her,
A reason for being
in the Tlaxcala highlands
when she wonders why
she is there.
Ink strokes on paper are the best medicine
for the darkness and pain
that have crept into her spirit
And her bones
without our knowing.
Beauty, like happiness, occurs frequently,
Ink strokes on paper are moments in paradise.

Credit to Quena for the Borges quote, which I love, and, of course, to Marie for the  priceless treasure of sketches she has left me with. May I do them justice with my words. Hasta pronto.