Friday, March 21, 2014

Madeleina as Guardian Angel

So I was cooking dinner--a simple rice/chopped meat/garlic/onion/zuccini/red pepper/yellow squash/spinach/achote/white vinegar/good sharp minced cheddar/cilantro mix stuffed into poblano peppers--when the phone rang. Madeleina answered and jumped for joy when it turned out to be Aruba--our friend Otmar--on the other end of the line, checking in. I heard Madeleina's answers and realized he was asking about my leg: "Well, if you didn't know anything you'd think he's got a piece of rotten jerkey below his knee, but actually it's pretty good compared to what it was."
    Then I heard her say: "No, you can't do that. You can't even mention that. No way."
    A minute later: "All we need is you to call once a year so we know you're okay; nothing more, and I mean it."
    And so on, until she passed the phone to me.
    Otmar, who calls me Uncle Peter and has been on one of my trips and has met me in the jungle several times, told me about his new girlfriend, about planning to see me in July when I'm in Iquitos and so forth, and then we hung up.
    After we hung up, I called to Madeleina, in the other living room, around the bend in the kitchen, and asked: "Madeleina, did Otmar say he wanted to send us money because of my leg?"
    "Yeah, dad."
    "And you told him no, right?"
    "Of course, dad."
    I hesitated, then said, "Well, there's 72 percent of me that adores you for knowing the right thing to do. But then there's 28 percent of me that hates you for turning down free dough!"
    "You couldn't do it, dad."
    "I know, but I could have had a moment to consider it before saying no, couldn't I?"
    "No dad. Better to get temptation out of sight immediately. That way you can't fail yourself. And you're weak. You might have given in. I had to save you."
    That's my baby. That's my Madeleina. That's my girl."

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