The Mas: Palm Trimming Day

“Hoy viene el chico de las palmeras.” A beetle called Rynchophorus Ferruguineus is attacking palm trees all around the Mediterranean. Over a million trees have been lost. There is treatment if it’s applied in time, but there are few specialists who ply this dangerous craft. The mas’s trees are under attack but haven’t succumbed.

(c) 2018 JMN.

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The Mas: Lluis

Lluis (18) radiates composure and confidence. He studies Information Technology at university. His program includes mathematics and physics. He likes math, says concepts don’t always come clear right away, but when he dwells sufficiently on them, they’re his. He doesn’t subscribe to the notion that some persons are innately not equipped to understand mathematics. After dark, before supper, Lluis spars vigorously with a punching bag outdoors. It clears his head and relieves stress, he says. At supper, he invariably asks, “Abi (granddad), what did you do today?” He showed me how to play poker (Texas Hold’em) the other night. He gives signs of having considerable experience in the game. Hmmm. We’ve played one hard-fought bout of chess so far. He won. By a hair. I’d be glad to have Lluis at my side in any kind of a pinch.

(c) 2018 JMN.

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The Mas: Palm Trimming Day

“Hoy viene el chico de las palmeras.” A beetle called Rynchophorus Ferruguineus is attacking palm trees all around the Mediterranean. Over a million trees have been lost. There is treatment if it’s applied in time, but few specialists ply this dangerous craft. The mas’s trees are under attack but haven’t succumbed.

(c) 2018 JMN.

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The Mas: Reus 10:28

Yesteryear’s recreation. JMN.

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The “Mas” (Farm)

The “mas” dates from 1901. It’s a walled compound high in the northern reaches of Reus (Catalonia, Spain). In former times it would have been rural or semi-rural; now it’s an island of serenity in a bustling urban setting: “Mas Querol.” The house with its tower presides over a botanical effusion: plane trees, firs, Holm oaks (encinas), other-kind-of oaks (robles), palms, lemons, oranges, figs, plums, quince, strawberries, and plants yet to be identified.

(Cc) 2018 JMN.

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Family Transport

Eduard bosses the well-traveled, 4-wheel drive Audi Quattro over the switchback roads of the Montsant mountains with the commanding zeal of a seasoned rallye enthusiast. One feels G-force as he accelerates into the curves. It’s an experience to be had and to remember as the peaks loom and the valleys plunge. Eduard insists he has never indulged in rallyeing, but his retired Bertone-built, BMW-powered SUV bespeaks a taste for spirited motor cars. My daughter says he picked her up in it for their wedding.

(c) 2018 JMN.

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Eduard

My son-in-law is a medical doctor and practices dentistry. He said the other day that, as a father of three, he has been especially diligent in allowing his children to experience childhood abundantly, letting maturity arrive gradually and in due time, but not under pressure. I had never heard this sentiment expressed in so many words, and it impressed me. The playfulness and affection that flow between him and his kids are apparent. I told him yesterday that I love him like the son I might have had at age 11 (that’s the spread between us).

A joyous tumult reigns frequently in the house. Routine conversations are conducted at high volume, and even small decisions can get much discussion before a negotiated settlement leaves everyone in happy compliance. Bacalao (cod) or rape (monkfish) for dinner? I had heard years ago when arriving in Barcelona for study that the Catalans seemed to argue a lot, but not to worry about it, it was just how they talk. It’s true, and I don’t worry. On the contrary, it’s one of the many things I find delightful here.

(c) 2018 JMN.

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