Category Archives: Pablo Neruda

A Spanish Toast


My mother still drinks either sangria or lambrusco in little juice

glasses every evening.  We have always said when we toast and clink

the glasses together,

“Salud, pesetas y amor, y tiempo a gustarlos.”

(To your health, money and love and time to enjoy them!)

I may have already mentioned this before in stories about my visits with

Mom! When talking at my lunch table, almost each coworker’s family

had a similar toast.

My mother had taught Spanish, World Lit and English so I was interested

in that language the most. I took 6 actual years of it in school and have

been watching Diego and Dora, along with Sesame Street through several

years.These shows keep me a little updated!

I met a woman at work who is named “Isabelle” and I told her I was

not too keen on Roberta (pardon me, if that is your name!) which would have

been my Spanish version of my name.

When asked by the teacher, “What is your middle name?” and I answered

“Elizabeth.” I found out “Isabel” is the Spanish equivalent. I love the name

Isabel! It comes out like this: “ees- uh-bail” but the last syllable is lightly

said, with a long A sound.

Elizabeth was John the Baptist’s mother in the Bible and sometimes it is

nice to think of her. I am glad that she was also visited by an Angel like

Mary was. If Jesus had not known John then there may not have been

the baptism that Christians value so much. But then again, maybe it would

have been something else symbolic but not so divisive. Have you met people

who ask “Are you BAPTIZED?” and then want to know how it was done.


I would like to say that the poem, “La Higuera” about a fig tree stands out

in my mind as very beautiful when spoken in Spanish. The Spanish author’s

name was (I believe) Pablo Neruda. Nope, Wikipedia says the poet is named

Juan de Ibarbourou. Each of my high school years, I would enter in a Spanish

declamation contest held on the campus of Kent State University. Each year,

I would choose a poem in Spanish, reading it in English to understand its

power and meaning. One year, I distinctly remember this poem about the

fig tree. I enjoyed looking at the photographs of fig trees in Encyclopedias

and now, this means so much more to me. I enjoyed learning to memorize

those haunting words. The bird poem, “Pajaro,” was one that had double

meaning, since birds can fly away to a better world, hoping for a better life.


I also am going to ramble one more direction and then close this little post.

I have two fellow workers at the Advance Auto Distribution Center who are

filipino. They tell me to call them that. I always was taught to say I know

some people who come from the Philipines. They have invited me to parties

and I enjoy their food immensely. I wish there were restaurants that served

their food, the closest I can tell is Asian restaurants but they do talk very

similarly to Spanish. I can tell them some of what they have chattered about

at the lunch table. They are sometimes surprised and sometimes a little

concerned. They want to “practice” their home language but they don’t want

to offend people. They have had people come up to them in public and say

rudely, “Speak English! You are in America!” They say their country is also

part of America. It makes me think of the song where the gangs/rivals are

arguing in “West Side Story.”

That must close my thoughts, since I am getting ready to go to a friend’s

house and we both agreed “No technology!!” That is so fun and it will be

a nice day and a half break from phones, television and the Internet!”

Have a wonderful and safe weekend! Let me know if you know any unusual

toasts please!