Blog single

To Hector

I had all kinds of ideas for the top­ic of my first post. Every­thing from the ori­gins of King’s Day as it is cel­e­brat­ed on the Iber­ian Penin­su­la to the phe­nom­e­non of Spain’s Christ­mas Lot­tery. In the end though, I real­ly just want to share what’s on my mind. This will be our first hol­i­day sea­son with­out Hector.

For those that don’t know, Hec­tor was my father-in-law. Hec­tor loved Spain. (Not every Spaniard loves Spain. It’s com­pli­cat­ed.) Of course, it’s good that he loved Spain because he was ter­ri­fied of fly­ing and I think he only left the Iber­ian Penin­su­la once in his entire life. I have vivid mem­o­ries of my first vis­it to Madrid in 1986, sit­ting with him at the din­ing room table as he took me on a tour of his exten­sive Iber­ian post­card col­lec­tion. I didn’t real­ly speak any Span­ish at the time, so he thought the best way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing was by speak­ing slow­ly and real­ly, real­ly loud. I’m told it was quite comical.

Over the decades Hec­tor took me to vis­it a lot of the places on those post­cards. I won’t recount all of our adven­tures here, but as I con­tin­ue to write this blog over the com­ing months and years, you will read more than a few accounts of our jour­neys. I’m not sure which one of us was Don Quixote and which was San­cho Pan­za, but I know that his old Volk­swa­gen sta­tion wag­on was our Roci­nante.

Hec­tor didn’t waste any time. He would pick me up at the air­port with his suit­case already in the back seat. The first stop was always for choco­late con chur­ros. (Think of that as Spain’s ver­sion of Krispy Kreme…..only bet­ter.) Then we were off too what­ev­er cor­ner of the Penin­su­la he had on his mind. Truth be told, he real­ly didn’t like sit­ting still. On hol­i­days with the fam­i­ly, he was always phys­i­cal­ly present, but I think in his mind he was on his way to somewhere.

My last trip with him was to San­tander. His health was start­ing to fail and to be hon­est, I was a bit hes­i­tant to enable his trav­el habit. In the end though, I’m so glad we went. Our friend and guide Luis made it a trip to remem­ber. Even after Hec­tor went into hos­pice ear­li­er this year, all he could talk about was tak­ing anoth­er trip. He found a small vil­lage on the map near Bur­gos that he had nev­er vis­it­ed, and I’m hap­py to say that my broth­er-in-law snuck him out on a Sat­ur­day in late March and they made the jour­ney up to put a final pin in the map, and per­haps to buy a postcard.

Many of you read­ing this knew Hec­tor per­son­al­ly, and I know that you will remem­ber him this hol­i­day sea­son. I’ll be head­ing to Spain on busi­ness in Jan­u­ary and I can’t imag­ine what it will be like not see­ing him wait­ing for me as I exit cus­toms. I am build­ing this busi­ness for many rea­sons, but in many ways it is my thank you let­ter to Hector.

I wish all of you a Mer­ry Christ­mas and am grate­ful to count you as friends.

Normal Width Image