It’s 5:51 am and the neighbor’s rooster crows. I live in Los Angeles, so it’s a little odd, but a comforting sound. It takes me back to my paternal grandmother’s home when I was growing up in Texas. Visits to my maternal great-aunts in Panama also included a rooster, although he’d crow at all times of the night. Maybe city roosters get confused…
I ran around with my cousins, ate ripe mangoes from the trees in the yard in Panama or amazing watermelons in the yard in Texas. My grandma and great-aunties were loving, funny, and excellent cooks.
Both places were so foreign from my life with Mom and Dad, and yet I felt completely at home. I think this was the beginning of making room for differences. Arroz con pollo y platanos fritos vs. handmade flour tortillas, “gorditas” con frijol de olla and fresh, homemade, truly hot sauce. Languages ranging from Texas style English and “Pocho” to Panamanian Spanish, where a simple conversation sounded like a huge argument, definite “tones” rising. “Mira este tipo aquí…” My ears soaked in all the sounds, squeezing out the meaning in full color.
City life in a country you cross in two hours vs. country life in a state that takes approximately thirteen hours and forty-five minutes from east to west. “The sun has riz, the sun has set, and here we is in Texas yet.”
Music, politics, and weather varied, but it was all an extension of me, my family, a part of my fine “blend”. So I smile when the rooster crows, not always pondering to this length about the memories, just embracing the feelings, the smell of breakfast cooking no matter the kitchen.