Buen Camino Peregrino!

All good things come from above. James

Ana's Place for the Ordinary.

Ana's Place for the Ordinary.

Buen Camino Peregrino!

Friday, November 20, 2015

It's all about the cake!

On the occasion of my birth, my mother snipped and saved this little ditty of a newspaper clipping to mark the exceptional day in which I had gallantly arrived into this world. 
To date, I have googled extensively 'el Dia del Abuelo' as seen on the snip above only to find that perhaps it was not really the day commemorating 'abuelos' everywhere. It was my mom's way of  memorializing my first day ever in print.
On this day and every day I give thanks to my family and friends. A big shout out to my mother who has made the world a better place for everyone. I thank God for the many years that she continues to live every day. Its been a good ride. God bless everyone.
Fifty Five little candles, one little cake
One little birthday to celebrate.
On November 20th, 1960, oh my!
Ana arrived without wasting much time
They rushed so quickly, so quickly they flew,
grabbing a suitcase with little clothes brand new.
Now we look back with smiles, as the years have passed.
We celebrate again and say, how did the years go so fast! 
It's all about the cake(s)




My birthday on my cousin Pete and Terry's wedding in NY. 65'
Casa Panza My bday - cant remember year!



Happy Birthday to me and Happy Birthday Everybody!

Bonus pictures:

My lovely mother

America Juncadella Great  Grandmother
Paternal Grandparents with
my Tio Gustavo, Tia Fita , My Father and Tia Esther.
My Tia Fita 101  and still kicking

Monday, November 16, 2015

FPAC - A few words and a pictoral essay ...November 14, 2015.



 "When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying, now, and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that happened."
Mark Twain.

Saturday, November 14, 2015, a night whereby things happened and won't be forgotten...

 Looking back to the incident of my birth (a Twain-ism at its' finest), I submit, the most important features in the fabric of my life were woven by faith, my family and the best of friends.

Sadly, there have been many unfused darts and missed eyelets in my particular tapestry that have caused me to behave more likened  to a sloppy quilt rather than a meticulous steady faithful pattern to those who have always stood by me - whether I knew it or not. 
Surprisingly, I was reeled in by a wonderful friend/sister in the guise of a convincing haberdasher that attached my loose tangled strings to the Fort Lauderdale  Portuguese American Club last Saturday night after what I feel now to have been too long of a time to be away.

In order to better capture this story, I will compress a few details that added to the spectral importance of the evening.

When I was twelve, my father died. It was early summer and our home became paralyzed with despair.  There remained, my maternal grandparents, my mother and I. There was no music, there were no happy faces, austere dreariness, constant prayer and loss was the blue plate special of the day for the longest time.

For years we fell prisoner to these impossible feelings.  To make matters worse, a short time later my grandparents passed and my mother and I moved along encapsulated by profound grief or better said in Portuguese, "muita saudades;" - missing our loved ones terribly.

But, all was not lost and life chipped away at the madness and we surrendered to gradual harmonious moments later succumbing to the absence of the longest night to the light of day. 

With that said, this brings me back to current day. In the last few years, we said goodbye to our remaining family elders, my two sisters in law widowed, recently two aunts that were more like mothers to me and some friends.

On October 28, 2015, a very dear friend, Joao Castro,  took his final journey home at the age of 61 leaving behind a beautiful family which are his pride and a fitting legacy to a good and kind hearted man.
"Castro," as he was affectionately referred to, was the intellectual architect and "ensaiador" or trainer of the Rancho Portugues in Fort Lauderdale; a skill he learned in his youth and enthusiastically carried with him always.
 A 'Rancho Portugues' is best defined as a folk dancing group sporting outfits that ethnically represent a region of Portugal.  The music that accompanies the dancers are also from the many confluences of Portugal. 



Typically, the dancing is also enhanced by a delta force of Portuguese cooks that bring traditional meals to the table. In all, the evening envelopes a piece of Portugal for one night by all accounts.


Moving on, in light of profound sadness, Castro's family proved to be a lot stronger than my mom and I ever were.  They chose to memorialize him by sharing his gift of folklore dance in the place he most enjoyed: FPAC.

Over the course of  many years, many of us frequented each others homes and the club enjoying each others company, Portuguese flavors and dancing; pretty much raising our kids and/or participating in one way or another in the "Rancho." 

As life and circumstance plays a role in most of our lives, some of us were unable to frequent the club as before. A good lot stayed and others became distant.  And, we were part of the latter.

As a result, the family decided the best way to celebrate his life was to reunite everyone that was  there in the beginning and throughout the life of the 'rancho' to participate in the capacity to which they were accustomed; be it to dance, sing, cook or be present in his honor.  As difficult a task as I deemed it must have been to coordinate, they made it happen. 

Folks came from all over resulting in a full house. There were tear-filled moments as videos and images taken over the years were shared on a giant screen. It was a beyond moving and a beautiful, bittersweet tribute.

Below I have amassed as many pictures as possible. I will continue to add to this page as I receive more images so please keep checking in...




A message from the Rancho:
Obrigado Sr. Castro por tudo o que nos ensinou; vamos sempre lembrar a você, especialmente nesses momentos que realizamos danças portuguesas no palco com nossos braços erguida para o céu e com um sorriso em nossos rostos. Nós sabemos que você está sorrindo do céu orgulhosamente para nós. Obrigado por ser uma inspiração para muitas gerações de famílias portuguêsas e  não portuguêsas que participaram ao longo dos anos; todos com orgulho de fazer parte do nosso rancho e com amor a tudo Lusitano.

Gone too soon. Today he is guided by his faith and by the light of those he has loved and lost. At last he is with them once more, leaving those to grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good he did, the dream he kept alive, and an enduring image – the image of a man dancing in the steps of an‘esaiador’ of great caliber; his feet barely touched the ground as he grazed the floor; a black vest and a top hat tousled by the swift movements of the dance; smiling broadly as his eyes would meet the gaze of the family he worshipped and the friends that he held dear. May God Bless Joao and may he rest in eternal peace.

In Memory of  Joao De Deus De Castro Eirinha

September 26, 1954 - October 28, 2015