Growing up my family in Chile had a strong willed Mapuche Indian maid named Nelly. Nelly worked for my grandparents for over 50 years until her death in her mid 70s to cancer. She officially retired at 65, but still worked half days with us to keep busy and to keep active. She was happy, part of our family, and a magical person who in her station at our house kept a traditional stove top toaster where she would make the most amazing toasted marraquetas and hallullas for onces or tea time and share them with me. Visits to my grandparents would be visits to Nelly and she would toast the softest bread covered in butter and fresh cheese. Served with milk tea and sugar in large mugs teaching me to dip the corners of the bread. Perfect afternoon snacks for cold Chilean sunsets.
Even now I refuse to use a modern toaster opting instead for an open faced toaster like Nelly, turning bread slowing, controlling the temperature and being able to see bread crisp slowly and perfectly.
So simple a toaster - so perfect its memories.
Álvaro Mutis, the Colombian poet and novelist who created one of Latin American literature’s more memorable characters, the rambling and ruminative Maqroll, an inadvertent explorer of jungles and his own jaded soul for whom life seemed a long and futile boat ride, mostly upriver, often running aground, died on Sept. 22 in Mexico City. He was 90…
Maqroll is of indeterminate origin, nationality, age and physiognomy. He is not evidently from Latin America and does not represent anything particularly Latin American in character. Maqroll is a solitary traveler who brings a stranger’s detachment to his encounters and his lovers; he searches for meaning in a time of violence and inhumanity.
Umm… that Maqroll fellow sounds oddly familiar - sort of like me.
Maqroll, the lookout. Adventurer, oceanlover, intense and devoted but temporary lover, entrepreneur of dubious and sometimes functional schemes - Maqroll’s wanderings take him throughout the world.
South American of indeterminate origin, entrepreneur of schemes, looking for meaning, detached from encounters and lovers…ocean lover. umm…