Sunday, February 28, 2010

Art & books & dinner & talk oh my!

Last night Teresa and I had a grand evening out, one of those perfect melds of great food, good sociable fun, art and politics and music and dance and talk with delightful friends and comrades. Dinner at the home of Lucy Pagoada and Roberto Quesada, two leading lights of the Honduran left in the U.S., steadfast fighters against last June's coup and the subsequent repression that has gripped their homeland.

Lucy is president of Honduras USA Resistencia, a tireless organizer, a teacher--and a fantastic cook, OMG, we were barely able to roll our distended bodies out the door at evening's end, so fully had we fallen in thrall to her delicious Honduran tacos, very different than any Mexican taco I've had, and to her impossibly scrumptious arroz con leche dessert.

Roberto is a journalist, counsellor to the Honduran mission to the UN--and, most relevant for this blog, he is one of Honduras' most celebrated writers. Roberto Quesada's novels are praised for their incisive mix of political commentary, wit, humor and compassion. His books that have been translated and published in English include The Ships, Never in Miami, and The Big Banana. So forgive me if I got a little star-struck and got Teresa to take a picture of me with the acclaimed author.

Lucy and Roberto's home is filled with magnificent art--a number of paintings mostly by Honduran artists, many other interesting pieces including a bust of Neruda that I was much taken with, posters and other artifacts of the struggles in Latin America--and with music from many countries and books in at least two languages. There is a wall of photographs of Roberto with other writers, among them Kurt Vonnegut and Isabel Allende. From their coffee table I picked up the book Botero: Abu Graib and spent some time taking in these powerful images by the Colombian artist famous for his paintings and sculptures of large-bodied people.

I can't end without including a shout-out to Lucy and Roberto's 5-year-old son Robertito, who gave me a splendid tour of their house and throughout the evening regaled us with his prodigious knowledge of airplanes, airports and aeronautics. We had a lively little debate about Jet Blue airlines--I arguing against flying a non-union carrier, he countering with the wonders of Jet Blue's apparently extra-big jumbo jets--which I only mention to give an indication of how smart this fellow is, that I could have such a dispute with a 5-year-old.

Have I mentioned that, wonder of wonders, hallelujah of hallelujahs, the university was closed on Friday so I got a full snow day at home in my pajamas? Which means this has been an unexpected three-day weekend. Today it's back to the tasks (writing, household, political) list. After all, there's no excuse for not getting back to work, well fed and well rested as I am. Thank you to Lucy, Roberto and Robertito for being a big part of that boost.