Peeling Oranges

Every December 28 Verdiales bands gather in Puerto de la Torre to compete for a prize and enjoy time with friends. These men are preparing a drink with oranges, probably sangria.

Though the competition is taken seriously, the camaraderie seems to be more important.

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My brother Ramón.

Ramon calls me “hermano” because of our shared faith. I’ve told him some of my personal burdens, and he always has an encouraging word. Our family has strong connections, so when I caught him with the sun on his face as he waited for his grandson by the school gate, I knew he was genuinely glad to see me.

I’ve asked Ramón if I could take a portrait of him and his wife, but he is busy helping with grandchildren, so I may have to settle for this.

Woman with bicycle

She and her husband travel around Europe on bicycles, returning home to earn enough money to leave again.  I encountered them at a Christmas fair in Rincón de la Victoria, near Málaga, just back from a trip through France.

Old man with cane/ Málaga, Spain

I was embarrassed to ask this man to take his picture. His face was half paralyzed as if from a stroke, but he was willing and even looked off to one side when I asked.

A few weeks later I returned with a print to give as thanks. This time a woman approached me and asked what I wanted. I told her I was returning a favor, asked if she was his wife. She replied “more or less”. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Used book fair / Feria de libros usados

Sunday morning on Cuesta Moyano, near Madrid’s Parque El Retiro, used book dealers display their treasures. Onlookers gather as the dealer opens boxes of books recently purchased from some estate, eager to find a rare edition or at least something that will sell.

Los domingos por la mañana en Cuesta Moyano, cerce del Parque El Retiro de Madrid, vendedores de libros usados abren sus tesoros, recien comprados de algúna herencia, ansiosos de encontrar una edición limitada excepcional o por lo menos algo que se puede vender.

Rodeo bums

Bull riding is a dangerous sport, and also the most exciting, so it always comes last in a rodeo. Boots, jeans and cowboy hats are almost required attire for everyone, not just those helping out. The rider has his helmet, protective vest and fringed chaps. A local cowboy walking down the street of my adopted city of Málaga would be as out of place as a Flamenco dancer at this Pottawotomie County Fair in Northwest Kansas.

José, Virginia and Mely

Sunday afternoons the sounds of laughter drift over our next-door neighbor’s wall – deep hearty laughter, the sounds of friends enjoying pleasant conversation and probably good wine. José and Virginia and his mom Mely run a small neighborhood grocery store just down the hill.

José is a bricklayer by trade, but jobs are scarce. Mely’s husband died a few years ago, so they all help keep the household together. And Sunday afternoons, their only free time during the week, they relax. And laugh.