Enrique and other men and boys from his village herded sheep ten months of the year, in Castilla León in the summer and Extremadura in the winter. In his early days they moved the sheep on foot and horseback, and later in trains and trucks. I found Enrique enjoying the sun on his daily walk outside the village, now only populated by old people and summer visitors.
Just outside Puerto de la Torre, where several roads come together, is a small group of houses and cafes. I parked my scooter, ordered a café con leche (un mitad doble in local speak) and sat down to enjoy the late morning air on the patio. These men didn’t arrive together, but seemed to be old friends, in no rush to get back to whatever was waiting for them. In Spain drinks are consumed slowly and sitting down, with plenty of conversation.
The windows were grimy and the weathered boards hadn’t seen paint in decades.
I thought the place was deserted. The windows were grimy and the weathered boards hadn’t seen paint in decades. But the sign said it was open. Inside, saddles lined the wall and harnesses and bridles dangled from pegs. John was in the workshop in back. He was friendly enough, but I was from out of town. He had grown up in the trade, learning firsthand from his dad, and knew just about everyone in the area who had ever climbed up onto a saddle.
One of his ancestors had written about the local history in the mid 1800’s and John was hoping to get it in print. His roots ran long and deep in northeast Kansas. I was just passing through. I offered to send him a print, but he didn’t seem too interested.