I can’t remember a better Easter weekend here in Louisville. We spent a good chunk of it indoors of course, but after the last service was over yesterday morning we were free to revel in it. We threw an Easter party in the afternoon and evening as we usually do, and as per usual the attendance was heavily Spanish-speaking (note to self: learn Spanish for next year…or hire translators). Spaniards dominated, though I was delighted when two Cuban women we know walked in: a student of Mrs. Pastry’s and her 80-year-old aunt who always has stories to tell about the Cuban Revolution.
My favorite one takes place in the late 50′s, when — let’s called her Maria — was a young woman. The town where she lived was well-known for garment-making and was located in the foothills of the Sierra Cristal mountains. One day to the surprise of everyone Fidel and Raúl Castro, Che Guevara and a ragtag band of guerrilla fighters rode into town. Their demand: underwear.
Maria and her mother promptly measured the men and sewed together several pairs. Saddle bags stuffed with underpants, the Castros, Guevara and the rest of their July Movement comrades trotted back up into the mountains to continue the Revolution free of itching and chafing. I love that story, because whether you admire the Castros or hate them, consider Che a hero or a monster, you’ve got to admit that their exploits are seldom examined through the lens of undergarments. I can no longer look at one of those t-shirts — you know the ones, with Che in a beret staring sternly outward toward the bright Marxist-Leninist dawn — without thinking: I know who sewed his shorts. Were they striped or polka dotted…decorated with little martini glasses, smiley faces or helicopters? Maybe just little profiles of Lenin. I’ll have to remember to ask Maria the next time I see her.