Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

A couple have been coming into the center for the past few weekends. He looks to be in his late 60’s, she in her mid-50’s. She speaks little English, and follows he and I around as we unload their donations, mumbling to me “goood, ees berry good,” about whatever they’re dropping off.
When they arrived last Saturday, she came slowly through the door cradling something carefully in her arms. When she reached me she pulled up a small wine bottle, which she gingerly held out toward me.
“Ees good, Berry, berry good. Here.” She thrust the bottle at me. I took it and began wrapping it in tissue paper to add to the donation box. She reached out and touched my hand, forcing me to stop wrapping.
“No, no. Ees for you. You take. Ees berry, berry good.” She smiled and nodded her head as she looked at me. Wow, she wanted me to take it. She had brought it just for me.
“Thank you,” I said, resisting the urge to fall into the stupid fake accent I always adopt depending on whom I’m talking to. “Thank you. It’s beautiful.” She smiled and left me holding the bottle.
Although it was a bottle, I couldn’t see the glass. The bottle had been wrapped in what once had been a stiff leather, but years of handling and caressing had turned the leather soft, with the pictures imprinted in the leather soft and smooth. I couldn’t clearly make out the pictures on the leather, nor could I read the inscription that adorns one side of the leather because I didn’t have my reading glasses with me. It looked Italian, Spanish, maybe German, I really couldn’t tell. But I could tell that it was a beautiful scene, so I took it home and stood it on top of my miniature fridge.
When my good friend PTM arrived for a visit upon his return from a cross-country trip, I showed him the bottle. He immediately recognized the markings, and I immediately felt remiss in not taking the history class I had been meaning to. Although I’m an exceptionally smart woman, I am illiterate in many areas—history being one of them.
“This is a great bottle,” he declared. “There’s Don Quixote, and the sides are windmills. Oh, and look, there’s Sancho Panza.” He went on to explain how Don Quixote set out on a mission of romance and chivalry, subsequently going mad and fighting the windmills because he thought they were ferocious giants. Hence the term “Tilting at Windmills.” Sancho was his faithful squire, with a fat belly, he rode a donkey was illiterate, but proud of it. His travels with Quixote brought him considerable knowledge. I couldn’t help but feel a little like Sancho, smart but ignorant, proud but yearning to learn.
History lesson over, we set out to wreak havoc on my little gayborhood. We hit the bookstores and record stores, then purchased postcards and headed home. We came upon a little corner bar on Colfax, there wasn’t really a name out front, just the declaration of a “Thinking Place.” It was only three blocks from my house and I had been dying to check it out, so we stepped inside for a drink.
It was a Deadhead bar. The juke box only played Deadhead tunes, and the walls were adorned with decades of Grateful Dead posters, announcements and photos. The barkeep informed us their special was 2 for 1 drafts, which we accepted, and she promptly brought each of us two drafts. While sipping our discount suds, we looked around the room. Every inch of the bar above us, including the colored pieces of glass that covered the dozens of lights, were inscribed with some kind of saying. Left mostly by patrons past.
I noticed one that read something about Sancho’s. Hmmm, I thought, I had just heard that name for the first time. The more I read the more I noticed there were a lot of comments about Sancho. Then I noticed a large display behind the bar that referred to Sancho.
“You don’t think its the same Sancho do you?” I asked my friend.
“I think it is.” He replied.
“What does he have to do with the Grateful Dead?” I inquired.
“Absolutely nothing.”
“Where are we? What is this place called?” I asked, feeling goosebumps.
“I thought it was a Thinking Place.”
“That’s what it said on the side of the building.”
When the waitress returned we asked her what the name of the establishment was.
“Sancho’s Broken Arrow.” She said.
“Like Don Quixote Sancho?” I asked her. I still was unable to pronounce Sancho Panza effectively.
No. It wasn’t possible? Was it? The very same Sancho on my wine bottle? Did the old lady know something when she brought it to me?
We spent the evening chatting up the Deadheads, discussing literature, music and the merits of the Grateful Dead. I believe I got about three history lessons that night, and a recommendation of several authors I think I would like to read.

January 17, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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