A normal Sunday afternoon
At Los Naranjos, one of our favorite places to have a coffee, it seemed as if someone with a giant swing had spread some fifty white plastic tables with garden chairs on the terrace. The somewhat chaotic setup is otherwise normal, because it is usually a coming and going of walkers, cyclists and other passers-by. Especially on Sundays, when in 'our' valley people cycle and entire families, around three, traditionally have lunch together. But also on weekdays, when it is much quieter, no one comes up with the idea of putting the furniture in line. If you need a chair, grab one.
We enjoy, as usual in the sun, our cortado and tea, and see an elderly gentleman approaching from the road, with a walking stick. He walks to the stairs that lead to the terrace. Stiff as he is, he climbs up step by step, with attention and in peace. When he reaches the terrace, he looks at the entrance, quietly parks his walking stick next to the door and grabs the door handle. As soon as the door swings open, many voices sound towards us from the cafe. (They say that Spaniards have the best ears in the world, because they can still hear each other while talking loudly.) We prefer to sit outside. Not so the old man, who steps in undisturbed, takes off his cap and shows a big smile as soon as he discovers the owner of the cafe. In the meantime, a first family is arriving. Their table is reserved, but not entirely as desired. While the youngest children are being sent to the neighboring playground, a few men, under the encouragement of grandparents, are busy gesturing and calling a new table arrangement. With some noise, tables are moved, chairs are moved and in all that turmoil the friendly waiter provides new tablecloths. Rest is slowly returning. It is wonderful and amazing to see. So much for nothing, we would say. But not here, because there are clear ideas about who is sitting where and where the sun will be in an hour and whether grandma still will have enough shade.
The door swings open again. We look up and see the old man come out again. His cap finds his balding skull with a wave that has been practiced for centuries; the walking stick finds his gnarled hand just as easily. Step by step he shuffles to the stairs, aware of the first difficult step down. But the routine still prevails and a little later we see him walking out of the village. In the background the snow of the Sierra Nevada shines.