Widows walk the cobblestone roads in all black where we live. They often carry heavy burdens. Sometimes it’s 30 pounds of potatoes atop their heads. Other times it’s the burden of loneliness upon their hearts.
Three or four generations often live in the same house where we live. Sometimes parents build a house for the kids right next door. Sometimes they just live in the house until Mom and Dad pass away, and their kids will do the same thing.
Where we live, the stench of manure hovers like an all day trip to the zoo. On Saturdays chickens are slaughtered and ducks are raised to be served with rice. Where we live, my kids see rabbits “turned inside out.”
Perelhal, Portugal is where we live, and I call it the Mayberry of the north. Not all of Portugal is like this, but where we live is.
The pace is painfully slow. The people are great. Everyone knows everyone else and most of the kids in school are related in one way or another.
There’s a bank, a school, a restaurant, a cemetery, a gas station, two churches, two hardware stores, and three cafés. There are also countless little old ladies who will hem your pants for about $1.50. Some might even do it for free.
Where we live, houses are older than the Bill of Rights of our great nation.
Once a year a statue of the patron saint of the village is paraded through town, from the smaller chapel to the larger church. She’s followed by a rock concert, every night for 4 days, until 3 AM. The stage is a mere 200 yards from our bedroom window.
Where we live every holiday is preceded and followed by mortar style fireworks. They rattle our windows and debris lands in our yard. To a blind person, several times a year, our house might as well be just a little too far outside the Green Zone in Baghdad.
Where we live is a small village, even for Portuguese standards.
Perelhal is a safe place to live. It would be an ideal place for someone in witness protection. Most Portuguese people don’t even know that it exists. Sandwiched between Barcelos to the east and Esposende to the west, it serves as a refueling station for Sunday drivers coming or going to the quiet beach town.
On clear nights where we live, you can see stars. On foggy nights where we live, you can see for about 6 feet.
You may not think so, but where we live is awesome. It could only be better if more people knew Jesus. And there were less fireworks.