17 Jan 2020, 5:54am

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Chronicles of Spain, 1966

Chronicles of Spain, 1966

(bodhisattva connotes a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment’; a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened.)

By Kate Chamberlin


  1. In A Grassy Field

The clouds scudded across the warm night sky, obliterating the starlight and silver quarter moon. My girlfriend and I had spent a fun-filled afternoon and evening visiting the families of several Spanish boys that had picked us up in the college city of Valladolid, Spain.

Before doing my practice teaching my senior year in college, I lived in Spain from mid-May to mid-December, 1966. Armed with a minor in Spanish, I wanted to immerse myself in as much of the Spanish culture, people, and language as I could. Phyllis, who had a major in Spanish, and I attended the Catholic Mass in Spanish and Latin every Sunday, accepted each invitation to tour the big city museums, take classes at the university, witness a bull fight, and experience las fiestas in small villages.

When several boys we’d seen on campus invited us to go with them to their pueblo’s fiesta honoring the town’s saint, we accepted. The afternoon and evening were lively with going from one home to another, each packed more fully with that family’s extended relatives. Everyone wanted to see las Americanas morena and rubia. Phyllis was a brunette and I was blonde.

Each family produced the best they could afford of fried pig ears, spicy sausages, breads, and of course, wines of varying quality.

Half-way back to the university in the middle of the night, all the wine we’d consumed, needed to be released. We saw no lights of a friendly inn, passed through no towns, and no homes were near-by. We were in the middle of no-where. The boys knew it wouldn’t be a problem for them, but, what to do with las gringas?

Eventually, they stopped the car on the side of the road. They were going to unbutton and go on the grass next to the car; however, Phyllis and I were a bit more modest and chose to cross the road and climb over the fence into a grassy field. We flipped up our skirts, slid down our panties, and squatted with the anticipation of relief.

It was then that I heard heavy breathing and, possibly, a snort behind us. I thought it was a crude joke for the boys to sneak up behind us like that, but, when I looked over my shoulder, my face blanched and I felt a horror I’d never felt before.

As the clouds briefly cleared from the face of the moon, I saw I was staring into the dark eyes of a very large, smelly bull, not five feet away. He snorted again and took a step toward us.

My urinating stopped on a drop and I took off for the fence with Phyllis right behind me. The boys couldn’t stop laughing, as they knew the bull lived in that field.

Fortunately for us, el toro was the Ferdinand type of bull, who was more curious than angry.

While this anecdote is funny now, my Mother would have been mortified to know I’d even thought about peeing in a field, instead of a proper bathroom! So, I didn’t tell her.


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