São Bartolomeo, whose origin I do not know, is the patron saint of the diocese of Trovescal, in Bayrada. I don’t know why the people of Troviscale went to cast the saint out of delusion, to preside over the spiritual destinies of their parish. My mother was born in Troviscal, and I have always had a special sympathy for that land. Part of my blood was produced there, in contact with earth, wine and presses, and humans have ribs of animals and fish, which at the end of their lives will multiply and die in the place where they were born. What force is taking them there? When I was five or six, I would go with my mother to take ribs to the Sons of God and my nephews Troviscal and Feiteira. My mother had ribs on her head, on a sack, and near Palhaça we set off along a footpath between the vineyards, on our way to Feiteira, then to Troviscal.
Along the way, my mother would talk to me and tell me stories she had known since she was a little girl and which I loved to hear. Uncles Vitera and Troviscal threw me a lot of parties, and gave me a few pennies and escudo leaves to put in my pocket to buy dried figs at Uncle Albino’s shop, right in front of our house. In Feiteira, the sweet occult was of a goddess, sons of Tia Rosinha, one of the goddesses was Frei Gil, cousin of Silvério, paternal grandfather Mario, formerly of Newark, New Jersey, and brother, who was later grandfather of singer Alfado Marisa that everyone knows.
At Troviscal, scholars went to the children of Rosalina Madrynha, Manuel Felipe and Mario, who later married the daughter of Grangea, from the shop next door to the church. And then, when I got older and started to look into the shadows, when I was 15 or 16, I was the one who was going to represent the Souza family at dinner at St. Bartholomew’s party. I was going to go full length and tie, on my new bike, which my father bought me, specifically from the bike shop opposite Loja do Grangeia.
I was a tap, and because of my prolific reading, intellectually, I thought I was a little higher than my brothers on Earth. He was against the dictatorship of Salazar, debated and expressed opinions thanks to the influence of the magazine “Vértice” to which he subscribed, and to which all the young writers, musicians and artists of the time donated. The magazine was at that time the machine of the Portuguese neo-realists. And one day, when I went to S. Bartolomeu’s party, I got into a big argument, do you know who? with dr. Manuel Grangea, founder of Jornal da Bairrada. He was considered one of the smartest young men on earth, and he loved, as I did, to show off his intellectual qualities in public. Grangea was an attitude, as you all know, and I, the Souza farmer, also had my thoughts to the contrary, and we put on a little show there, to a group of spectators who had gathered to enjoy the hatred.
Later, in my twenties, I continued to go to the S. Bartolomeu party, and dined with Tio Adriano and godmother Rosalina, parents of Manuel Filipe’s cousin, who grew up in my house in Soza until I turned eighteen, when he was studying Coimbra. My mother had no children for 15 years, and Manuel Philippe went to live in Sousa, eventually becoming heir to the lands of Teo Manuel, vineyards and pine forests. However, she appeared, by chance, when no one was waiting for me, and spoiled the plans of my cousin Felipe. Nevertheless, we continued to live like brothers, and on vacation, Manuel Philippe continued to go to Souza’s uncles’ house, where he had his buddies in high school and university. Needless to say, his presence and his books did not fail to influence the formation of my character.
And I tell you this, to give you an idea of who is this silent man who has been speaking to you for more than half a century, and many still do not know personally, but only by his voice, and by the stories I tell you. But this will not last long, my dear. I can already see ninety-nine springs, which, you must agree, is already a “hell” trip, says a friend I know. And that’s all for today and until next time, God willing.