We have a small repetoire of favorite Wittgens-family stories. You know one of those stories that get's told at the dinner table at every third holiday dinner and several times in between. And when it's told, the details are fuzzier, yet somehow more grandiose.
It goes like this: my Dad rented a house for us for a week one summer on the Yucatan coast of Mexico. I was still in highschool, my sister brought along her boyfriend who-would-become husband. The town of Akumal was small and charming and about an hour south of Cancun. The house was delightful in its concrete-block, Mexican riviera style grandeur. Blue waters lapped on rocks, just a short walk from the door, a hammock spread under a palm tree, a blender, fresh seafood. It was a fantastic vacation.
One night, a couple houses down from our cozy cul-de-sac, a raucous party ensued. In truth, I don't remember how raucous, in fact, I may have been zonked from sun exposure and swimming well before the rest of my family so not fully cognizant of the loud rowdiness. According to lore, there was loud music playing, beer bottles crashing about, people shouting and yelling. Standard party fare that gets more embellished every year. At some point we'll call "in the middle of the night" - whether it was 11pm or 2:30 am, we'll never know, but the revelry was late enough to draw the ire of my father, who had hoped for a peaceful vacation. He proceeded out onto our deck and yelled, somewhat unconvincingly apparently, "quiet down!" No quieting happened. The party partied on. A bit later, Dad had had enough and went back to the deck yelling at the top of his lungs "SILENCIO!!" (because perhaps these latinos needed to hear his stern command in what he guessed was their mother-tongue.)
His wish was granted, but only momentarily. The revelers stopped, and I can only imagine as they looked up from their Tequila shots and Norteno music. Then the brief silencio was broken with a chorus of raucous laughter, and a series of mocking "silencio" replies.
We recount the story with the same festive mood as those party-goers must have enjoyed, however on that night, I imagine my Dad was miffed. In fact as the story goes, he may have even feared for the tires on our rental-car or the safety of our rented property after such an affront to the partiers.
I recount that story because I feel as my Dad did that night. Only the racket I'm enduring here on this OTHERWISE peaceful afternoon is of my own choosing, I suppose. We're getting a new roof, and a new screen porch and for days now the hammering, hacking, sawing, and occasional Spanish commands have been my background music. Every hard knock shakes the house just a little and I marvel how my daughter is sleeping through this. I just want peace, silence, meditative rest. Space to pray in earnest for my friends in deep need. And yet, all I want to do is scream "SILENCIO!" Doubtless mis amigos from Mexico up on the roof would find it entertaining as those partiers in Akumal, Yucatan.
But for now, I'm forced to absorb the sounds and be thankful that at least my dog, and my daughter are at rest.
Well, scratch that. Now its just the dog at rest.