Degrees of Separation

More shopping today!  My daughter and I went out and got ‘Christmas’ gifts for everyone while we are here, because we do not know when we will see each other again, and none of us are getting any younger.  They wanted to know if they had to wait until Christmas to open them, LOL I told them we were living ‘in the moment’ and should just enjoy ourselves now. It was a joy watching the elders open their gifts and begin to enjoy them already. Auntie said they were well thought out gifts, that showed my daughter and I paid attention, and listened, and that each of the gifts fit the recipient. I love when that happens, SO much fun!

“Fidel Castro is dead!”, it tweeted. That refrain was a shout heard around the world today, and in many different forms. We saw the news, and of course had conversation about it.  The discussion led to a new discovery about my father. It is, as always amazing the things I learn when I am hanging out with family.

My father was in the U.S. Navy (I knew that part, lol), and, what I did not know was that in 1956 he was station aboard a ship that was anchored in Cuba.  What I did not know was that my father met Fidel Castro, and Fidel saved his life that night, or at least, did not kill him.  My father and a fellow sailor were in port off-duty, doing what sailors do, drinking and bar hopping. They were of course instructed to stay on the beaten path within well lit, safe areas. They did not notice in their going from bar to bar that they had wandered pretty far, were inebriated, off the beaten path, and it was pretty dark in that area. Anyway, they were walking back towards the ship, they thought, singing rather loudly in Spanish, which neither of them actually spoke or understood, a song they had picked up somewhere. Some thing about, “I love my girl, I love my mother, I love my country…” They had no idea what they were singing. Some men stepped out of the shadows.  It was Fidel Castro and his lieutenants. Fidel spoke to them and quickly ascertained that they were neither spanish nor local. Nor were they Batista’s men.  In my father’s words, Fidel said basically, “Son, were you not told to stay in a certain area?” To which my father responded yes, and for the first time looked around and discovered where they were. It was a rude, and frightening awakening. “Do you know how hard it is in these dark conditions to tell the difference between your American uniform and the uniform of Batista?!”  It had never occurred to the sailors how very similar in design and color the two uniforms actually were. By this time, their hearts were in their throats, and all they could do was shake their heads, and sweat.  Fidel Castro directed them back to their ship. I think that was the last time my father went ashore.  I am forever thankful that Fidel Castro let two very young(my dad was eighteen), American sailors live that night. ❤