Can we talk about Spanish grandpas? I think we should, as I have a slight obsession with SGs. Not in a creepy, gross kind of way, but in an “I just want to hang out and chat about the good ol’ days” kind of way.
I’m reminded of this regularly as I make my way through Madrid’s streets. I tend to see a lot of the same folks – the vegetable seller, the doorman at the famous Sergi Arola Gastro, the gypsy hawking Kleenex on the corner as though every day is a must-need-tissue day. Obviously these aren’t the people reminding me of my love for SGs, though. Rather, it’s the grandpa that I see on Calle de Almagro who interrupts bench-sitting with slow laps up and down the sidewalk. He’s adorable, and I want to know his story. Desperately.
He’s one of a gazillion (seems like it anyway) Spanish abuelos who do this very same thing. For years I’ve oohed and aahed over cute grandpas in pueblos across the country. They’re always just chilling, watching the world go by. And while they’re chilling, I’m awkwardly following them around trying to capture them in their natural habitat.
I constantly marvel at the difference between the elderly lifestyle here versus in the States. In Spain, abuelos (and abuelas too!) dress in their Sunday best, no matter the day, only to hit the streets and pace to and fro by themselves, or sometimes silently in the company of another. It seems that no matter the age, no matter the ailment, they meander around town. I love this.
I’m always fighting the urge to join them and pick their brains – ask them what they’ve seen throughout their years of watching Spanish life unfold and evolve before them. A civil war, a dictatorship, technology….just imagining the stories they could tell sends me into a thought spiral.
No longer having grandpas of my own, I often wish I could adopt one of these darling little guys through some imaginary adopt-a-Spanish-grandpa program. I know what you’re thinking – what about your Spanish father-in-law? Love him, but unfortunately he doesn’t fit the crucial cute-SG criteria – a hat, a cane and a passion for aimless street wandering (although he does love to talk – and for that I do adore him, just not to the point that I want to take pictures of him hanging around the casa).
As a tribute to SG awesome-ness, I decided to dig up some pics I’ve taken of them over the years. Of course I came across boatloads of photos, confirming further that perhaps I need to tone down the SG infatuation a tad. Poor Jacobo, he’s well aware that a hat and a cane are most definitely in his future (because I said so).