The people of La Vera, and a pending obituary.
“The people and their paths are full of short cuts ” That is what Miguel de Unamuno writes about the inhabitants of the region of La Vera in one of his writings about a travel to Extremadura.
The region of La Vera has had poor means of communication for decades. It was not until 1960 that tarmac roads arrived to Jarandilla as an advance into the future. But it was not until almost 1970 when they were more or less generalised around the County (creo que Shire es especifico de Inglaterra).
Without any doubt this is the reason why for many years, and after the visit of the first tourists (Javier Marcos Arevalo. La identidad extremeña. Gaceta de antropología 1998), people from La Vera dragged fame, among his negative traits, of being isolated, taciturn, indolent, backward and individualistic. It is fair to say that also included (in this publication) were its positive features, such as people that are simple, free, enduring, hospitable and people of honor and integrity.
This is is not an isolated opinion. Since the late eighteenth century, a clergyman from Jaraicejo, Francisco Gregorio de Salas, dedicated the following ten line stanza to his countrymen:
Encourages Extremadura ;
They never enter in hock
nor they want to take sides.
Each one is tucked in itself ,
And happy in his corner
Although he is a man of reason,
With a live wit and audacity,
Come to be, for laziness
The indians of the Nation
However it is proved by the remains in the archaeological sites excavated in the forts in the area, that industrialization of the Vetón nation predates the Roman occupation. This leads us to conclude that if this region has not been more developed, it is more because of individualism and lack of efficient communication, than lack of ingenuity or work ethics.
Vetones were the name attributed to a pre-Roman Celtic people whose geographical center is located between the provinces of Cáceres and Ávila , in the Sierra de Gredos. Hence, the inhabitants of La Vera’s region have a vetón origin and vetones were characterized by being farmers and warriors.
My father has had good friends in his life, especially those who were related to their stay in the villages of La Vera. It was there where he spent part of his childhood, worked several years and always returned when his duties allowed him.
From all his friends there is one in particular that struck me in the long conversations I had with him for years. For his personality and special way of being it is imposible for me to think of El Losar and not have him in my mind.
This man was the epitome of the positive traits described above and, if I have to mention something negative, I might say he was individualistic.
Now, if I bring to this story the presence of this character is for his positive traits, because he was the personification of a simple man, frank, sacrificed and hospitable. He was a person of honor and integrity that struck me positively all the times I would talk to him.
With more than a simple cultural background (me suena raro, quizá podrías decir: With less than a basic level of education??) caused by the era in which he happened to be born, in their conversations showed a logic, reasoning and consistency, unpredictable if we judged by his physical appearance.
His histrionic physical contrasted with the settlers of the region, people rather petite and bony. He would fit more on the definition of giant compared to the physical structure of their congeners, than in the definition of a tall and burly man, as I catalog him.
I do not remember the first long conversation I had with him, I don’t remember the last either, but I do remember, and it is all very present to me, many conversations I had during the time I was able to spend with him.
I remember exactly how seeing him show up at my father’s house used to make me happy. He used to call in both morning during our holiday breakfast, around 10 am, or late in the afternoon about half past eight to nine, when we were dining at the rear of the house, in a small garden, which still exists today.
He always captured my atention using a soft voice, talking slowly and overall he would made his comments in a global and impersonal way: “… the public is complex, each person asks you for something different, it is very hard to get it right with everyone…”. I was a young nervous and somewhat radical boy and it was common to receive a slow response, with a serene tone that always started with “… may be… may be… but…”. Underneath it all he always crushed my argument with the knowledge acquired from experience, not through universities or manuals, which made me doubt the effectiveness of reading institutionalized thinkers.
Not long ago, he left us physically, a bit more ago he left us at the gatherings with his conversation and knowledge.
Teodoro, you will always be in the memory of those who conversed with you.