Cuba has long had an allure for me. My grandmother reported stories of “Aunt Josie” taking overnight boat cruises to Havana from Miami, playing cards with the Captain and having a grand time. Aunt Josie was what they would have called a “looker”. Well, as the story goes, Manuel Diaz, met Aunt Josie while studying agriculture at MIT. He was the son of a tobacco plantation owner and cigar manufacturer. I can practically smell the aroma of a good cigar being smoked, just thinking of it. Now it’s entirely probable that I’ve gotten all or most of the details of this family history incorrect. Having just reviewed the gross over exaggeration of the number of people who claim to be descended from those that traveled over on the Mayflower – I feel a little artistic license won’t hurt anyone here. As my Uncle Gerard used to say of his brother: “He never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
And Cuba my friends is a good story, as well as a visual delight, a gastronomic extravaganza, a musical paradise, or so I hear. I have family members that have visited under the protective cloak of The Hemingway Society, and my boss visited a little over a year ago with a Religious group – both perfectly legal. I long to go before that which makes it so special – what I refer to as the Cuban Missile Crisis time capsule effect – disappears. It’s like a museum with the best exhibit in town, but I can’t get a ticket. It will sadly be turned into a Carnival Cruise playground. Still, a ten or twelve day tour isn’t exactly my cup of tea, perhaps I’ll slip in on a humanitarian visa.
Until then, Ken Wexler and Lisa Wexler threw a hell of a holiday party a la Cuba last night at the Boston Harbor Hotel. From the Salsa Dancers, to the food, ambiance, and the bear dressed as Fidel Castro, I was transported to another time and had a ball. It got me thinking how great a living room would be in a washout pastel, with tropical plants, huge scale black and white photos gracing the walls, a leopard stool or chair in the eclectic mix. A combination that both calms and excites – an intoxicating mix.
Don’t you forget to shake your maracas – after all ….it’s the holiday season.