Crucigramas y herencias

No matter how busy I am on any given day, I always try to sit down, usually at lunchtime, and do the local paper’s Crossword. It’s like therapy for me, having my brain teased and prodded, making me forget all about whatever it is that stresses me on that particular day. I cant remember how long Ive had this particular habit, this daily ritual, but I do know where I got it from.
As a child I remember being at my grandparent’s house afterschool, lying down on the sofa and watching afternoon cartoons. Abuela would be sitting down at her rocking chair, either reading the social pages of El Diario or knitting. Abuelo, my grandfather, sat at his own rocking chair and if he wasnt listening to a baseball game, transistor radio to his ear, jotting down all the stats, he’d usually have a newspaper in one hand and a pen in the other. The paper would be folded in quarters, with just enough reading area to display the daily cruzigrama.
Sometimes my grandfather finished his puzzle in a matter of minutes. Others, he’d enjoy the puzzle slowly, maybe with his merienda, taking in each clue and savoring it along with a sip of his cafe con leche. I cant remember a day where El Primo didnt do his crossword. Even on Noches Buena, when the family all came over to my house to spend the day, you could find Abuelo sitting out front in the porch, crossword puzzle in hand, taking in his clues along with the Noche Buena, lechon asado Miami breeze.
I can still, to this day, envision his meticulous, trembly block letters taking their proper place in puzzle squares.
El Primo’s love of crosswords was such that he had his own crossword dictionary. He started it back in May of 1973 and added to it painstakingly throughout his years in exile. He kept it along with his baseball stats diaries in a separate blue denim, three ring binder.
I have that old denim binder. My sister had had it all these years after his passing and handed it to me last week, at a solemn ocassion that I cant yet bring myself to write about. I cant express with words what it was like to see my grandfather’s handwriting again. To carefully go through the yellowed and frail pages of such an incredible labor of his love for the written word and his passion for the puzzle.
I dont know if he ever meant to have his cruzigrama dictionary published, or if he just kept it and added to it so meticulously all those years for his personal use. Maybe he kept it for his twilight years, knowing that some day, those years might hinder his crossword ability. Perhaps, though, he left it for me, knowing that one day, the crossword would be just another passion he and I would share.
Abuelo’s Crucigrama Dictionary, page one of the “G’s”
Abuelo’s Crucigrama Dictionary, page two of the “G’s”

2 thoughts on “Crucigramas y herencias”

  1. Oh my, I miss crucigramas in Spanish so much…My dad also loves to solve them, same technique of paper folded in four parts…

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