Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sitting with Sandy

Kathy’s Waffle House has long community tables on the sidewalk directly across from the Convento San Francisco in the historic district of Granada. Sandy, the owner, an almost 80 year old Jewish ex-pat from New Orleans and Kathy his seventh or eight wife, a 29 year old Nicaraguan, serve the best American and Nicaraguan breakfast in town. We eat there a couple times a week. Thelma called me Saturday morning to tell me that Kathy shot herself in the head the night before. Wild rumors always circulate here so just because Pamelo came into the café and said that Kathy committed suicide doesn’t mean it really happened.

We headed over there as soon as we could. When I saw that Kathy’s was closed for the first time in living memory, I knew it was true. We found Sandy in his office with Lionel, the director of the Granada Bancentro, and Terry his good friend and regular customer. He was shattered, breaking down as he told us what happened. People kept coming in and asking – why are you closed. And he would say, my wife committed suicide last night. Elliott, one of the cadre of older Jewish men usually hanging out with young Nicaraguan women came in and said, I heard what happened, I’m really sorry. Sandy was telling us that he had no clue why. Kathy told her beloved horses’ trainer that he could have the horse if anything happened to her. Elliot kept saying, what does that have to do with anything? Sandy was exasperated that Elliott didn’t get it and Elliott thought Sandy was just breaking off on a tangent. Two old guys frustrated with the other’s mental capacity. Sandy finally said, Do you understand what happened here? Kathy shot herself in the head with my Colt 357! Elliott began to keen and fall over and make awful noises in the back of his throat. He had thought the restaurant was closed because Kathy’s mother had died. Her sister, Rachel had to go get him some water and find him a chair. He came back, hung onto Sandy for a while and then left.

Sandy said over and over, I never go to funerals, I don’t know what they do here. Her family is taking care of everything. Sandy acknowledged that the body was coming back and he would have to go to this funeral. His totally broke up and he said, I will have to sit with the body this time.

Sandy heard a shot last night and couldn’t climb the stairs to the Kathy’s bedroom which was locked. He had to send the guard to look in the window. Police arrived quickly because they had been right across the street. They took the body and a lot of pictures. They fingerprinted Sandy and everyone else (with paraffin of course).

You live long enough in Granada and eventually you will know the person the funeral car is announcing and you will listen to know where and when the funeral will take place. I just thought it would be one of the many older folks I know, not Kathy. Of suicide. I heard the chimes of the announcement – Descansa in el paz del senor, Kathy Solarzano de Perkoff, duena de Kathy’s Wafflay house . . . . I had to ask Manny across the street what time the funeral will be - 2:30 – because I still miss a lot of words.

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