The Ponce Chronicles 2022, Part 1

It has begun. Our annual trip to Ponce, Puerto Rico, for maintenance and repair on Casarboles, the home Allysen’s parents built. I arrived last night, but she has been down here for a week already. As I started this (I got interrupted, so it’s no longer true), the sounds of animated conversation in Spanish filled the outdoor spaces. Allysen was hosting a reunion of her middle-school classmates from the years she lived here as a kid. Most of these women she had not seen in over 50 years! They were a great bunch, and Allysen had a wonderful time. I took part for a while, but as most of the conversation was in Spanish, I eventually drifted off to, well, start this year’s Ponce Chronicles.


Prior to my arrival, Allysen and Jayce laboriously prepared the pasillo, or hallway, for painting of the ceiling.

Then Jayce flew home to take charge of the dogs so I could come down. Meanwhile, older daughter Lexi and her husband Connor had their own reunion here, Lexi flying in from Ecuador, where she’s involved in a four-month refugee assistance and training program. They’ve been off doing Puerto Rico things, and I haven’t actually seen them.

In the last twenty-four hours, since flying into San Juan, I have:

  • Driven all over Old San Juan on a circuitous course that looked like a fiendish meditation labyrinth. Allysen wanted to welcome me after a long day by taking me to a restaurant that featured a variety of craft beers. She didn’t know that the address was deep in Old San Juan, where a gnat couldn’t park, or that the restaurant itself would be invisible to the naked eye. We were both too tired to find central parking and walk, so we turned vaguely toward Ponce, while she hunted for other possibilities. Our labyrinth spiraled and twisted ever more hopelessly as we failed to find spots listed on GPS. Eventually we gave up, and by 11 p.m. settled down to macaroni and cheese at Casarboles.
  • Up early today, though, because in an accident of scheduling, Allysen’s reunion party was on for this afternoon.
  • Party over, it was all hands (both of ours) to the paint rollers, pouring white paint upside-down on a popcorn-plastered ceiling. Then—because it’s writ in the laws of reality—I was off to Home Depot to buy supplies for a worker who is supposed to show up at 7:30 a.m. on my second morning here, to begin banging out repairs to something just outside the bedroom door. I can’t wait.
  • We’re also hosting our next-door neighbors, Frances and Che, for breakfast in the morning. That will be fun. Except for the hour.

What am I doing still up? Time enough to post this tomorrow.

I still haven’t seen Lexi and Connor, who are leaving tomorrow. Are they really here?


  1. Frances B Giuffre
    | Reply

    Enjoyed your Ponce update, Jeff. Sounds like a family reunion–sort of. Feliz Domingo!

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