Sadie 7/2000 — 9/27/2013

“I had been getting sick for about six weeks. It started before we moved again. I have no problem moving. It is a hassle, but it passes. The food is the same, the people just as nice, and the weather is good. Recently I noticed that when I went out to walk a bit I would get short of breath. And, then I started wheezing. I would sometimes gasp for air, and when you are a bull dog, that’s a difficult thing.
I had been with these people for ten years, they had rescued me from a breeder after my third and last living litter of puppies. Just took me away one day. I’d have to say I really did not miss those little brats sucking on me all the time. Lived by a river. I liked to go down to the river and wade in the edge. The cool water was soothing to my worn out teats. I had a good life going and then that Pac came home one day with one of the brats I thought I was rid of. Named him Charlie after some doper friend of his. I think dogs have a better scheme with their children– get them weaned and send them into the world. Anyhow Charlie was great for a year, but when he grew some he became incorrigible attacking me, humping me and anything else he saw. He was a pest and finally he was sent away. What a relief. After that Pac would play with me and we became really close. Still, I trusted Susan more. She fed me and put me to bed.
Anyhow, they took me to the doctor several weeks ago and the diagnosis was congestive heart failure, a fairly common ailment in dogs as old as me–it’s hard to believe I am thirteen years old! I got some pills and Pac gave them to me regularly. Goodness, I felt so much better. I could breathe easier, I could eat again, and drink some water. I heard Pac say that he thought my response was remarkable and he should know, he had treated a lot of folks with CHF. But then I got worse. Yesterday I knew it was time to go. I was suffocating. I could not understand where the air had gone. I couldn’t eat, all I could do was lie on my bed and gasp. This morning they took me to the doctor. I had lost 3 more pounds the last ten days. The doctor is sweet and pretty, she and her staff truly love animals. They gave me a shot in the butt and I relaxed. Then after she put in an IV, she gave me some stronger medicine that helped me leave. I am so fortunate that dogs have people to help deal with hopeless situations. When you are truly suffering and you know it’s time to go, you hope where you land, there will be some fields to play in, nice weather, and good food. My life had been really good and now it was over. Pac sat beside me rubbing my cheek the way I loved it. The last thing I heard was him saying, ‘Sadie, you were a damned good dog’.”

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Bobby, Juan, and Pac at Ambos Mundos–three old revolutionaries

We went to Juan José Blanco Lozano’s house the second day we were in Havana. Susan had contacted him via the internet and they had become electronic friends so to speak. Juan was an accomplished artist; we became close friends the day we bought a painting. I had no inkling of the close friendship, the fascinating people I would meet, or the things we would do at that time. Juan’s wife, Margarita, was a smart, energetic lovely woman who kept Juan motivated. They lived in a nice home in Miramar with her father, Julio. Julio had been a colonel in the revolution. He owned a restaurant in Las Villas, The Pick’n’ Chick’n, that had been a common meeting ground for the revolutionaries planning the attack on Santa Clara. Julio’s wife, Mariá Dolores “Lolita” Rossell, gave Aleida March refuge when she first came to Santa Clara. Dolores brother was the July 26 coordinator for Las Villas. Their house functioned as a way station on the Rebels’ underground railway. (Anderson, Jon Lee, Becomng Ché). Eventually Aleida would become Ché’s second wife. Dolores had 4 children: Two son’s-now in Miami; two daughters both in Havana: Margarita married to Juan, Claudia married to Bobby Carcasses.

We first met Bobby when he invited us to the El Zorro y el Cuervo (the Fox and the Crow) jazz club in Vedado. Bobby put on a show for us. He sang, played his trumpet, and greeted many of his music friends. Bobby was born in Jamaica where his Cuban parents were diplomats from Cuba. He returned to Cuba at age four years and completed his education there. He was a long jump track star, winning several Latin American championships. He was a team mate of Alberto Juantorena, Cuban Olympian. He started out singing opera, but soon switched to Cuban Music, performing at the Tropicana where he began incorporating bebop and scat influences into his style. He spent a year in Paris playing with Jazz greats Bud Powell and Kenny Clarke. He organized and opened the first Jazz Plaza Festival and continued to play there each year with many of the jazz greats who visited. In 2001 he performed at Los Angeles’ Jazz Festival and according to the review “Bobby stole the show!”

His son is Roberto Carcasses, highly regarded jazz pianist. I have never met Robertito as he is called, he has always been touring when I visited Havana. Roberto has however been making headlines in Cuba for his recent statements re: freedom of expression and access to the internet.. “As we might have expected from an incident as talked-about as asking for political changes in Cuba during a massive official function, musician Roberto Carcasses (RC) has gone from being what he is – a brilliant and innovative artist – to a kind of test case for political militancy on the island.” – read more: Havana Times

“Making a suggestive use of the catchy refrain “I’ve always wanted this”, Carcasses asked for the release of the Cuban Five and Maria (who, I imagine, stands for anyone unjustly imprisoned), an end to the Cuban blockades (maintained by both the United States and Cuba), freedom of information to be able to have an informed opinion and the possibility of being able to choose the country’s president by direct vote.” – See more at: Havana Times

Robertito is one generation past those of his family who were committed revolutionaries and members of the July 26th movement. His parents have worked happily in Cuba. His grandfather entered Havana along with Ché, Camilo Cienfuegoes, and Juan Almeida on January 1, 1959 to prepare the way for Fidel’s Grand Entrada. His mother, uncles and aunts all played with the children of Ché Guevara and Aleida March. Roberto is not speaking against the government, he is merely asking for personal freedom. He is, as in generations before him, a revolutionary soul. Good job!

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Dominos

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Snack time

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Ladies sitting on steps

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