After reading an interview about Lori L. Tharps in the March issue of Ebony magazine, I felt a minor kinship with her. We’re both black women writers who considered attending Smith College in Massachusetts (she actually graduated from Smith). We’ve both travelled to Spain. We both have white husbands.
The article introduces Tharp’s new book, “Kinky Gazpacho”, a memoir of her travels throgh Spain during her junior year at college. “Gazpacho” explores some of the lessons that she gleaned from the 200-year-plus period during which Spain held West African slaves within its borders. And we all know that Spain was tremendously influenced by the long occupation of the Moors, who trekked into the country from North Africa. Lori’s journey and her marriage are closely linked. She met a Spaniard there, whom she later married.
My Spanish experience was much shorter. I went to Barcelona last June for work, and after I wrapped up business, I took four extra days to explore the city. I took a day trip out to a town that dates back to the Medieval period, Girona. My entire trip spanned just eight days, but it was enough time for me to be struck by the landscape and architecture, and the juxtaposition of Spanish history, tradition, and modernism. The study of Spanish history is unavoidable in high school and college, but seeing the country makes one appreciate Spain’s contributions to the development of civilization. If you all ever get the chance to visit Spain, please take as much time as possible to absorb that magnificent place.
I’ll pick up a copy of “Kinky Gazpacho,” because I want to read about Lori’s take on the country that sparked an infatuation in me when I saw it. There is just one drawback to her book: the title. I hear what Tharps is saying about the blending of her heritage with her husband’s, but the thought of hairy soup — no esta bien!