Hurricane Maria strikes Yabucoa, PR, Sept. 2018. Fina’s hometown.
During a raging storm, 1933, baby Fina and mother Santos take shelter in a cave unable to continue their journey home…Father Pedro, had no idea where they are…as fortune would have it, a neighbor passing by spots them, helps mother and baby up on his horse, and safely crosses a rain swollen creek, taking the stranded home.
Fina, with brother Pedro, hunting birds with sling shots, crawling on their bellies thru the underbrush. young Fina shoots and kills a blue bird. She realizes, with great sorrow, what she has done. She vows never again to kill a bird.
Then, much older, Fina is a bird-lover, feeding them on the deck feeder, watching for hours the coming and going of cardinals and brown thrashers.
She loved all kinds of animals (and plants), even once trying to save a box turtle, with broken shell, by applying medication to heal the deep wound. But, the turtle died…I found it one morning along the sanctuary fence line.
After her husband died, and sometime later, their white German Shepard was found dead in the back yard. Fina said the beautiful dog died of a broken heart, missing her master (Roberto). The white dog was buried in the “sanctuary” by daughter Liz and close family friend Manuel Mendez Jr.
“Renting” neighbor’s newly purchased horse for a midnight ride…but, galloping downhill, seeing a creek up ahead, the horse pulls up suddenly, pitching young Fina head over heels into the creek (nearly breaking her jaw on the rocks). The next day, her mother is horrified as she sees Fina’s swollen face. Her father takes her to a Yabucoa doctor, who chides Pedro for allowing his daughter’s recklessness.
Climbing the highest coconut trees, picking coffee beans off prickly coffee plants, selling mother’s chicken’s eggs (unknown to Santos), playing with spinning tops, and swimming au natural with bro P.