Antonio is the most common male name in Spain. But who needs to look that up? Our building has 39 units and at least 7 of them have an Antonio. Rogelio’s mother’s name is the female version, Antonia.
Rogelio also has a cousin named Antonia. She married a guy named Antonio. Their son’s name is Antonio and their daughter’s name is something else that no one can remember because it isn’t Antonia.
Algeciras has its favorite Antonio. El soldado, (The soldier). The legend of “Antonio El Soldado is famous in these parts. The story goes that many years ago, an old lady was cleaning a family tombstone when she was approached by a young soldier. The fellow pointed to a long abandoned tombstone and asked if, when she finished, she could kindly clean the old grave and leave a flower, as no one had cared for the grave for many years. She agreed and the young soldier left.
When she finished with her family plot she turned to tidy the abandoned grave. Marking the tomb was a faded picture of the very young man she had spoken to.
Ever since, Antonio the solider is your man if you are looking for a miracle in Algeciras.
There is a 5 meter wall of flowers in front of Antonio’s grave site this week. People ask him favors and then either bribe or give thanks with notes and flowers. They place candles, figurines and other objects they figure will increase their odds of an Antonio-esque miracle.
My favorite miracle from Antonio? This note:
“Thanks Antonio for helping me pass my driver’s license test.”
Which reminds me. Have I ever told you my driver’s license story?