February 16 was when Horace would repaint his entrance and the front wall of the house that faced the street, because February 17 is San Antonio de Robin’s feast day. It is a special day for Horace because his parents observed the day as did her family for as long as anyone could remember.
The origins of the day are sketchy, but it is thought that as farmers were preparing for the spring season by clearing land and commencing planting, so too village merchants could use this time of year for preparing their “fields” by cleaning, repairing and painting their shops. Especially those facing the village Plaza or along its main street.
In early February Horace would go to Hamblen Hardware, order the paint he needed...red, white and green...along with sufficient brushes, stirrers, rollers and drop cloths. Horace remembered painting with his father when he was young, and then for so many years when it was just his mother and he. For the last 27 years it had been just he.
This year, though, he though would be his last. Customs for the sake of customs made him weary now. They had become burdensome, and he wanted to be burden free. Traditions, he had slowly come to realize, are not about tomorrow, only yesterday. He had lived yesterday and decided he did not need to relive it.
Horace took his cup of coffee and walked out onto the street to look at the freshly painted entrance. It was bright and clean. His family for generations back would be proud for they would know the date, see the handiwork, and relate across the years.
He imagined the wall a year from now, faded and dirty paint peeling and flaking off...very much in need of refurbishing. But it would not get it. Horace would not paint the entrance. The future would now be different than the past.