Our Lady of Begoña sits on my mantlepiece, having been brought out for an alumni reunion for Umbrian Serenades, which will decamp to Soria, Spain this coming summer—the later a result of the earthquakes that continue to shake the eastern part of Umbria.
I've had her since my father died a little more than three years ago, and my mother sold my parent's house, and parting with many things. She's the patron saint of Bilbao, where I lived for about eight months at the age of ten in 1968—my father working in the steel industry. He wrote on the back: "Bought in Bilbao, Vizcaya, Spain, in 1968 by Elmer Shigo while at AHV."
My family lived in Spain twice. The first time in Bilbao, and the second time in Valencia. Not having been back since, I plan on visiting both cities when I return to sing with Umbrian Serenades—a truly wonderful and transformational program.
While I am not a Catholic (I believe in Musick), I like her Rococo-ish design, which gives every appearance of being a 19th century version of an earlier style. However, she is sterling silver, and needs periodic shining to keep her gleaming. Come to think of it: I am going to need periodic shining too, since—as a liberal democrat—I supported a very different agenda for the next four years.