Friday, July 3, 2009

Helio Conceicao

This is Helio
Helio is from Salvador Bahia, Brazil. He fell in love with Alita Townsend and moved to the chilly north from the sunny, southern weather. Love will do that to you! Now they have a baby. Love will do that for you too.

Helio has been in Northern Michigan for 3 years this August. He has worked at the farm most of that time. He always has a ready smile and winning ways. (He calls me Miss Nancy.) In the photo he is holding an instrument called a berimbau, he made from Brazilian wood and gourd. It has a very beautiful sound, haunting. He is showing it to all of us, Benny Bowmaster is just out of camera range. The metal string is from a car tire--you know, steel belted tires? I guess in Brazil necessity is the Mother of invention.

Today at lunch Helio was flashing his pearly whites telling stories. It was something about curing warts and old underwear but I'm not going there. There was much howling and wild laughter. Helio does that to you. He reminds me of a magical necromancer and laughing buddha like mystic, shaman and trickster all rolled into one. There is almost always something quiet, mysterious and exciting brewing around him.

Last week while I was sitting and eating I chanced to look at Helio and think of how beautiful was his face. I realized that it is quite symmetrical. Someone said that symmetrical faces are considered most handsome by those who objectively view them for tests. Helio would win in a beauty contest hands down, don't you think?

And he's always pulling something out of his hat to quietly wow the crowd. Lucky us.