I enjoyed being with Carlos. I met him when he was one of the team members recruited by Antonio Sarabia, the Senior Vice President at Astilleros Españoles who, in the early 1990s, were responsible for bringing modern technology into the company’s eight shipyards. Carlos was animated, maybe hyperactive would be a better description, and had a marvelous sense of humor that was more American than it was Spanish. When with Carlos the unexpected became the norm.
Following a meeting in Antonio’s beautifully appointed conference room, I asked Carlos to stand next to an impressive painting of a Spanish Navy battle group so that I could photograph him alongside of it. Carlos immediately responded, “I cannot, because I am a man of peace.”
I thought that handsome Carlos standing next to the painting would make a great photograph and wondered if I should persist. Carlos had a good reason for being a pacifist. His father, when an artillery officer during the Spanish Civil War, was permanently blinded when a shell explosion shattered the breech of a cannon. While hospitalized the young officer married his nurse. Carlos’ father never saw any of his children.
Then I thought of something else and said to Carlos, “So you are a man of peace.”
“Yes, I cannot have my picture taken with war-making things of any kind,” he replied.
“I remember when you and I returned to Madrid from visiting shipyards in Vigo and El Ferrol. You insisted on making sure that my hotel accommodation was satisfactory before you went home to your family.”
“Yes of course.”
“When the young man at the reception desk said that there was no reservation for Señor Chirillo, you went wild. You screamed at him and you raised your arm with your fist clenched. I never saw anyone as frightened as that reception-desk clerk when you got belligerent. You calmed down only after we discovered that we were in the wrong hotel!”
Carlos then cheerfully posed for the picture I wanted.
Copyright © 2006 (text only) by Louis D. Chirillo