Canutito was sitting en la mesa de la cocina. It would soon be el cumpleaños de grama y él estaba trabajando; working hard, escribiendo un poem to give to Grama Cuca. As he was doing so, Grampo Caralampio came into the kitchen a ver qué estaba haciendo el niño. Canutito estaba concentrando to the point que he didn’t see grampo entrar en la cocina.

“¿Qué estás haciendo, m’hijo?” grampo asked him sentándose at the table junto de él. “Parece como que estás haciendo something very serious.”

“O grampo,” Canutito began, “I am sitting here trying to come up con algo complimentario to say to Grama Cuca en su birthday. What would you say if you had to write un poema?”

Pues that would really depend on quién era la mujer, m’hijo,” grampo retorted. “Is she young and single, o es mujer casada? Is she a widow or a nasty old hag? —Todas tienen different qualities.”

“What do you mean when you say que todas tienen cualidades diferentes, grampo?” Canutito asked him.

“Well, as I recall,” grampo reminisced, “Había un poema in the olden days that said: “Las solteras son de oro. Las casadas son de plata. Las viudas son de acero, y la viejas de hojalata.”

Canutito stared at grampo as he translated: “All single girls are made of gold; the married ones of silver bright. The widowed wives are made of steel; old bags, like rusty foil, shine at night.”

“Tú eres un good translator, m’hijo,” grampo said. “Maybe you should give ese poem a tu grama.”

“I don’t think so, grampo,” Canutito said to him. “La grama no es una golden single girl o una silver, married woman ni una steel widow. And I certainly don’t want her to think que she is una rusty old bag de hojalata. Pero tell me, grampo, how did you propose to grama cuando ella era una hottie?”

“En esos días,” grampo said, sitting back en la silla and looking up hacia el cielo, “I snuggled up to her cuando estábamos parked allá en el Blueberry Hill watching las borregas y le dije: ‘Allí viene saliendo la luna, vestida de seda negra. Anda, dile a su madre que si quiere ser mi suegra’. Y eso es como I won her over.”

Canutito snickered as he translated: “The full moon is now waxing, dressed in her black, silk shawl. Go ask your mother, won’t you, to become my mom–in-law. Ese es un romantic poem, grampo pero I just need algo que diga ‘Happy Birthay, that’s all.”

Pues, the only thing que I can think of, m’hijo,” grampo said, “es de un poema that came embroidered in a cushion que truje de Korea. It said: ‘A May basket for mother, I filled it today with lots and lots of love and flowers bright and gay.’ ”

Canutito thought por un momento and then he said, “I think que yo puedo usar ese poema, grampo; all I have to do is to put my own slant on it. He began to translate it en su mente until it sounded more to his liking: ‘Un canasto pa’ mi grama, todo lo llené hoy, con flores muy bonitas y el amor que yo le doy’.

“Yes, I believe que éste es el poema that I want to give to grama!” he exclaimed; “It doesn’t talk about solteras o casadas o viudas and especially not about las viejas who look like pieces of rusty old hojalata. I doesn’t mention a la luna coming out dressed en seda negra nor about mothers-in-law. Nope, I like this one. I believe que la tercera vez is the charm…

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