A decade ago I designed this stained glass family coat-of-arms to represent our mixed heritage: Cuba and the American South. It proudly hangs in our living room, providing a welcome – bienvenida – to all who visit ut. 

It measures 32” x 34”. It is my design, but the actual stained glass was constructed by the artist Debbie Russell from Fulton, MD., who also provided indispensable design advice.

The piece combines the beauty and grace of our homeland, Cuba; and the serenity and majesty of the American South.

The piece intewinds the palm trees and pine trees; the mango and the magnolia; and, oh the colorful Appalachian mountains and crystal white sand and blue waters of the Cuban beaches.

There’s also that smallest of all birds, the powerful zun-zun; the sun setting (or rising?); and the hat and cigar waiting to be picked up, reclaimed, whatever – just don’t let it smother out lest hope can not be re-ignited.

Two amazing heritages, full of zest and zeal; damaged – not broken – by historical mistakes; with a people from which our familia cometh, and a people that fed us and formed us. 

And so we live on. Fighting on. Protesting on. Dreaming on. As if looking through a stained glass.