This month he will turn 90 years old and he is in good health that allows him to continue making everything from wine barrels to guitars in the living room of his son-in-law’s house in Arafo, where he lives alone, after his wife recently died. He has two children and a 101-year-old older brother who resides in a nursing home in Candelaria. His name is José García Pérez, but he is known as Joseph Work, a nickname that fits him like a glove, because he has done nothing but work. “I started helping my parents to sulfate, water and dig potatoes, because before there was nothing other than goats, mountains and manure, not like now, there are other ingredients in life,” he says, showing a five-peseta bill, his first salary, “by watering a farm in El Volcán for six hours several days and walking there barefoot.”
Joseph Work Arafo’s handyman is considered, capable of fixing anything from a motor to turning pieces of wood into utensils, he has even made his own musical instruments that he continues to play masterfully today, “although I never went through the band or studied music theory”, as many others in a town so attached to music. He played the guitar in the Estrella orchestra: “We went out to play on a Saturday and didn’t come back until Sunday,” he says, recalling the long journeys along the South Highway, the only one there was then. “It took us four hours to get to Guía de Isora, with curves and curves, a strong disaster”.
But, in addition to being a musician, he also dedicated himself to showing films in the two cinemas of the municipality as an operator, while combining that job with that of a canal maker, getting to know each of the galleries in the Güímar Valley, where he became scared, he admits, when The Gallery of Piedra Cumplida fell from 4,800 meters. “I never thought the gallery would lock up, but it fell down and we got out of there through a little hole like ferrets.”
But, curiously, of all the jobs he has carried out in his long life, José El Curro remains with that of a bricklayer: “I used to love putting up bathrooms and laying the tiles without numbering, in my own way; everyone was delighted with the work, ”he says proudly, while showing a ration card from 1949 or photos of himself as a magician in the 1950s. José is a living history of the 20th century Arafo, and a good part of that story is told in verse, “verses that I keep in my head; I don’t write anything, ”he says.
He says he has no secrets, although he points to his excellent white wine, to remain in such good health, although he emphasizes that “I was always a good cook, I loved to fix partridges, because I was a hunter, one of the good ones, the best there was in Arafo. It left Arafo and reached La Orotava, because just so you know, before all the roads went from sea to summit, there were at least four, and now there are no other roads than the Las Arenas volcano and it already has a chain ”.