Sweet Mexican Moments
By Carol A. Curtis
Two hours. In just two hours, I was again reminded of the reasons I love Mexico. At 9:15 a.m. on a recent Friday morning, I set out to buy hamburger from the local meat market. Exiting my gate, I noticed the street had been wet down. Given we had no rain the previous night, I knew this meant something was soon going to take place on our road. Seeing a neighbor, I asked what was happening this morning. A procession to honor Good Friday would be coming through about 11:00 a.m. I knew what this meant. I needed to clean the sidewalk outside my home.
As I went back to get the broom and dustpan, a few children came to help. Quickly we swept up the leaves and dirt, picked up the evening’s litter, placed palm fronds on the gate, and put fresh flowers by the wall mounted Virgin of Guadalupe. I paid those who helped a few pesos and started down the street to get the hamburger.
At the corner, I came across a truck-bed float. Milling around were children in costumes excitedly waiting for the procession. I realized that the procession was going to be a communal Stations of the Cross. This was one of the stations that would be a tableau when the crowd came to it. A close examination showed several more trucks and costumed children tucked into the side streets.
As I approached the meat market, I saw that I was out of luck. Doors closed … no hamburger today. Pausing to consider my options, one of my helpers came down and knocked on the door. He called to those inside to tell them that someone wanted to buy meat. The lovely proprietor came out and asked how much I needed. I explained that I would love to get a kilo of hamburger, but I realized she was closed today. I promised to come back tomorrow. She asked if I could wait an hour and she’d get the meat for me. Sure, no problem. A passing truck slowed down at her request; her husband leaped into it; and off he went. She asked my helper if he’d take the meat to me when it came. Then she sent me home to wait for the personal delivery of tonight’s dinner.
As promised, shortly after 11 a.m. singing echoed through the street. The people stopped at one of the Stations of the Cross, and the priest led them in a prayer. Then the crowd moved toward my house. As they passed by, you could see several generations joined together in prayer and song on a day that is deeply rooted in their personal, religious beliefs. The children in costume quickly got into the tableau that represented the next station and stayed that way through the priest’s prayers. Once the large crowd had completely passed by, the children gave high fives and took off the uncomfortable helmets and hats.
And at 11:15 a.m. my hamburger arrived delivered by a neighborhood boy who had respectfully waited for the procession to pass him before he dashed toward the popsicle I held. Looking at the children, I was reminded of my son. As a U.S. school administrator, I knew he had just dismissed the student body for the day – early dismissal in honor of Good Friday is traditional. But rather than the students spending a few minutes in prayer or thinking about how they might improve their community, I know from experience that most teenagers are off to the mall or group couch surfing and posting tons of new selfies.
Any wonder I love Mexico moments?
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com