Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. I have an interesting memory of this holiday. When I was in college, I had a hispanic roommate. She belonged to the Chicano Student Organization. I was allowed to work on their fund raisers, becouse of my roommate Connie. The group would have a dance with a live band. We would make frijoles , tamales, Mexican rice and beef pieces with burritos to sell and make money for the group. When the food was gone, we were allowed to join the dancing.
I was the only gringo in the place. I drew much attention from the young men. They talked sweetly to me, but in Spanish.
Finally, Connie went with me to the ladies roon. She explained, “Those young men are talking trash to you.”
“But why?” I responded
“They want to know what they can get away with if you don’t know Spanish.”
“What can I do?” I lamented.
Connie thought for a moment and said, “I will sit next to you at the table, If I kick you… slap whoever is talking to you.”
We returned to the dance, I was approached by a handsome young man. He smiled and spoke softly.
I felt my friend kick me and I slapped that man. He was shocked and moved away. This happened several more times before the consensus was I was to be respected because I understood their language. I was asked to dance with no bad language or groping. I had learned a lesson. Sometimes is in the meaning of the words not in the way they are spoken.
The following poem will appear in Spirit Fire Reveiw in May. I dedicate it to Connie and all her friends.
The Rosary Tree
by Carol Farnsworth
In an old pueblo church’s garden,
stands a small mesquite tree, a bench and a grotto protecting the Blessed Mother statue. The tree was festooned with many rosaries. Sunlight reflected like tears on the beads.
Large and small, colored stones and crystals, hand made and elaborate, they hung as silent witnesses.
A long black beaded one for the father who prayed on his way to work. Smooth polished wooden beads for the mother,
who prayed on her morning walks.
Two small first communion rosaries were interwoven for the twins who received them as gifts.
I watched as a teenager stood up from the bench and placed her rosary composed of rose quartz on a high limb of the mesquite.
I asked her, “Who are your prayers for?”
She quietly replied, “For my Abuela, her name was Roseta”.
This tree of memories of lost friends, neighbors and family has grown heavy with the prayers and memories of them this year.