This was it! Today was the day! December 21st, the day of the Posada [Christmas party] for the old folks of Nestipac, the next pueblo over from me. You know, the one I’ve written about before.
It was a lovely day here in Jocotepec. Bright and sunny and maybe 78 degrees. So thank heavens that the old folks had a nice chair to sit on and a shade tree or two under which to sit.
Ironically enough, our group was giving out sweaters and blankets. But, trust me, at some point in our upcoming winter season, the old folks are gonna be thankful that they got them!
What a great event my friend Phyllis and her right hand woman, Mari, put on! Mari is truly a marvel. Not only did she have her list of who had signed up to attend and, like Santa, was checking it twice, she also seemed to know every person that was there. As well she should, I guess, since this is her church and her neighborhood.
Nonetheless, Mari and her granddaughter, Dany, were at the gate into the courtyard of the church checking off names as the old folks entered:
This was important because we had a limited number of gifts to give out and Mari and Phyllis were determined to make sure that every gift went to someone who deserved it. This was not your “black Friday, open the gates” mentality.
When you came through that gate, you were recognized as an individual. And isn’t that a nice concept! “Please, come in, we’ve been expecting you.” When is the last time you experienced that!
And so the afternoon began. The “helpers” consisted of not only Mari and Dany, but a group of young women, a pair of folklorico dancers, and a few gringos. The young women involved also totally impressed me! They were all pretty young girls who likely had offers to do something more fun on a Wednesday afternoon when school is out, and yet there they were. Helping old folks to their seats, and then entertaining them, and serving them food:
First, the cups were filled with atole, a popular hot beverage here in our part of Mexico.
Then came the homemade tamales:
While the ancianos enjoyed their food and drink, a couple of the local young folks entertained us all with traditional Mexican folklorico dances:
And Phyllis and Las Muchachas [so named by Mari] gave us a great rendition of “Mexico Lindo”:
Others of the old folks continued the entertainment with singing and/or dancing. This lovely woman sang a song with I don’t know how many verses, and never missed a word:
These two great gals not only sang for us, but then grabbed the young male folklorico dancer and demanded that he dance with them, as well, which he happily obliged to do!
And, finally, as some of the old folks were getting a little tuckered out:
the distribution of the gifts came! There were ‘door prizes’, like the little stuffed lamb above, and for each and every attendee, a gift bag containing a light blanket, a warm shirt, sweater, or jacket, and a little something more, like a Hot Wheels car in the guys’ bags and socks for the ladies:
It was a great day! I thought at the time that the nicest thing was all the hugs and “Feliz Navidad” wishes that we all received from the ancianos, but in the past couple of days, I’ve heard from Phyllis about some other, possibly even better things.
For instance…..during the entertainment section of the Posada, Mari had three of the women from the audience and one man come up front. Everything was, of course, conducted in Spanish, so I didn’t quite understand what was going on, but it struck me as kind of a combination of “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game” and “The Longest Wed Game” [if there were ever such a thing].
At any rate, the gentleman was asked to pick out his sweetheart. He thought about it for a minute:
And then wisely chose his wife of many years:
And, to the chants of “Beso! Beso!” [“Kiss! Kiss!”] from the crowd he did just that.
What we all learned later from Phyllis is that Mari said to the man, “Tell your wife how you feel about her.” To which he responded something like “I’m here for you and I always will be.” Her eyes filled with tears and the kiss followed. This, apparently, from a man who has been a good husband for many, many years, but not one known to express his feelings.
Another story from Phyllis after the fact is about the fellow in the center of this picture in the white shirt:
He had already been up to the front “stage” previously and sung part of a lovely song. But after our meal, he and a few others came up to the stage and were asked to dance. One of the teenage helpers came up to me and asked if my heart would allow me to dance. Now, I am presuming that she was asking if my heart was healthy enough to do so….but maybe not, given what followed.
As a naturally graceless dancer and somebody who certainly has not done so in many, many years, I was hesitant, but I decided “what the heck” and joined in, with the gentleman in the white shirt as my partner. He was graceful and I was like a dancing hippo, but we did spend at least five minutes dancing together although he never touched me and never looked me in the eyes. Probably embarrassment.
This morning Phyllis sent us another email about this man. Last night a couple of the fellow’s grandchildren came to Mari’s door, looking very serious. Fearing the worst, Mari asked them what they wanted. They had heard, they said, that their grandfather was singing and dancing at the Posada, and wanted to know if that was true.
“Yes,” responded Mari, “and he did both very well.” The grandchildren were astounded. They told Mari that in all the years they had known him, a man with some serious lung and heart problems, they had never heard or seen him sing or dance.
Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, and happy holidays to you all! If you’d like to see more pictures from the Posada, I have some more on my Picasa website: