10 April 2009

El Sábado Santo

Yesterday I wrote about my Good Friday experiences in García, Nuevo León. Today I thought it would be nice to add what happened on Holy Saturday as well. When I met Padre Humberto for breakfast on Holy Saturday morning he really looked tired from the activities of the day before and I was moving kind of slow myself. I mentioned something about how tired he must be and he said, “Don't worry about me. Tonight we are going to wake up Jesus. Be at the municipal baseball diamond at the edge of town at 9:pm and bring a bell and a candle. You are really going to like this.” I wasn't sure that I completely understood what he was talking about and so after he left I asked our cook, Inocenzia (ee-noh.SEN-seeah), about it an she told me that everyone gets together late in the evening and at midnight they welcome the Resurrection. I guess they figure that Jesus is an early riser. If you will recall from the Bible, the women came to His tomb very early on Easter morning and He was already up and gone. Anyway, according to “Ino” (EE-noh), it is always a very moving event and she told me not to miss it. She asked me how I was going to get there because it was supposed to be quite far from where we were at the parish house. I told her that I wasn't sure that I was going because I was tired and it would end so late at night and I wouldn't want to be out driving around in the wee hours in my old truck. She said “No problem, I'll drive. I'll be here at 8:30 with my husband Martín (mahr-TEEN) and my daughter Juli (HOO-lee) and we can all go in your truck. I'll do the driving and you can just sit back and relax”. “Okay” I said, but little did I know what I was in for.

The three of them showed up at the appointed time and Martín and Juli climbed into the back of the truck. Ino got behind the wheel and I got to ride “shotgun” because it it my truck. She started the engine, floored the accelerator, popped the clutch, and we were off like we were shot out of a cannon. If it wasn't for the stake sides and the high tailgate on the truck bed Juli and Martín would have been left behind lying in the street. We went careening through the streets with Martín and Juli hanging on for dear life and ducking overhanging branches just in time. My heart was in my throat and I tried to yell but nothing came out. Martín kept shouting “Ino, Ino, where are you going?” and Ino shouted back, “I can't talk now! I am very busy!”. Finally I managed to say, “Ino, do you remember where we are supposed to go?” and she said “No, where?”. I said “Go to the “béisbol” field”. She then yelled out the window to Martín, “Hey Martín, which way to the béisbol field?”. He shouted back “a la izquierda” (to the left) and Ino made an immediate ninety degree turn without slowing down and just about rolled us over into a ditch. I could hardly take anymore so I just turned my head away but I still couldn't avoid the sight of pedestrians scrambling out of our way. I began to recite the “Our Father” in Spanish and Ino said, Whatza matter, you no like my driving?”. I said, “I'll tell you later Ino when you aren't so busy”. Thank God that we finally arrived at the béisbol field intact and after we came to a lurching halt that almost pitched eighteen year old Juli over the roof of the cab and onto the hood. Ino shut off the engine and looked me right in the eye and said, “Well?”. I said, “You did a very nice job, Ino. As a matter of fact I think you drive well enough to drive a taxi in Monterrey or maybe even a bus”. She beamed at me with pride and yells up to Martín who wasn't looking too well, “You hear that Martín? Señor Bob said I did very good!”.

The ceremonies at the baseball diamond began as the stars became visible in the evening sky and everything was nice. The blessing of the new fire and the holy water was very similar to what I remember from my days as an altar boy at Our Lady of Grace Parish back in Chicago. The only difference was that here we had “Matlechines” (indigenous dancers) and we welcomed the Resurrection by ringing bells and singing and shouting. The only hitch was that the sacristan and one of the monaguillos (altar boys) decided that it would be “cool” if they released some pigeons while all of this was going on. They had spent a couple days trapping pigeons of the roof of the parish house and when everyone started shouting and ringing bells to summon Jesus from the tomb they released the birds in a grand gesture of peace and harmony. The problem was that pigeons don't fly at night so the pigeons took off running around in circles and in the dim light they looked like rats. This caused a number of ladies to jump up on their chairs and scream. If Jesus was watching all of this from Heaven perhaps He saw us and took note that the people of García sure are a lively bunch. Well, I can attest to that. They sure are!

No comments:

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.