Sunday, December 16, 2007

Anniversary Waltz

This is my fella dancing with Ventura. Ventura and Antonio are padrinos of our housekeeper, Hilda, and they were celebrating 50 years of marriage yesterday. We were invited, so we got all gussied up and Jeanette took our picture before we left.

The mass where they renewed their vows began at noon in the church in Guayabitos. The family had it all decked out for the occasion with big bouquets of yellow, gold and white mums.

Larry and I slipped in early, and I caught this view of the "bride" getting some last minute support from her family and friends.

Groom Antonio was waiting at the altar, while the priest came down the aisle from the altar to welcome the wedding party into la casa de Dios. No ushers. The family trooped up the aisle right behind Ventura. (Up the aisle? Down the aisle? Which is which?) But in front of Ventura were her godparents, or padrinos, the elegant looking couple in white. This term carries a lot of weight in Mexico. Not only is the godparent charged with the religious education of a child, but is also the designated "protector" or "patron" throughout life.

There were cute little girls passing out recuerdos -- souvenirs -- of the event. . .

and one young lady who was much more interested in us than in what was going on down front.

After the service, it was picture taking time. Everyone had their photo taken with Ventura and Antonio. Including us. But Hilda couldn't work my camera. The blonde in the yellow dress (you'll see her in the reception pictures, she's a granddaughter of Ventura's and quite a knockout) promised to email a copy of one she took. We'll see! Anyway, here's the one I took of Hilda and Chano, Ventura and Antonio.

After the mass, everyone piled into cars and we did the honking, shouting, whooping thing as we headed to the reception in La Colonia. First we made a detour into La PeƱita going all the way up the main avenue and back down the other side. (There's that up and down thing again.) Larry had to keep honking his deedly-deedly horn, so people would know the gringos bringing up the rear in a Hummer were definitely part of the party.

Ventura and Antonio's house had a nine-piece mariachi band from Las Varas waiting on the front porch. There were four violins, two trumpets, a bass guitar, an alto guitar, and a regular guitar. They were great! They sang for two hours straight.

A new load of gravel had been put down in the street in front of the house where the tables and chairs were set up. Wedding guests made a roadblock with their cars to protect the party space. Too bad, if you wanted to leave early. We didn't. Unlike most of the other ladies present, I was wearing comfortable shoes. I've found that killer cute heels are death on cobblestones, but that doesn't seem to phase women in Mexico.

This little girl has a long gravelly road ahead of her. Get used to it, Honey. Those Mary Janes are like cuddly slippers next to what you've got waiting in a few years.

The menu consisted of birria (beef stew). That's it. Lots and lots of birria, cooked for a long time over a wood fire in the lot beside their house. People ate it wrapped in tortillas spread with salsa, garnished with raw onion and topped with a squeeze of lime. If not elegant, at least simple.

Larry talked at length with Antonio and Ventura's one son, Jesus. They call him Chuy -- pronounced "chewy." He was down from L.A. where he is a naturalized citizen. He left his mother and father and seven sisters to head to el otro lado -- the other side -- when he was seventeen. It is thanks to him that they have this house. He talked about the birria, and the difference between here and the States, where he worked for Ralph's. "We killed this cow yesterday," he said. "In the States, by law you've got to wait ninety days after it's killed before you can sell or eat beef. No wonder people get sick from it. Here, we wouldn't think of eating any beef over two days old." Ahem. Have to say. I've sort of turned into a fish or fin person myself. Conversations like this don't make me really long for a burger -- on either side.

Well, there was also beer. Lots and lots of beer. And refrescos, soda pop "for the old women and children." And, of course, a commemorative bottle of tequila on each table.

Larry stood in line and pinned a bill to the back of Ventura's dress and claimed his dance. The women were doing the same with Antonio, but I was deep in conversation. Besides, someone had to take pictures, right?

Long shadows in the streets when it was finally time for us to head home. There's nothing like a wedding celebration, especially for a long-lived marriage, to make people appreciate family and fidelity.

1 comment:

susie said...

Looks like Larry kept his promise to get 'spiffed up' and Susan, your face looks absolutely radiant!
What a great celebration for you all..
Thinking of you guys often :)