Tuesday, September 19

La Fiesta de Libertad

I am falling in love with a trio of old Arizona mining towns. Their crumbling, sideboard buildings with the occasional second story porch featuring remnants of gingerbread posts are like eye candy to my artist's eye. The rugged, high desert terrain and huge, open sky is the realm of dainty mud swallows, hawks, or regal black ravens and the not so regal vulture. The ever looming mountains of mine tailings are part of a recently initiated "reclamation project"; the stark black tailings now covered by a light colored stone over which new grass is growing.

Claypool seems to be the only town with an appropriate name, the other two have some explaining to do: Globe and Miami. The highway threads slowly around western store fronts and boarded up boom-town motels sadly past their glory. As the mines shut down one by one in the 70's, the families moved out. Squatters and social out-casts with harleys and tattoos moved into the abandoned old rooms. The town council is still working on trying to clean things up.

Mexican Independence Day offered a grand Fiesta in the old town Miami park last Saturday, the 16th of September. We went to join the celebration and gather resources for my Spanish class report on the subject. I attempted to speak the mother tongue to everyone I encountered. However, most of the vendors and participants were Anglo or Indian. The party was laughably small and almost ran out of food. It felt more like a family reunion, and we looked forward to the start of the "World Famous Corrida de Chihuahuas".

I hit pay dirt in a nuevo amigo by the name of Pablo Cruz, a native son of Miami who traveled the world in the U.S. service and returned home to stay. He apologized for his "Spanglish", and happily continued his life story for us. He referred repeatedly to his wife Yolanda with obvious affection. He told me my Spanish was very good. I was thankful for the little white lie.

He also told me the history of Mexico's 2 Independence Days, Cinco de Mayo & the 16th of September. He got his facts backwards - instructing us that the Battle of Puebla was the break from Spain instead of France. He breezily admitted his error and confirmed that no one he knew observed any traditions for "El Dia De Libertad"... in fact, this was their very first time to attend the Fiesta.

After so much heated anticipacion and walking around rat-sized little yapping dogs that had been painted with racing stripes by their equally eccentric owners, we had only a fleeting glimpse of Chihuahua rear ends IF they were coaxed to race at all. Many refused, in spite of the high-pitched pleadings from their biker daddy or roundish earth mother in a mumu and flowered hat- squatting at the finish line squeaking a favorite fluffy toy for little dogs named "Zorro Mata", "Flash Tafoya" or "Pinky" or "Sweetums".

We shook hands with Pablo Cruz (a great band from the 70's)and exchanged our "vaya con Dios". We left with a little sunburn, some Navajo jewelry, digital photos and a kiss on my hand by one of the strolling cantantes.

Viva Miami.

1 comment:

two forks said...

viva! viva! viva! mexico!

do you remember i arrived in nealtican on the festival day? it is a big, big deal there. we ate tamales for breakfast, lunch and dinner for about 3 weeks.

i really miss me-hee-co.