Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Everybody Loves Cinco de Mayo

ketchup with us
I am participating in Mel and Michele's Ketchup With Us which is allowing us to link up for the last(?!!!) time.  I regret that I've been too busy to write anything in a while, but I wanted to say goodbye and to offer a piece I wrote about a year ago in honor of Mexico's Independence Day (September 16).  I hope to see you guys soon!

As I listened to the crowd shout: “Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!” on Mexico's Independence Day, I wondered why most people think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence day.  
“El Grito de la Indepencia” (the Cry of Independence) was first heard in the small town of Delores, Mexico on September 16, 1810.  The actual date of Mexico’s independence from Spain did not occur until September 28, 1821, over a decade later; however, like the U.S., it is the date of the declaration of independence that is celebrated. 

So, what is Cinco de Mayo?  That date commemorates the improbable Mexican victory over the much larger French army on May 5, 1862 in the Battle of Puebla. Indeed, some said the Mexicans were doomed on the day they took on the French and it wasn’t until four years later that the French finally withdrew from Mexico.

While Cinco de Mayo is a day of celebration, it is not a Mexican national holiday, nor is it widely celebrated in Mexico.  It is mainly celebrated by Mexicans who live in the state of Puebla (hooray for the home team!) and, of course, “sympathetic” Americans who enjoy pounding down a few beers in support of the “cause.”  

Ok then, why is Cinco de Mayo such a big deal?  As I pictured all those gringos downing their Coronas with limes jammed in the bottlenecks, I started wondering whether Corona was hoping to promote sales and created this “national holiday”.  After all, didn’t some greeting card company invent Mother’s and Father’s Days?  And it dawned on me that, “Dieciséis de Septiembre” (September 16) is not nearly as catchy as, “Cinco de Mayo.”

Ok, Corona, tell us the truth.  It was a big marketing campaign, right?  I can picture those big inflated Corona bottles bouncing around every Mexican restaurant on May 5th.  It’s cool, you can tell us.  Everybody loves Cinco de Mayo.   

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Driving Lesson

Grace slid into the driver’s seat and I sat, uneasily, next to her on the passenger side.  On the previous two Sunday mornings, her mom had taken Grace for her first driving lessons in the grocery store parking lot. But now, it was my job to take her for her first “on the road” lesson.

I had assumed that her mom would have continued the lessons since she is an “in charge” kind of person and was a very involved parent. Vicky was self assured and confident in everything she did; but, it turned out, she was nervous about her baby driving on the road.  But Grace shouldn’t have felt badly, her mom didn’t like my driving either. 

I chose another Sunday morning for Grace’s lesson, hoping that there would be little traffic on the road.  Things went well for the first few blocks. We turned out of the driveway and headed north a few blocks.  She turned left and drove a couple more blocks.   

As we proceeded down the street, I noticed that there were several cars stopped ahead of us at the next intersection.  Grace didn’t slow down.  Thinking I should not overreact, I said calmly: ‘You need to slow down honey.” She hit the brakes suddenly and let out a long sigh.

I used this opportunity to explain that she needed to anticipate what was happening on the road ahead to avoid having to make sudden stops. Grace responded:  “Well, if you’re going to be all over me like that, this driving lesson thing isn’t going to work.”

I was a little surprised by her reaction, although I shouldn’t have been.  She always knew just what to say to send me over the edge.  In a huff, I threatened, “Yeah, maybe this isn’t going to work. If you can’t listen to me, we’re going to have to get you a private instructor.”  To which, she uttered her classic comeback:  “Whatever.”

I wrote this for the Week 109 Trifecta Writing Challenge where we are to write a 33-333 word composition using the word, “whatever”, in the context of indicating that something which is said or done is not important.

I’m not sure whether my entry technically meets the third definition of “whatever”, as an adverb, since it is not modifying a verb, an adjective or another adverb. I’ve used this word in the now colloquial single word sentence, which is how many people, especially teenagers, actually speak. If I had used this word in the traditional way, in a full sentence, it would have been stated as “Whatever you want.”, which, I believe would qualify as an adverb.  

Your comments are appreciated.