Stage 1 of Coming of Age in Mexico: Yoli’s First Communion
Please click on the photos to enlarge them and to read captions.
Mothers and daughters.
The procession of lovelies
An itchy business.
Then all those candles snuffed.
The happy crew at comida at Viva Mexico.
Yoli immediately shed her itchy hoop underskirt. It was unbelievably scratchy!!
Yoli and cousins
All the first communioners
Although I arrived ten minutes before Yoli’s first communion service began, Yolanda ( her mother and my housekeeper/friend of 18 years) and family must have arrived very early for they were in the second row of the church. Not willing to walk that long aisle and find there was no room left in their pew, I sat near the back, a choice I was grateful for once the incense dispersal started. Luckily, I was in an area between two open doors, so ventilation was better than it would have been trapped in the front where most of the action with the censer was taking place. Nonetheless, I interrupted the mood with a few sneezes. The elderly lady next to me was shocked to discover I wasn’t a Catholic. Other than that, the service went smoothly except for the mother in front of me, who kept laying her daughter’s candle on the top of the pew in front of her. All three times, it was mistakenly knocked off to the floor when the woman sitting in that pew sat down again after rising for some part of the ritual. After the hour-long service, I took Yoli and her family out to Viva Mexico for lunch. Since the family of Juan Pablo’s girlfriend had three boys doing their first communion as well, they were invited to come along so our table grew from ten to eighteen, counting Luz Maria, age 6 months, whose mother Alejandra I counseled at a summer camp for children at these very tables five years ago. In case you are curious, HERE are photos from that camp. Alejandra is the graceful dancer in Levis and camp T-shirt, second from the right. Time passes too quickly.The next time I show photos of Yoli in a long white dress and veil, she’ll probably be a bride!! Hopefully ten years or more from now.
I bought Yolanda one of those new (rather expensive) self- wringing mops at Costco. It is microfiber and the strings were looped at the end with a twist handle so you could just circulate the handle and the mop would wring itself without having to put your hands on the wet part. The other day I asked how she liked it and she said it was fine, but she had cut the ends off so it was like her old mop. Oy vey!!! At any rate, it is just as good a toy for the cats either way. Here Frannie does a little dance with Yolanda. Usually, she puts them out when she mops, but thought you’d like to see the fun.
I write notes three times weekly in my limping Spanish for Yolanda, not because I won’t see her, but because I probably won’t remember by then what I need to tell her. She has asked me to order more vacuum cleaner bags from the states. I use the words I know, and tonight the word for vacuum has escaped my memory. So I leave this note on the kitchen island, taped to a filter I’ve found in the laundry room:
“Is this the bag for the machine for clean the floor?” Es este la bolsa para la machina para limpiar el piso?
Then, taped to the stove top:
I’m sorry, Yolanda, but a potato broke in my oven and it is very bad! I worked for one hour and a half but it is still bad now.” Lo siento, Yolanda, pero una papa romper in me estufa y es mui malo! Trabajo por una hora media pero es malo ahora.
A potato broke in my oven? I don’t know the word for exploded, but I think it must put a bit of levity into her morning to try to interpret what I have said.
Later, she will go home and report today’s pleasure. “The senora? Today she broke a potato in the oven. She tried to clean it for awhile, then went to write another poem.”
There will be no rancor in her statement, for the humor of the unlearned words that still stand between our total comprehension of each other will be gentled by the total understanding that compensates for those lost words.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Handwritten.” When was the last time you wrote something by hand? What was it?
Now, go HERE to read the poem based on this essay that I have written for dVerse Poets on Sept. 11, 2018!