April 17, 2004

A Connecticut Yankee in Santa Anna's Court

I tend to have an overly romantic view of Mexicans because I perceive them as being poorer and more devout than most Americans. Thinking theirs is a country of saints is flawed - all of us are pocked by Original Sin - but leave me my illusions and I'll leave you yours. It's not that there is anything intrinsically good about being poor; it just seems to offers you fewer obstacles to union with God and a greater sense of dependence on Him.

I hike in a park in Central Ohio that is exceedingly popular with Mexicans. So much so, that this Caucasian is in the distinct minority. I often get suspicious, stony-eye'd looks and I want to reassure them... (Fade to music...)

"Greetings my Mexican brothers and sisters!" I say to a family walking in the opposite direction. "I welcome you to the shores of America on behalf of our shared patroness, Mary the Blessed Virgin."

Though I am reading from a prepared script, I try to make it natural by maintaining eye contact as much as possible. I talk slowly in what is called "broken English". But unfortunately they don't even stop or acknowledge me!

I continue up a high ridge and there's a bench where two teenagers are holding each other passionately, but chastely. I know about "Latin lovers" but I also know that as Mexican Catholics they hold to the Magisterium.

"May God bless your union and make it fruitful!" I exclaim. "Remember that the unitive aspect is secondary!". Again, blank looks. I figure perhaps it's because they don't know English. I remind myself to pick up a Spanish phrase book, preferably one with terms like "hypostatic union".

I continue the hike in a more pensive mood. I've not made the connection I sought. I arrive back at the parking lot where some sort of loud Mariachi1 music is coming from the open windows of a vehicle containing two young men in their early 20s. One is wearing an Indians uniform top and the other is shirtless.

"Hello!"

They turn down their stereo.

"Thank you for sharing your music, the fruit of a culture with with roots that go back to the Mayan civilization. Beethoven said that music is more revelatory than philosophy--"

They flipped me the bird as they drove off. I never even got the chance to quote from JPII's "Letter to Artists".
_
1 - Not really Mariachi, but I'm playing an ignorant American in this post (not exactly a stretch). Erik Keilholtz suggests that I was hearing "norteno or banda sinaloense, pure German/Moravian polka/schotisch/vals accordion music sung in Spanish". Yeah, that's what I meant (wink, wink). Erik's reaction reminds me that some posts are here only for my own amusement. :) This post is, of course, fictional - beginning with the word "Greetings"...

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