Cinco de Mayo... A Little Early
It's the first week of May and that always calls for a little Fiesta with the Quilt Groups. Since I just returned from a trip to Mexico, I was ready on Tuesday, to wear my new dress with the embroidered peacock. The crowd at the Community Center was ready for some fun!
Music of Mexico
Flags, Blankets and Dolls
Terry was my biggest contributor, that year. Not only did she bring a beautiful Mexican blanket and a doll in festive dress, she brought her own photographs from when she was young in Mexico. Best of all, she had sewn fabric together and gave everyone a Mexican flag to wave.
I often worry that The Mexican Hat Dance is insulting or just plain cliche, but everyone always loves it.
Instead of putting the sombrero on the floor, I put it on the table.
There are usually a few that can't stay seated and have to dance, while others play maracas.
We laughed about how the music energized us and one woman reminded us that, music has a lot of power! We talked about how music can lift spirits or even make us sad. We talked about how singing can make working easier or make the time go faster. At one point in our discussion about music, a dear woman pointed to the tiny donkey piñata and asked, "Is that little donkey lost?" I have no idea where that came from, but I figured we should include her thought. "Well, he might just be lost. Let's just make up a song about that." And we did right then and there. How I wish I had a recording of the funny song our group came up with.
Props Trigger Stories
Stories of Travel
It was interesting to hear such different recollections of visits to Mexico. Dorothy was delighted to tell about her short visit to Mexico as part of a cruise. Ken said he had a chance to visit Mexico back when he was in the service. I questioned why he shook his head and sort of frowned at the memory. "I was told about the women... who were eager for the servicemen to arrive!" He laughed. Ken is bright and charming and tall, even though he is in his 90's and in a wheel chair. It made me smile to picture him as a very young man, intimidated by these ladies of the night!
Learning Some Spanish
I didn't have time for "Lotteria" in the morning group. They love the bingo-like game and there would have been time for nothing else. But the afternoon group studied the colorful illustrations on the game cards and had fun trying to pronounce the Spanish words. What different approaches.
For the first time ever, I set up the table for a group and nobody came. That felt pretty un-festive! There had been a glitch with the planning. I hadn't been put on the schedule at the assisted living facility. Most of my usual gang was on a day trip and others were involved in another activity. So I packed up my sombrero and all the junk and headed home. That felt strange.
What I Learned: I always feel a little guilty celebrating Cinco de Mayo, since it's really more of a U.S. celebration... an excuse for margaritas. But especially this year, I realized how much my folks with Mexican roots, enjoy the focus on their unique culture. I'm so happy to see how the festive music, bright colors, and the fun talk of food seems to unite us all!
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.