Cinco de Mayo!
My Spanish was better for Fiesta Day, this year. I had just returned from 2 weeks in Guatemala the night before Quilt Groups. Now I know about 12 words in Spanish.
My trip to Guatemala also allowed me to do a little prize shopping. I added to the bracelets and little animals I bought in Mexico last January. Finally I had enough goodies to have prizes for playing Lotteria around the Quilt!
We got down to business with our game. Ramona called out the Spanish words and we finally began to get winners. We played a few rounds so everyone could win at least 2 prizes.
Then it was time for music and that's the favorite with my group at the Center. Margie arrived with a flower in her hair and others "spiced up" with a festive hat or garment to get into the swing of things. The Mexican Hat Dance was the favorite!
Waking up with Maracas
I skipped Lotteria with my next group and went directly to music. The maracas were a huge hit with my after lunch, often sleepy group! Once we "shook" ourselves awake, my suddenly lively group was full of stories. It was good to hear positive memories from these folks who traveled to Mexico as tourists in the 1940's through the 1960's.
One remembered a daring adventure of driving through Mexico. Others remembered the fun of crossing the border from El Paso in Texas or into Tijuana from California. All seemed to recall the thrill of being somewhere exotic and different and full of colorful shopping.
I asked if any remembered anything special that they bought. "Vanilla!" said Mary. "No..." she laughed when I asked if she came back with tequila.
In all groups we had fun listing favorite Mexican dishes. A few of my folks with Mexican roots had wonderful food stories. I loved hearing Tom describe waking up each morning to the clapping sound of his mother's hands making tortillas. He would clap back from his bed to alert her that he was awake!
What might you bring back from Mexico?
We got off on a pinata tangent with my third group, listing all the things that could go wrong when blindfolded kids are invited to swing wooden sticks at colorful candy-filled decorations.
Besides the obvious problems of injury, we cringed over images of kids fighting over the loot or not having enough prizes to go around or concerns about the sensitive child, upset at seeing the beautiful pinata destroyed.
In my final group we couldn't stop laughing at Ken, who loved the pretty Mexican doll in her fancy dress. Dot teased him and he took it well. While we were finishing up with some maracas, we noticed a toddler in the hallway.
We invited her in with her aunt and decided that she was much more exciting than any of the props on our table. She held onto our tinniest maraca as her aunt brought her around to greet each of us. That was a tangent we didn't expect. What a delight to see each face light up when they had their own turn to visit!
What Did I Learn?
It's not about the junk, although it's always fun to share. Our little visitor brought more joy to the Quilt table than any instrument, book or photo! I used to say music was my number one tool, to lift the spirits and spark the memories. I changed my mind. Maybe I need to just borrow a child for each gathering!
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.