From Thanksgiving amidst the red rocks of the great Southwest to the Jardin at midnight in San Miguel de Allende in one blog post, I have some ‘splainin’ to do. One of my intentions after retiring was to finally get the blog into “real time,” and we see how that has gone. I can’t seem to get caught up, no matter how hard I try. Do I dare make this a resolution? No, writing is a passionate hobby for me, and I do not want “timing” to serve as a task master. It stifles what little creativity I have found in my dominant left brain.
But there are events in life that are best served “hot off the press,” one of which is New Year’s Eve. If I keep to the correct chronological order, I will be posting it just in time for a rant against Valentine’s Day. 😉
Long before my Dad ‘s health took such a rapid decline, I put down full payment on a house in San Miguel de Allende, MX for the holidays. My brother Don and I have a family tradition to see in the New Year from Mexico since 2007. So with my parents in good spirits and excellent health last November, I booked and paid for the house with every confidence that our good luck would continue. But the day after Thanksgiving, fate took a cruel twist, and my parent’s unprecedented streak of near-perfect health ran out.
Don, being the loving and generous brother that he is, insisted that I begin the trip without him, even getting up at 8:00am to drive me to the bus station!
Mom seconded the motion, with her typical encouragement to “Go! Live your life! Don’t worry about me!” 😉 But for several days now, instead of the usual “happy holidays,” the weight of guilt has been tipping the scale toward disappointment and concern for my loved ones back in Texas, dealing with the pain and uncertainty that comes in the final stages of a 93 year old’s life.
It was a busy day in San Miguel with last minute errands to run before the holiday. Visiting with friends at an early afternoon party given by expatriates from the UK, ringing in the New Year with overflowing champagne glasses and fireworks over London’s Big Ben via cable at “midnight” London time (6:00pm Mexico time,) left me with a little afternoon hangover.
So when it came time to walk down the hill to the Jardin (pronounced “har-DEEN,” Spanish for garden, which in this case is synonymous with the town square) for the celebration at midnight, I had second thoughts. It would be so easy just to slip into bed with a book, and call it a night. But life is all about making memories, and what do I want to remember as an end to one of the best years I have had in a decade? Besides, I need to go enjoy the experience because my brother Don cannot.
So I set the iphone alarm for 10:30pm to wake me up from my “disco nap.” I put on my oldest jeans, because I learned the hard way that you don’t wear nice clothes where it rains down sparks and fireworks. (An asbestos suit and protective eyewear would be appropriate New Years Eve attire here!) And I made my third walk down the hill for the day to join in one of my favorite traditions of all time…
Everyone comes out to see in the New Year in San Miguel, from the young to the young at heart. There is music, dancing, and merrymaking on all four corners of the Jardin, culminating with a fireworks display at midnight so up close and personal that it would thrill all but the most foolhardy of pyromaniacs!
Another of my favorite Mexico traditions is a steaming hot ear of Mexican street corn, enjoyed right after midnight. The hot corn on the cob is dipped in “crema,” a sort of mayonnaise/sour cream combo with lime, then rolled in shredded cotija cheese (similar to parmesan,) with a final dusting of cayenne pepper. So delicious! I always rationalize it as the perfect midnight snack to stave off a hangover. I have no hangover this year, as my last toast was “God Save the Queen” at 6:00pm. But alas, I must keep the tradition alive.
As for what 2015 holds for me and my family, the only thing certain is more uncertainty. But for tonight, I am happy to be in the Jardin.