A colleague of mine is from a large family that emigrated legally from Mexico 30-odd years ago. Her family is close; they spend much time together on the weekends. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting members of her gregarious family. They remind me of vacations I took and conferences I attended; Zacatecas, Ixtapa, Cozumel, Taxco, Mexico City, and Acapulco [pre-drug lords] were glorious experiences. United in my co-worker is the exuberance, the friendliness of the people I met over my years of travel to this sunny country south of the border. The sadness is that she is now apprehensive about traveling to her native land because of the random violence. She and her family yearn to travel south, to partake once more of the swaying rhythms and breezes Mexico exudes, the Mexico they remember.
Her oldest sister makes tamales that put both Mexicans and gringos over the moon. These tamales remind me of leisurely late night dinners spent listening to the waves lap over the shore in the coastal towns, and our talking long into the night. The echo of soft laughter from lovers strolling along the beach punctuated my reverie as I listened to the soothing rush of water over the sand. Sipping tequila sunrises long into the night under a painted sky of stars and moonlight lulled me into the cradle of beauty that was, and I am sure still very much is, Mexico. The people who make up the grandeur of her culture, not only the late writer Carlos Fuentes, poet Octavio Paz, and current filmmaker, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, but the non-famous, like my friend’s sister who keeps the dream of Mexico alive through her homemade tamales.
Tomorrow I will buy those tamales and dream of the Land of Manana.
Ciao for now.