It was meant to be a party in celebration of Cinco de Mayo...
|Writer's Cramp: NEW PROMPT: The Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862, is NOT Mexican Independence Day. Though it is a Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo is also celebrated widely in the U.S.
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, write a FUNNY story or poem about a Cinco de Mayo party. Include these items in your story: margaritas, a mystery guest, a pinata, a cranky child, and a Scottish kilt ...
It was May 5th and I was telling the story of the Mexican Cinco de Mayo. Twenty second graders were gathered around my seat, sitting like Indians, or perched up on knees edging closer as I explained about the French occupation of Mexico. Eyes were growing large with fascination, questions were pouring out, and then Carlos fell over on top of Katrina.
I pulled out the map and the children studied it, looking to see where France was, attempting to understand why people would sail from there to Mexico and then demand to be king and his court of followers in a land they'd never lived in. The children laughed as I told them the story of the mystery guest who'd created mole as a joke, adding chili powder to chocolate, and how instead of gagging and begging for water, the court had loved it.
The children's eyes grew big as they studied the pictures in the book I was showing them. Golden-hued margaritas were sprinkled here and there and marigolds of orange and mustard-yellow were in a scene from Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) which showed the family eating their beloved favorite, the mole.
It was clear my students were intrigued. As their eyes studied the picture, Sammy identified another flower, the sunflowers because of their chocolate brown centers.
“Si, mole–brown,” said Carlos, giggling so hard, he once again toppled over onto Katrina. I was just about to speak sharply to him, to warn him to control his giggles, when the school principal chose that moment to dash in for a quick observation.
It was Mrs. McGregor’s job to see if learning was taking place in the classroom at every moment of the day. My students were quite used to seeing her dart in and out with her clipboard, the pen busy checking off what activity I was engaged in, whether there were posted rules and consequences, and if the children were on task. Normally the students would have pretended not to notice her, as they had been taught, but the principal suddenly interrupted me to ask about the Scottish kilt I’d worn the day before.
The children’s eyes swung back and forth between the principal and me like so many batted piñatas hanging on ropes. They were fascinated by this gem of conversation.
I sighed and explained to Mrs. McGregor that my family had never been Campbells, but that I’d simply fallen in love with the beautiful blue and black pattern of the plaid and had purchased the kilt when I was at Disneyland.
"Oh," she said with such relief it was as if I’d just passed some special test she’d administered. “I’m so glad. Those Campbells can’t be trusted,” she said, laughing as she backed out of the room.
Forty eyes were staring at me, their mouths in perfect “ohs” of exclamation. Half of them had questions trembling on the brink of asking. The children were only waiting for the door to firmly close behind Mrs. McGregor.
“Can’t trust Campbell soup; can’t trust Campbell soup...” Michael started chanting, and several others picked it up for a couple of lines. They stopped when they felt my eyes doing the “teacher glare.”
I closed my eyes for a second, sighing with the exasperation only known by teachers who are constantly being interrupted in the middle of good lessons by well-meaning school personnel. Unfortunately, it was one second too-long. Carlos was suddenly seized by erupting giggles. Once again he collapsed –- this time, falling over on Cecilia.
Big mistake! Katrina was one of those sweet, good-natured girls who would patiently bolster Carlos up and laugh at his antics. Cecilia was the class’ "cranky child."
Before I could take in a breath to administer a sharp warning to both children, Cecilia had pinched Carlos so hard, he'd sat up straight and let out a screech like a terrified hamster.
Once again, I had lost the attention of my class.
I should have gotten after Cecilia. Pinching was a definite no-no, but I shrugged and admitted defeat. Like the French court of Mexico in 1865, it was time for retreat.
I grabbed up my book on the Cinco de Mayo celebration, turned the page from the colorful marigolds, sunflowers, and margaritas, and displayed the full color picture of Juárez. The children oohed and aahed, but they liked the picture better of Zapatos whose rearing white stallion, giant sombrero, and long, dangling mustache made him a far more colorful personage.
I finished reading the rest of the story, and closed the book. The children began to wiggle in anticipation. They knew that the best part was still to come. One of the mothers had made us mole sauce to be poured over fresh corn tortillas. The childrens’ mouths were salivating, ready to start their Cinco de Mayo party.
I whispered to the children that they could line up for their treats. Not a child asked me to repeat. Without a push or a shove, they formed a perfect line and waited for their treat.
When all had received their dripping tortilla, we stood outside and were about to taste the highlight of the French court. “¡Viva la batilla de Puebla!” I called out, and heard my Spanish speakers giggle at my terrible accent.
I opened my mouth for that first delicious bite, and Carlos capsized into giggles, right on top of Cecilia. The collision made the mole drip all over her white dress. Her tortilla landed on the ground. What happened next made the battle of Puebla look inconsequential!
Winner of the Writer's Cramp 5/6/03