Vallarta Living | July 2009
|Fiction Corner: Outing Montezuma - Part 6|
Jan Baumgartner - PVNN
Everyone Loves a Parade
|A native Californian, Jan Baumgartner is a freelance writer dividing her time between surviving in Maine and living in Mexico.|
Up the ancient, steep and narrow streets, four shivering teens from Canada, their father, a French stepmother with lips of scarlet, and three young step-siblings who sprung from her loins, stepped onto the steaming cobbles to enjoy a leisurely stroll beneath a soothing Mexican sun in hopes of finally thawing the frigid four.
Having promised her five-pack a final afternoon of hot chocolate and churros, the Windy City woman ushered her children out the front door and toward the jardin. Meeting on the narrow sidewalk, the French-Canadian family bumped into the bull-legged filmmaker and her five children sporting tiny red capes and the party spilled into the middle of the street.
Just then the school bells chimed and 30 uniformed children jostled off of the curb, screaming and shouting, and sweeping up and into their wave of blue and white, all who dared walk in the center of the cobbles. The Dartmouth professor stepped out her front door to expose her fracture to the healing powers of the sun and was caught up in the tumble. The therapist from New York and her lover from Burkina Faso, having just finished their African dance class and still moving to its rhythms took front and center of the impromptu parade, the dancer from Africa now leading the group in a swirl of limber movements and song that pierced the entire neighborhood. The bullfighter, out for his daily fix of pork rinds, brought up the tail and shouted "Olé!"
The school children sang Mexican songs at the tops of their lungs. The three French children sang songs from their mother's beloved soil, the once frigid teens from Canada sang along with their siblings, the parents laughed, the dancer danced, and the bullfighter pranced.
A mariachi band resting in the shade of a stone hacienda joined the swell, strumming their guitars. An old woman selling tortillas moved along the parade route handing out warm snacks to singing school children. Street dogs and family dogs collected on rooftops and terraces and along the curbs and barked and howled and sang in tune.
Cars could no longer pass. Pedestrians, young and old, tall and small, became part of the pulsating parade. The ancient stone cobbles warmed and waved to a sea of tropical colors. There was deafening singing and laughing and everyone forgot where they were going and knew not where they were headed, but they knew they were all moving in the same direction.
Up on his terrace, the New Yorker opened a bottle of wine and stared at his blank canvas. He heard the laugher from a block away, the singing, the shouting, the dogs howling, and wondered what all the commotion was about. He glanced over at a single stem of a calla lily and noticed the soft, sensuous curve of the creamy white tip and the strong hopeful protuberance from its center. He saw the sunshine yellow of the pistil reaching skyward in nothing less than a leap of faith. He looked again at the blank canvas. He glanced down at his palate and the hopeless shades of grays and blacks and dark violet. And at that moment, after years of uncertainty, he realized it might just be time to make peace with Crimson Yellow.
A native Californian, Jan Baumgartner is a writer and book editor dividing her time between surviving in Maine and living in Mexico. Her writings on Mexico will be included in the new literary journal, Lady Jane (San Francisco Bay Press, 2009) Her background includes scriptwriting, comedy writing for the No. California Emmy Awards, and travel writing for The New York Times. She has worked as a grant writer for the non-profit sector in the fields of academia, AIDS, and wildlife conservation for NGO's in the U.S. and Africa. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous online and print publications including the NYT, Bangor Daily News, SCOOP New Zealand, Wolf Moon Journal, Media for Freedom Nepal, and BanderasNews in Mexico. She's finishing a memoir about her husband's death from ALS and how travels in Africa became one of her greatest sources of inspiration. She is a Managing Editor for OpEdNews.
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