Rancho Grande 'Boda' and the Lone Gringo (Part Two)

Posted by Kitara Julian On 8:49 AM

We left you yesterday with Part One of the wedding ceremony, “I do”, Mexican-style. The bride was one of the daughters of Pedro, my amigo who owned La Cucaracha Bar in San Miguel de Allende.
Thus far, the groom hadn’t done much to contribute to the alegria but solemn occasion (after falling off his horse into the ‘cow souvenir’).
Following exchanges of rings and besos, the fiesta started in earnest. The hired musicians were a Mariachi group (by the way Mariachi comes from ‘mariage’, in the nineteenth century when Maximilian was Emperor of Mexico.)
By now all the rancheros, senoritas, and families of bride and groom mingled and danced. The groom, now in fresh attire, was still unsteady on his feet. From the kitchen came an endless parade of traditional Mexican dishes. Picture “Babette’s Feast” and “Con Agua y Chocolate” all in one and you get the picture.
One dish for me outshone the others, it was the classic Pollo Mole (chicken with spicy chocolate sauce), originally Mayan. Speaking of Mayan, to my great surprise Pedro then brought out a special bottle bearing a label “Xtabentum”, an ancient Mayan drink. [Pedro knew my name, but had never before mentioned nor shown me this delicious liqueur at his Cucaracha Bar.] I was fascinated to learn Xtabentum is made from special honey made by bees from nectar of the white Xtabentum flower (Rivea corymbosa, the morning glory family). These vines only grow in the Yucatan, and Xtabentum translated means “vines growing on stone”.
Whatever the connection with my name, to see it on a Mayan liqueur bottle was very intriguing.
Back to the wedding fiesta, Cervesa was flowing plus Tequila, rum, whiskey, and Kahlua. The dancing and atmosphere of the fiesta became merrier and merrier.
Next thing I knew, the rancheros had their rifles out and began target shooting empty cans and bottles. Curious as always, I walked over to watch. Suddenly, one of them, a bit unsteady on his feet, slowly turned around and began eyeing me as his next target!
Taking no chances, I speedily ran back to the kitchen and dove under that sturdy wooden table. Really, now I was the target?!? Indeed, I was the only Gringo, the only person with blue eyes.
Pedro had seen me running into the kitchen and came to my rescue. In a booming voice he shouted: “Henrique es mi amigo!” and fired salvos into the air with his pistol. Suddenly all was quiet. The coast was clear, so I crawled out from my hiding place. I re-joined the banquet festivities.
For me (a budding artist) this colourful experience was certainly gist for the mill, which all happened 45 years ago, in ‘good old Mexico’. Hasta luego, Henrique

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