Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Three Kings

The holidays are just barely over here. Seems that those who have less, celebrate more. There is an understanding perhaps that time is more precious than money.

The Three Kings bring gifts on Twelfth Night. I remember watching at dawn one morning in a little town in Puerto Rico as the Three Kings, all beautifully costumed, rode into town on finely decked out horses, just before dawn.

The entire town had assembled in the dark, setting up tables and passing out cocoa and sandwiches. The Kings took the stage and sang a bit. Then one started handing out candy to the children, who, one by one, held out their hands and took, Sit Back, America- ONE piece each.

The only commotion in the crowd was to when the people in front turned around and motioned for the children who had not yet received their candy.

My heart turned a bit Latina that morning. I started to wear more hot pink with turquoise.

And here, even more Latin than Puerto Rico,(which is an associated free state of the US - a unique and peculiar relationship) I watch my neighbors' families all arrive for Sunday dinners together. They eat together then sit all afternoon and talk. No video games, no NFL.

It is only weddings and funerals that have brought my family together.

So even though the "poverty" figures for this country are heart rending: 42% of the population lives on less than $2 a day , the reality in observation is a bit different.

Poverty in possessions does not mean poverty of spirit. Indeed, there appears to be an inverse relationship.

Evenings at the colmados (the little corner stores that sell the essentials, milk, beer, sugar, canned goods, toilet papers), the younger unmarrieds sit around the little plastic tables, in the plastic chairs sharing fine local beer as couples dance merengue together.

Estimates are that by 2050, the US will be almost one quarter Hispanic.

I think it will be an improvement. After we do a little bit re-education on machismo.

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