Out on a walk around the village I saw Alberto, who reminded me that he had invited me to visit his school. He said today was Flag Day and I promised I would come by to visit the next day. I wanted to come when nothing in particular was going on, in order to be less of an inconvenience to my host. So when I came the next day I was surprised to find the Flag Day celebration in progress, which Alberto explained was being re-staged for my benefit.
It was delightful. It was a grade school and the children were as wonderful as little children always are. They marched around and ran up the flag and sang songs, to all of which I was appropriately appreciative, then they handed me the microphone to say a few words.
On this trip I had been remiss at practicing my Spanish, but fortunately at that moment I received the Gift of Tongues and delivered myself of a long and enthusiastic speech on the glory of Mexico and the great affection we in the North felt for their country. I reviewed their illustrious history from the Aztecs through Cortéz and Benito Juárez and I have no idea what else. The children were enrapt. I had never spoken the language so fluently. I have no doubt that the enthusiasm of the moment caused me to invent my Spanish as I spoke, the words tumbling out in such a torrential flow as to sweep my listeners along and communicate with them directly the emotional sense of my meaning, unmediated by grammar or recognizable vocabulary. Sort of like opera.
The whole experience left us all exhausted and happy.
Alberto said we must do this again sometime.
[The eight posts of this series are collected in a more convenient form as a single document, which can be accessed by clicking on "Incidents of Travel in the Yucatán" in the upper righthand corner of this page.]