Monday, January 05, 2015

New year picnic at the coffee land

During recent years, during the coffee harvest period around new year, we have a picnic or two with the family of David and Cecelia, who live adjacent to our land and work some days each month tending it when we are not there. These picnics are always stand-out social events in our year, and this year, like last year, there was a new family member in attendance. Last year David junior was the new arrival. This year it was Uriel. The picnic takes all afternoon. We fire up a traditional carbon-burning 'oven' and prepare a meal of beef or chicken, salad and tortilla, and after eating there are games and a bit of gardening. Some of the meal comes directly from the garden, which is always nice. A dog or two usually joins in.

This year we had taken my digital SLR camera and a pair of walkie talkies that we'd managed to get going in the morning after rescuing them from a year's neglect. The younger children (especially Luz and David) enjoyed playing with the call button on the walkie talkies, and Ana (9 years) took a quick lesson from Michele on how to use the camera -- never having held any camera before. She caught on quickly, and several of the photos here are ones she took on her first outing.

After a quick game of 4-a-side soccer, the soccer ball was appropriated for an improvised game of skittles using empty containers as skittles. Other games included "No frogs in the garden" -- basically, Michele said she didn't want any frogs in the garden and rounded up the smaller children, who played the role of the frogs trying to run around the garden, but when caught were tossed into a heap. David could not be parted from the call button on the walkie talkie until the battery ran out. The call sounded a bit like a police siren, so we started calling him "Poli", the universal reference term in Mexico for the Policia. He quickly began responding to calls of Poli by running off with the call button sounding off.

We collectively clowned around until it started getting dark. There's no easy way to capture the joy of this madcap spontaneity, where cultural gulfs are bridged with ease and everyone is turned into a 4 year old for several magical hours. Hopefully, however, some of the photos get as close as need be, for successfully conveying something of the colour and the spirit of an outrageously good time.