Tuesday, September 1, 2009



President Porfirio Diaz acknowledges the crowd, an imperious wave, his white-gloved hand tickles the air. His consort clutches the crook of his arm, eyes shy behind a pleated fan. Handsome in a shiny black suit, this Diaz is a picture of dignity. All three feet of him. The presidential couple leads the parade, steps proudly to music revved high for the occasion.

Pancho Villa, dressed in homespun and sombrero, a cartridge belt crisscrossing his pint-sized chest, scampers forward. Another Pancho Villa follows suit, and another and another. A half-dozen Emiliano Zapatas, mustachios painted across upper lips, join the moving tableau. Rifles, bayonets, other cardboard weaponry cut the air.

Tiny senoritas, colorful petticoats aswirl, pirouette in place, two-steps forward, two-steps back, repeat. Dainty braids laced with ribbons, cheeks and lips rosy with mama’s makeup. Some wear woven rebozos, baby dolls tucked inside.

Gymnasts form pyramids, elicit crowd approval; older women, royal crowns atop graying heads, kiss the air from their pick-up truck plastic chair perches; a color guard from San Pancho’s secondary school reflects the honor of the occasion.

Everywhere flags. Gripped in pudgy fists, draped from balconies, pasted in windows. Cars, trucks, their antennas aflutter in the red, white, and green, inch forward behind this grand procession.

Revolution Day! Tercer Mundo, San Pancho’s main street from the highway to the beach, packed with people. Tourists, expats charmed with local color; Mexican parents, proud, watchful eyes on young sons and daughters. Weeks of practice, preparation come to fruition. It’s November 20, the day Mexico celebrates the 1911 uprising against its longtime dictator, Porfirio Diaz. Two million lives lost during the country’s famous revolt against authority, but constitutional rights gained. Villa and Zapata proclaimed folk heroes. Diaz banished, any good he accomplished during his 35-year rule forgotten.

Except today. November 20 in San Pancho, Nayarait, and throughout Mexico, Diaz is resurrected, dusted off, given some due along with other larger-than-life characters who march down Main Street.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

I love your writing, as always, Channing. Reading this piece reminds me of how much fun we had together when you wrote for InSide. I am happy, too, you found this group of supporters who share your passion.
I'm going to give my sister-in-law your blog address. I think she'll find it very useful.
Sandy Higgins