Cinco de Mayo


Cinco de Mayo is misunderstood by a lot of people. It is not, as some assume, the date of Mexico’s independence. Many people mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican Independence Day. If so, they are a little late. Mexico actually declared their independence from Spain more than 40 years earlier in 1821. September 16 is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo instead is the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.

It was the General’s idea that we have Mexican food to celebrate May 5, 2018. I can bet you she falls in the category of folks who don’t know the full picture. If you know me at all, it should come as no surprise that I’d opt to have Mexican food on a daily basis. Around noon, the General asked if I was ready for lunch. I tore myself away from the computer and discovered we we’re having Italian food for lunch. I guess that meant our Cinco de Mayo celebration would be set for later in the day,

Around mid-afternoon, I sent Andrea and Kevin a text asking if they’d like to join us for Mexican food. Andrea was quick to respond. She answered simply: “Not if you’re going to Trudy’s.” Okay, so I’m predictably consistent. I get that. I responded: “You pick the place.” Seriously, it didn’t matter to me.

Okay, so don’t offer to go the distance if you’re not willing to go the extra mile. Andrea suggested Matt’s El Rancho in Austin. Surely, she was joking. That restaurant would be packed with people. It always is and I’m not big into waiting. I suggested we go early and she agreed. Consequently, we met in the church parking lot at 4:15 and headed toward our makeshift Cinco de Mayo celebration.

I think a thousand other people with the same idea joined us because you’d have to see the parking lot at Matt’s El Rancho to believe it. It looked like Dripping Springs on Founder’s Day weekend. There was not an empty parking space in sight and I actually had no idea how far behind the building their parking lot extends. Cars were everywhere. Just like at Founder’s Day in Drippin’, some folks jumped the curbs with their cars and parked on the grass.

Something about the thought of a three-day wait spoiled my sense of celebration. I remained silent. Just as we were on the throes of exiting the parking lot, a vacant parking space appeared out of nowhere. Kevin back the car in the spot and we were set.

We were set for a long wait, but it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. I’ve waited for thirty-five to forty minutes at lots of places. When asked if we wanted a table inside or outside, we opted for first available.

Frankly, I was a little surprised when we were led to our table on the patio. For starters, I was surprised that the patio is as large as it is. We lucked out. Our table was in the shade next to a wall and an umbrella completely covered our dining experience. We also were in a location where conversation could easily be heard. That was a far cry from the waiting experience.

Andrea mentioned a friend that she and Kevin recently met. She said, “Dad, he reminds me of you. He is really funny.” Actually, what she said was, “He is really funny, but he is incredibly smart.” The “but he is incredibly smart” seemed to be the dimension where the two of us differed. Okay, I’m good with that. She has a point.

At any rate, the man, his wife and small son had recently vacationed on an island in the Caribbean. One night around 11:00 p.m., he said he was really wired and not ready for bed. Basically, his wife told him to take a hike. Okay, it was her suggestion, why not oblige. He took a hike.

He didn’t have to travel far until he found himself in the local cantina. Content to watch people and listen to conversations, he was surprised to hear a group of guys speaking Russian. Did I mention this guy speaks several languages? Russian is one of five languages he reports to speak fluently. Consequently, he spoke to the guys in Russian and they invited him to join them at their table.

Okay, I could see where this was headed. My daughter was going to reveal this guys fact finding mission to determine if the Russians were actually involved in our Presidential election. I’ve been wrong before and this was no exception. I don’t think the group talked politics.

When the guy made his way back to his hotel room at 5:00 in the morning, he discovered he had failed to take a room key with him. He may be funny, but I’m not sure he is all that smart. At any rate, as the evening of Russian conversation was winding down, the man had the thought of how much they’d be asking for one of his kidneys. Needless to say, facing his wife at 5:00 in the morning wasn’t as bad as other possibilities.


All My Best!