Thursday, November 24, 2005

I Don't Even Like Turkey

When I was a kid , my parents would take me to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. I remember drinking lots of hot chocolate and being really cold. Later on in my life, my father and his wife would cook up huge feasts complete with cranberry citrus relish in small ceramic turkeys. It was a miracle that we weren't made to wear Pilgrim hats It was the beginning of las navidades. It was the day we could take out the Christmas tree. Some years I went to see the Nutcracker ballet at Lincoln City followed by pastries in Little Italy. But no one ever ever ever spoke to me about Indigenous culture, even if my great great grandmother was a proud Taina. No one spoke to me about genocide and invasion and maybe those are things you shouldn't tell children. But I think it was less about childish innocence and more about general ignorance. I remember when things started to unfold, in terms of my politics, in terms of my history and understanding of it I was in shock. Sometimes I would be moved to tears out of confusion and of release, as if genetically, spiritually I had an "Ah ha!" moment when the nonsense started to make sense.

And I look at my MapucheRican, all 8 years (and then some somewhere deep in there- she's an old soul esa hija mia) of her. Long limbed, triguenita daughter of a Mapuche , a Chileno, a Puerto Rican, a Nuyorican. So much history in her. She's just happy to have the day off. And I wonder how much do I tell. How much do I tell about what really went down when Europeans came to what is now the United States, to what is now Puerto Rico, to what is now Chile. How is it that we are here, in this place and this context.

I'm grateful this morning that I didn't have to wake up so early to take my daughter to school, but that is not different from a Saturday or Sunday morning. I'm grateful for my family but I am fully aware of that, even when they get on my last nerve. I am grateful that this year la MapucheRican doesn't have a teacher who talks about Columbus Day and Thanksgiving Day. But that too is everyday. Everyday I scour her books and folders to deal with any miseducation/information head on.

My daughter doesn't like the taste of turkey , like me, like my mother. I'll take some pernil, a ham or any other pork product any day. And that's what this is, anyday. Any and everyday something slams into me, reminding me of my place in history and this world. The differences are minor. A visit to my grandmother's which happens regardless of what parade is rolling down 5th Avenue. Relatives who moved will appear. There will be drama an bochinche in Abuela's apartment. Again, that is not a special occasion. An invitation to a friend's house stands, that is more about one girl's birthday than anything else.

I'll spend most of my day listening to WBAI , finishing work and spending time with la Mapu.

Have a beautiful , thoughtful day


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