Lucked out and was asked again to participate in the Good Friday procession this year plus I got a promotion! No more being sandwiched between sweaty lads carrying Jesus, who is living proof that with his sinewy physique muscle weighs more than fat.
And don’t get me started on those chubby cherubs. Nope, this year I got a lantern.
Lanterns are way cool. First off, no more smelling fellow hot men (erotic for some, but does little for me). The lantern, when positioned just so, provides a bit a shade on my head which coming from a long line of intermarrying Gaelic vampires, I was thrilled with.
Plus having missed the gym that morning, the lantern, when held high, provides a great shoulder workout. Lastly, I was walking solo so no matching another’s gait. Win-win-win!
Now, I’ve done a lot of one man shows and dance presentations on stages across Mexico but then I’m always introduced to the crowd and walk on to stage. It was heady to have the curtain lifted across the portal of the Santa Escuela church (next to the Parroquia) and you’re on in front of a huge crowd. I’m reminded why performers prefer to die on stage. It is a high and for this occasion I didn’t need to be funny (or even
speak) nor dance.
I was behind the procession’s lead statue, Saint Roque (or Rock or Rocco, whom that perennial good Catholic girl, Madonna, named her first born son for). Roque lifts his skirt to show you his scarred leg letting you know he had the plague. Kicked out of Rome he survived in the wild when a dog brought him bread daily and licked the plague away. Today Roque is the patron of dogs and plagues.
Most every vet store in town is called San Roque for his being the saint for dogs though Roque gets the lead today in gratitude for all the plagues he helped end in San Miguel. The dog next to him, being Mexican, brings Mexican bread. Speaking of dogs, a live black and white one like the statue followed us for a bit and I saw more dogs in the crowds than ever before. The lad still bonds with pooches.
In front of Roque were the little girls as angels tossing chamomile for we following to step on releasing their smell and reminding one what a pre-electricity multimedia experience was like.
The Encounter, on Good Friday, is when Jesus meets Mary on his way to the crucifixion and bows his head in shame. All the really old statues in San Miguel are Inquisition-era Muppets as they’ve a bit a string and pulleys, so Jesus bows his head when seeing Mary in front of the Parroquia.
by Joseph Toone
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed hereby are those of the author and not necessarily those of the San Miguel Times.