Last week I was looking back in my life when I was a child and I remembered a lot of things that I used to do and kids nowadays don’t do anymore. For example, I played canicas (marbles), trompo (no translation for that, watch the video), gallito (watch the video, ‘cause this Boricua stuff is hard to explain), fighting with my brother every other day, or trying to explain my sister that she could not eat as much cookies as we did. We even used to play basketball on Saturdays under the burning sun from noon until dawn. Now I get a little bit of sun and I complain. Even my parents used to get the rope out and play with all the kids of the neighborhood. We did all that during the Summer, or when we had the whole week off from school like Semana Santa (Holly Week).
That week was a good one, most of the time. We woke up around seven or eight in the morning (for some stupid reason), we had our breakfast and headed out to play until 10:00 am when my mother had the cookies and juice ready (still a great snack). Then we headed out some more until lunch time or when our stomachs started growling. And when I say we, I’m not just referring to me, my brother and my sister. I know pretty much every friend of ours did the same thing. WE were a lot of kids. We got dirty, if it rained we got wet and then dirtier, until my mom called us in to have lunch.
We really had lots of fun, until Viernes Santo. When I discovered that term in English is Good Friday, I never understood why. I mean, it was not a good day; we did not have cable TV in my house when I was a kid, so we had to wake up to no cartoons on TV. It was a day to be calm and try not to scream or run around the house too much, so you can imagine how hard it was for us. Back then we used to go to Church and listen to the Siete Palabras (seven words). The only words I wanted to hear were Ya nos podemos ir para la casa (We can go home now, that’s seven words in Spanish). And the time we were home, before or after church, we had no option but to watch Ben Hur, or the Story of Moses, Joseph, and of course The Bible. There are TV stations in Puerto Rico that still show those movies in Semana Santa. It’s hard when you are a kid to watch Charlton Heston (even for a grownup is hard) when you want to play outside.
We had fun bothering each other and fighting and arguing with my brother and sister: “Mom, I told her not to touch me and she is touching me”, “Stop touching me”, “Mom, he looked at me”, “Mom, I will hit him”, “Tell him to stop”, “He’s blinking funny”, and all that stuff was heard around the house all day. I have two children now and I don’t understand how my mom was able to hold herself and not give us as a present to God. I mean, we fought a lot.Good Saturday was actually good. We played outside and exchanged stories with the other kids on what was done or what kind of fish they ate the day before. Easter Sunday was kind of nice. Playing and fighting with siblings, you know the normal stuff. But it also meant it was time to go back to school and go to bed early. We never believed in the Easter bunny, which I think is dumb (a bunny laying eggs, really?), but we had fun that day at home, and regular programs were shown on TV for most of the day, with the occasional Bible story, but we managed.
I know this is not much of a Boricua thing, but I was with some friends and we started thinking about what we did in a week like that when we were kids. As I grew older I understood all the Bible stories, enjoyed those days at Church, and still hate Charlton Heston. I’m not sure what kids do nowadays, but I sure enjoyed that time, even the sibling rivalries (sometimes I got away with it). Just as my father does to me, I will make sure my children listen to these stories when we sit at the table or spend a long drive together. Until next time, cójanlo suave!