Today is World Spay Day https://gloriawriteshere.wordpress.com/ (February 28th)
“Maisy, go down to the market and get me a bunch of bananas. Make sure they are not the green ones. I want to make banana bread to bring to Granny’s tomorrow.”
“Will you make one for us too?”
“You know I always make two! Now, get…I’d like to get started.”
Maisy slipped out the front door and was shocked at the scene in front of her brownstone apartment. There were people lined up as far as she could see to the left and the right. The rows of people were at least five if not six or seven deep. She could get lost just outside her house. How was she going to get through all those people and not spill something down her pants leg? Looking at the front stoop two doors down, Maisy finally had the opportunity to see what all the hype was about. Leaning slightly forward, so as to not fall over the rusting wrought iron handrails, she saw what everyone was looking at.
By now Maisy had forgotten all about the banana bread and was now fixated on…
The group that had congregated at the intersection. There were about 10 people and they were all dressed in Mexican clothing. The funny thing was they were just standing there. I couldn’t hear any music and I certainly didn’t see anyone dancing. I wondered if there was supposed to be some sort of parade or something with all these people lined up and down the street. I decided my best bet would be to go down the step and see if there was anyone who looked friendly enough to chat with.
As I made my way down the steps people near my building turned and looked at me. Their glares felt like I was disturbing something but as I had noticed when I walked out, there was no music, no festivities, or at least none that I could see yet. A man in a jeans coat turned to his side a bit to let me walk by but since he turned and his back was away from me I took that as not an invitation to chat! The peoople lined up didn’t seem to mind stepping out of my way but nobody made eye contact and noone greeted me in any way that seemed friendly. I was about halfway through the rows of people.
I continued making my way when a small, old woman looked up at me as I tried to pass.
“Here, dear, you can stand by me,” she said.
I took this as an opportunity to find out what exactly was going on.
“Good morning,” I said cheerfully. “I didn’t know there was anything special happening today! I only live a few buildings down and I was so surprised to see all these people lined up.”
“Well, I’m surprised you haven’t heard the news. There is a giant truck coming from the Mexican border. No one is certain what is on the truck but people have some ideas. I think it’s going to be bags and bags of Tortilla Chips. I heard they make them from fresh corn in Mexico.”
“Maybe,” I said, trying not to roll my eyes. A truck of tortilla chips? Where on earth did she get that idea? And why was everyone dressed up?
Maisy’s mind was spinning in circles! Mexican fiesta? Mexican food? There wasn’t anything here to hint at what was coming in this supposed truck! Maybe I’d better get down to get those bananas before it gets any busier, she thought.
“I’ll be right back,” Maisy said to the old woman.
“No problem, dear, I will save you a spot for when the truck gets here.” The old woman beamed with excitement and anticipation.
Maisy began moving through the crowd again, excusing herself as she bumped into people who seemed so oblivious to her that they didn’t even step aside to let her by. As she neared the opening she could hear someone talking in just above a whisper, coming from the center of the small group in the intersection. She nudged her way past the last line of bystanders and saw what was at least the beginning of the event. There, in the middle of the street were four men and four women, all dressed in beautiful, bright costumes, and they stood around a chair, almost like a throne that had been placed right in the middle of the street. Sitting in the chair was an old man.
At the base of the chair, surrounding the old man’s feet were at least a dozen small children. They sat mesmerized by the old man. He held a book and was quietly reading to the small children. The words he spoke were Spanish, so she couldn’t understand, but she assumed it was a children’s story by the way the children sat so quietly, listening to the man. Then just as soon as she had seen all the little children the old man put a bookmark on the page he had been reading and closed the book. Maisy could hear groans from the children, they obviously wanted him to continue.
Then, as if out of nowhere a huge tractor-trailer came slowly down the road on the right of the crowd, and the people began to move out of the way of the giant vehicle.
The truck began to slow down, thankfully aware of the small children who were scattered around. No one at the fiesta seemed to know what the truck was for but if the outside was any indication it was for the food vendors. Painted on the box of the truck were so many different foods, all of which could probably be purchased once the food tents were erected. The children began noticing the food pictures and excitedly pulled on their parents hands, pointing out their favorites.
Maisy stood watching the giant truck maneuver its way through and around the crowd. Her stomach began grumbling when she saw that there would be a tent selling all of the most popular nuts. Maisy loved pistachios and unlike the bananas that Granny wanted, Maisy loved that they were green. Licking her lips, Maisy made her way past all the parents and their noisy little charges, trying to get to the market for those bananas! Granny would not be happy if she came home without them.
Now, as Maisy moved farther away from the crowd of people she saw that she was almost to the market that Granny said had the nice, ripe bananas she needed. The shop owner, an old Korean man, was such a sweetheart and Granny said it was so important to give him, and the other little shops, all of our business so the big box stores couldn’t push them out. Maisy loved that this was all happeneing right where she had grown up.
Walking past an alleyway between two of the small buildings Maisy heard a faint noise. She didn’t need a flashlight to see that there was a small glass bowl and the smallest kitten lapping the liquid up out of it. The kitten looked tiny and Maisy wondered to herself if it was a stray or feral cat or if someone just let it out of their house. Granny didn’t allow Maisy to have any pets and she had heard that they cost a lot of money anyhow. There were vet bills and bedding, food and toys, and now it was even a rule or someething that everyone should have their pet spayed or neutered to cut down on all the animals wandering around with no home. Maisy hoped this little one had a home, maybe she would ask the nice man in the shop.
Maisy walked closer to the shop and thought for a moment, wondering what it was she was supposed to be bringing home to Granny! Between the crowds and the children, the old man reading, and now this tiny kitten, Maisy was overwhelmed with all the hustle and bustle!