A Holly, Jolly, Horsey Christmas

by Joseph Toone

For most of us in San Miguel the holiday season starts on the Feast of Guadalupe, December 12th. Some prefer to think of St. Nicholas’ day, December sixth, as day to get the holiday ball rolling. For a handful of hardy cowboy pilgrims it is the Sunday after US Thanksgiving. The holidays don’t start with internet shopping or a big game, rather a day long horseback ride to Estancia de Canal, a ranch area just behind La Comer, to honor Christ the King.

This adventure started out, as most of mine do, with me being somewhat lost. Finally I stumbled upon the remote house a local priest built to serve as drug rehabilitation center. Frankly, given the remote location, I likely would have found the notion of drugs to pass the time fairly attractive. Following the priest’s death the home now houses a pal that was escorting me to her neighbor’s event... and what an event.

Dozens of cowboys and girls of all ages rode into town singing the praises of Christ the King, their canine pals trailing alongside. Following some showmanship in the corral area, mass was held as it has been since 1956 in front of a replica of the gigantic Christ the King statue that marks the center of Mexico just outside the city of Guanajuato. A musical first for me was that the mass featured mariachi music.

The celebration included a meal which gave me the opportunity to quiz a local cowboy over the continuing din of mariachi music. Lupe (named for the Virgin of Guadalupe, which is both a male and female name) explained to me how the Christmas season is all about Christ’s birth and Christ being King of all. Consequently, what better way to combat commercialism than starting your holiday celebrations reminding yourself of the whole point to the coming weeks?

I was very touched by his explanation. I was also touched by the mole I was eating. It was one of those instances when immediately following what was is to be your last bite, you realize you’ve made a big mistake. Knowing my intestines were about to explode, I desperately wanted a toilet even while realizing real men, aka cowboys, go potty outside.

I sought out the lady of the event hoping to cash in on my being the only white, foreign man at the event, who, playing the stupid gringo card, also wasn’t a cowboy. Also, earlier in the day I had given her a gift bag of my homemade cookies to thank her for including me. So I was pretty sure I’d get toilet access.

I did not.

Instead she led me to the corral where the horses were resting. Knowing time was of the essence I didn’t much care and used those precious remaining seconds to move the horses aside to give me wide berth. Suffice to say it wasn’t one of my more sparkly moments, but I took some comfort in the fact that the horses were already surround by their own copious amounts of dung.

While I may never be mistaken for a Mexican cowboy at any of these types of events, I am comforted by the knowledge that I can defecate on par with any of their horses. Merry Christmas to me... and you.

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Joseph Toone is Amazon's bestselling author of the San Miguel de Allende Secrets series of books and TripAdvisor's best rated historical walking tour guide. For more information contact toone.joseph@yahoo.com or visit History and Culture Walking Tours or JosephTooneTours.com, also on FaceBook.

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