THE FEAST OF SAN GERONIMO AT THE TAOS PUEBLO, 2014
One of the many things I treasure about Taos is the diversity. I have said to anyone who would listen, for longer then I can remember, that I would never want to live only with people that looked and talked like me. How would I learn?
With that in mind, about 2 months back or so, a Pueblo woman was referred to me to work with me as an administrative assistant. Her name is Marcie Winters and I was told in advance that she was a traditional Indian. I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time but I now know that it means that she follows her roots and the path of her ancestors, as much as being in the real world allows. I came to learn pretty quick that she has one leg in each culture – living and working off the Pueblo but returning daily to it – and pulls them both off so beautifully.
But I digress. This is about the Feast Day that comes each year on September 30th that I knew in my first life, back east, from celebrations in Little Italy in lower Manhattan. There, the Italians are authentic as the cannolis. Here, it is a different. (You knew Taos and Indians had to be different from NYC and Mafioso!) Here, it is about bringing those one cares about into ones home and then serving them the foods prepared at home by the women of the family from breads and pies to Indian stew. Interestingly, at least to me, is that the hostesses never sit with their guests. They are there to serve and insure one gets whatever one would want. But this is work and they do it all day.
This year, Marcie Winters invited my wife and I, my son, his wife and their son, to come to her mother’s home right outside the Village – what most call the Pueblo. This became a 3 generational guy thing as neither my wife nor daughter in law were able to go – but son Jonathan, and his almost 7 year old son, Theo, were. Theo had done this once before but for Jonathan it was a first. I was so glad he took Marcie’s invitation as intended. She wanted him there.
We found the house with a little trouble. Anyone who has been to the Pueblo knows that the signage and numbering aren’t in accord with most anything. But everyone is always so friendly that getting redirected was easy. We parked where we were invited to park and ventured into the house.
To those who have not been to one, we entered into a large room in which there were several tables lined up making for one long eating space. Around that were chairs and benches so 16 to 20 folks might be fed at one time. But not always. Upon the table were dishes galore, from fresh roasted turkey to Indian chile, macaroni and cheese, bread pudding – my personal favorite – or one could opt for prune pie, or the vegetarian options. Behind where I sat was another side table laden with desserts – sugar being the common ingredient and color aplenty, thanks to sprinkles and icing . Hard to turn down. No one would go hungry.
If you sit towards the middle of the tables you will be busy. Folks are asking for passes of plates and bowls out of reach so this isn’t for passives folks. One needs to keep the food moving and that is part of the fun and the tradition.
Marcie was dressed to kill, I mean she looked both gorgeous and radiant in a dress made for her by her mother. When I asked where they got the incredible fabric, she said it was some scraps she had. Scraps, my word. This woman would make filet mignon from bad chopped meat! Marcie made sure we were fed, were happy and comfortable. And we were. At the table were other Taosenos, Anglo, Hispanics and Natives. That is why I love Taos.
All three of us were made to feel like honored guests. It really felt good and grounding to be there, to share their tradition. To learn their ways. Heck, there is much to learn from a people who are not motivated or driven to acquire wealth or power.
I encourage any who read this to attend the Feast Day. There is a pole climb I’ve not touched upon and there are Kosharis or clowns that need to be respected and avoided. But that’s for other pieces.
Category : Taos Real Estate Blog