Our neighborhood was awakened to the sound of xylophones and snare drums. I was up and dressed early to attend the 8 a.m. mass with my parents. It was, after all, the Second Fiesta Celebration of the Parish of St. Benedict. The organizers wanted a town fiesta feel, and Fr. Steve gave in. He did preach about one important teaching of St. Benedict – and that is to put order in our lives by knowing our priorities and balancing our schedules.
I stayed after the mass to watch the band perform modern songs and mingled with my neighbors. There were banderitas everywhere, food was sold on little stalls, and the candidates for Ms. St. Benedict had a motorcade. I went to the covered courts as I was asked to help in the fun games. Then, I went and did my usual Sunday morning service after the 10 a.m. Charismatic mass.
I did not feel like the typical barrio lass, until I started preparing for the Coronation Night of Ms. St. Benedict, which I was asked to emcee together with Tito Joe. I decided that I would do everything by myself, without visiting the parlor. I watched videos on YouTube on how to achieve the hairstyle I wanted, and then I searched our whole house for bobby pins.
With my hair in bobby pins and while listening to Mama’s Sunday music (sleepy and straight out of a different decade), I pressed the dress I was going to wear. As I familiarized myself with the flat iron and willed the skirt to smoothen itself, I realized that I was a sight to behold, and I was not my usual self. For I hated ironing, and my hair was usually left straight. I felt like a barrio lass preparing for the town fiesta to be held at the basketball court.
But I was going to our fiesta, and it was going to be held at the basketball court.
I fixed my hair, gave myself a foot spa with pedicure, and then used my special makeup. The result was not professionally done, but I was happy enough that I did not spend for anything. I even borrowed the dress from my mom, which was couture, and something she had worn only once.
The Coronation Night was entertaining, with performances from different sub-parishes ranging from a violin and keyboard number to a Rigodon de Honor. I wonder what St. Benedict would say to our celebration tonight. It was simple enough for me, with a taste of festivities wrapped in community spirit. The civic and religious organizations in our community worked hand in hand for the fiesta to be a success. The many hours I spent preparing for my ‘look’ were nothing compared to the hard work of the organizers of this year’s fiesta.
Then I went home to wash away the hair spray and return to my normal self, a city girl with work backlog and an early day tomorrow to avoid rush hour traffic. I should remember what St. Benedict taught his monks, to balance prayer, rest, and work, as I start yet another grueling week.
Should I be inspired to do so, I might curl my hair again. But as to ironing clothes? I would prefer to shop for wrinkle-free outfits, hire someone to do it, or wear my straight-out-of-the-clotheslines attire again. There’s a time for everything, but I am open to changing for the better.