Aug 5, 2008

Sweet Bread Crisis

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Nueva Rosita --my home town in Mexico. I had an unusual experience. On the day I arrived, I went to visit my grandfather. My grandfather is 92 years-old. I can almost say that he is in better shape that I am. I’m not sure what is the reason of his longevity but it could be his genes – his grandfather was 105 years-old when he passed away. One of the reasons why he is 92 years young could be, that my grandfather used to take long walks on a daily basis. He has kept his health in much better shape than his grandfather, so he could very well go past 105.

My grandfather is quite the character. He always has a story to tell. Like when he told me about the time he got put in jail for 5 days in the U.S. because he didn’t speak English; in the end it was all a misunderstanding. Or the time when he told me he used to skip school by asking his teacher permission to go to the restroom. He said he would jump the fence and run to his house. His mother would ask him “You skipped school again, uh?” but she didn’t do anything else. A good student he was not, but he was a hard worker.

After we said our hellos we talked about family, work and amongst other things, his recent trip to the sweet bread shop. In Mexico is very common to buy sweet bread for your afternoon merienda or afternoon snack. A family usually gathers around the table to enjoy the afternoon and to reminisce on the events of the day, this is done best with a hot beverage and something to eat. Hot chocolate and coffee are the beverages of choice at the merienda. The sweet bread options include conchas; a round hamburger-bun-type bread with sweet hard paste on top, there are also bisquetes which are the typical buttermilk biscuits. Making the list are marranitos; a ginger bread in the form of a pig, and also campechanas; these are crunchy layers of baked bread with caramelized sugar on top – they are known to fall apart when you bite into them. Finally we have my grandfather’s favorite; roles de canela; or cinnamon buns. My grandfather is known for keeping fresh bread year-round. At any given day, he has a container full of sweet bread. Most of the time he has merienda by himself but on rare occasions-- when we go visit-- we share a cup of coffee and sweet bread with him.

He was telling me how he spent most of the afternoon on the phone, calling the sweet bread shop to find out when the freshly-baked bread would be coming out. He was getting a busy signal over and over. Then he put the phone down and walked over to the shop. He walked about half-a-mile. When he reached his destination he saw the shop attendant on the phone smiling. My grandfather then asked the attendant why he didn’t pick up the phone; the attendant responded by saying that he was on the phone with his girlfriend. My grandfather said, “But I’m an important customer." To that comment, the attendant replied: “I know, but you can’t give me what my girlfriend gives me.”

Fortunately for the shop attendant the bread had come out.

Jesse Acosta
August 3rd 2008


Anonymous said...

great story, you should make a series. i like how you combined your grandpa's story with a little bit about culture describing the merendia, that made the story more interesting i think. good job

Anonymous said...

By the title of your "short story" it indicates a plot of having a sweet bread issue. After reading the BLOG it was just that...a BLOG, no story comes out of this; but a simple jotting down of words. Lacks a "backbone" to an actual story and your introduction is repetative. Needs a lot of work.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the comment above. The story is not just a blog, but I don't think it is a short story. It is more like a personal essay, and at that, the story works very good.

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