Armando’s Story, may our joyous hearts savor a fine tale. Sweeter than sweet! Dulces and regalos (gifts) too!
Have a grand time reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. This super fun Tex -Mex version, was Armando’s Story, told to us December 24, 2003, on a snowy night in our historic cabin house, past Placerville, California, in Gold Rush country.
Sitting around the idyllic pot belly stove, yarns were spun so many years ago, back in 1858, when the old house got its historic sign, and much earlier, by travelers visiting while a Way Station. Mark Twain and Bret Harte stayed there.
William and I (and ghosts) were guests of that house for many years until I moved to Oregon. We heard a lot of creepy footsteps, a great place for stories, in fact, perfect. We hosted a lot of seasonal gatherings, where plays and stories were always part of the festivities and traditions.
There is simply nothing better than sharing stories with our classes, co-workers, families and friends. We all have stories to tell and are storytellers, of one sort or another. It doesn’t take a booming voice or anything special other than a good story to tell and a willing audience. When we share our stories, a vast repertoire of goodness, insights and fun awaits us.
One of my mentors was Dr. Armando Ayala, a brilliant professor and generous servant leader. Originally a native Texan, then living in California, he encouraged me to learn better Spanish. Although I can’t say I was that successful, I did learn enough culture, grammar and idioms to teach reading with teachers in bilingual classrooms. I was blessed to have extraordinary experiences hanging out with his, Armando’s family.
In 2003, Armando shared this story at our dining room table. I recall him telling us he received it that day as a holiday missive from his friends Gloria and Dunnie. I have no idea who is the original author, however, nor did SIRI, tonight I found this story posted on a website called Humor Matters.
I originally posted “Tex Mex Christmas” on BAM in December 2017, as an afterthought. Tonight after this minor revision and clean up, I am pleased to share once more with you. We are already planning for our holiday table, Bingo (dollar store prizes), games, surprises. While unpacking from my move I found my old eight typed pages of classic Christmas Carols. So imagine us singing along with kazoos and rhythms instruments, of course!
We will also take turns reading Armando’s story. Here it is, ready for you to pass on, thanking Armando, Gloria and Dunnie. Let’s sneak a peek, now that I’ve told you my backstory, at the original email sent to Armando, which includes the story itself. How I kept this, I will never know, as disorganized as I am. So let’s enjoy.
Subject: Merry Christmas to all
Sent: December 23, 2003
“Gloria and I wish all of you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, or Feliz Navidad y un prospero Ano Nuevo. May we all be in good health for many, many to come.”
“Gotta’ recycle this annually.” And so, now, we are!
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa,
Not a creature was stirring – Caramba! Que pasa?
Los ninos were tucked away in their camas, Some in long underwear, some in pajamas,
While hanging the stockings with mucho cuidado, In hopes that old Santa would feel obligado
To bring all children, both buenos and malos, A nice batch of dulces and other regalos.
Outside in the yard there arose such a grito, That I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito.
I ran to the window and looked out afuera, And who in the world do you think that it era?
Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero, Came dashing along like a crazy bombero.
And pulling his sleigh instead of venados, Were eight little burros approaching volados.
I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre, Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
“Ay Pancho, ay Pepe, ay Cuco, ay Beto, Ay Chato, ay Chopo, Macuco, y Nieto!”
Then standing erect, with his hands on his pecho, He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea, He struggled to squeeze down our old chiminea,
Then huffing and puffing at last in our sala, With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala,
He filled all the stockings with lovely regalos – For none of the ninos had been very malos.
Then chuckling aloud, seeming very contento, He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.
And I heard him exclaim, and this is verdad, Merry Christmas to all, and Feliz Navidad!
I hope you have a wonderful time reading this story, I bet more than once. Figuring out what unknown words mean also helps kids’ reading and language skills, as context. Savor the lilting language. I’m writing another winter season blog for you, but this one just decided to be written. Voila!
Leaving footprints on your reading hearts, Rita
I’d love to hear from you!
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As always, thank you to BAM Radio Network for support of my writing.