Vegetables and the Virgin

Every once in a while, I am reminded that this is a Catholic country.  Often, the most unlikely people (e,g,, Uber drivers, landscapers, security gods), when asked how they are, respond with “Fine, thanks to god…”  I often see a young man carrying a rosary or sitting with a bible at his side. My cleaning lady, who is Nicaraguan, frequently sends me lengthy text messages which mention Jesus and instruct me to pass them on.  I have always been fascinated by latin America’s mix of Catholicism, which the Spanish conquistadors brought over from Europe, and such pagan, Aztec practices as celebrating Day of the Dead. (Am I being timely or what?)

So, on Saturday, I went to the mercado to check out the fresh fruits and vegetables. (Vendors bring them straight from the farm.)  My neighbor invited me to join her, and I needed her help in identifying some very peculiar-looking  produce.  We made the tour, and, on the way back to her car, my neighbor asked me if I minded making a short stop.  I, of course, agreed, and followed her around the corner to a church.  I thought we were going to enter, but she took me to a spot next to the church, where I saw a monument with something inside.  Closer inspection revealed a statue of the Virgin Mary.

While I waited, bags in hand, my neighbor approached the structure and began to pray.  I adopted a respectful pose, and waited for her to finish.  When she returned, I didn’t quite catch what she said; I think she said something about a divorce, which could have been a translation of any number of things.

And home we went, with my new mystery foods, which I promptly mixed in with my salmon dinner. I later learned that you’re supposed to wash them very carefully, since they are not checked like the items you buy in a store. I did get a slight headache, possibly unrelated, but otherwise suffered no ill consequences.

Maybe my visit to the Virgin Mary protected me.  Perhaps I’ll stop by next time I shop.  I’m trying to avoid the obvious “I’ll make a habit of it,” or “When in Rome,” but I can’t help myself. What can I say…the devil made me say it.

Pura Vida