Monday, December 6, 2021

Matachines, Pink Shoes, and Y'allmark Christmases!

Don't ask me why, but I have been watching Hallmark Christmas movies nonstop. Oh, maybe not watching, exactly, but having them on "for company" while I do other things. I am trying to sort through and organize my possessions. More on that in another post! Here's one of said possessions, from an entire huge box of vintage Christmas cards:

Little Christmas card snowman with inside-out umbrella
I hope you are not having such a day as poor snowman is having!

Sometimes I go sit in the "new" recliner and watch the movies a bit, after putting Champie the Chiweenie "up up" with me. With his wee wizened leg, he cannot jump up at all and he MUST be by my side at all times, he feels. Sophie, the little fuzzy mutt, gets in the other "new" recliner next to me, "all by her big-girl self."

I am evidently in a "quote-mark mood" today! "So to speak."

I was thinking, as each Hallmark movie unfolded, that maybe there should be a Y'allmark or Drawlmark movie channel, where various corny Southern romances could be depicted. They could NOT be worse than some of the movies I'm seeing!

Tonight on the Drawlmark Channel! A Northern Storm

Can an icy Nordic prince starting a chain of yoga juice bars warm up to down-home honesty and a zany small-town girl?

"Momma, I think I love him, even though he's some kind of Yankee boy and he's done took over Old Doc Grover's soda shop and says he's turning it into a high-end juice bar and they're going to have yoga and pita-bread sammiches and break the whole town's heart!"

"You go warsh yer mouth out right now, talking such nonsense! In love with a Yankee? Pfffft!" 

"But Momma, he's real rich and he has a lifted pickup even tho' it's elec-tric and he's an executive and he's a prince of some little European country an' I'm so zany I just fell right in love with him!" 

"A lifted pickup? And money to boot? Why didn't you say so? Bring him to supper! I'll make a big pot of turnip greens 'n' cornpones!"


Tonight, a Y'allmark Channel World Premier: Yankee Doodle Candy

Can an unlucky-in-love praline maker convince a snotty Eastern venture capitalist to take a chance on her grandmother's old-fashioned candy factory? 

Things get off to a sticky start when Brent, the venture capitalist with a sad secret heartbreak in his past, has his fine Italian suit ruined by a warm praline thrown by Missy Belle! She was aiming at Bubba, her old high-school beau who is back in town for the big high school reunion! Will the week end with a Ding-Dong and sody-pop date with Bubba, or the ding-dong of wedding bells with Brent?

That's enough of THAT!

~ ~ ~

I haven't yet felt much better lately, but sometimes, if you can manage to get up and stay up, you can get a lot done anyway. I did have FOUR interviews for a job I wanted very much at the university, but evidently I lost out to someone else, because I did not get contacted after the fourth interview. I GOT GHOSTED, as the kids say, or maybe used to say. It was interview after interview, test after test, phone calls, Zoom calls, another interview, then radio silence. Was it the pink shoes I wore to the last interview?  I tend to forget to check what shoes I have on. Look, I originated in Arkansas. It's a miracle I wear shoes at all. 

These shoes have fake fur inside! Very warm and roomy at the toe! And you don't tie them! IT DOES NOT GET BETTER THAN THIS.

Pink shoes with fake fur inside, on leaves.
My precious Walmart pink low-quarter sneakers!

Today, to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe (big day coming up, December 12th), matachines (mat-ah chee-ness) gathered at four points in our city, and danced to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They danced for miles, and then when they arrived, they danced more, the earlier troupes for an hour and a half, and the later troupes for portions of that time. 

Matachines are groups of dancers who dance for religious reasons. They are almost trance-dancers, I would say, able to dance beyond normal endurance, and able to dance their particular rhythm and movements despite many other troupes dancing to different drumbeats and different steps right next to them. It is a cacophony of sound, and an amazing sight.

Usually, a full-size statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe is carried in front, and the dancers follow. The statue is sometimes carried on a litter, by hand, and sometimes is in the bed of a truck.

The dancers wear elaborate costumes styled much like southwestern Native American ceremonial dress. Lengths of bamboo from reeds by the Rio Grande are used instead of porcupine quills, but sewn in horizontal lines, they give a similar hollow sound as they knock together. Row upon row of this bamboo, many times with small bells at the end, adorn the long loincloth-type costumes. Gourds with beans or beads inside are carried and shaken. 

The embroidery on the loincloths is just stunning, heavy on the sequins and favoring depictions of Divine Mercy, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and of course, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Front and back loincloths each have different depictions. 

Elaborate headdresses or scarves tied like a sheikh's are worn, or both. Stylized weapons are carried as the dances often depict the battle of good versus evil, and some dancers appear as monsters or devilish creatures that dance among the faithful, lest we forget this is so. 

I love that all are welcome to be part of these troupes. You see all weights and sizes. You don't see many older dancers, though. They just cannot have that high level of energy, but they act as the elders and teach and advise and walk along the dancers on the road. 

There are all-female groups, all-male groups, and a few mixed groups. Sometimes determined children in first or second grade are dancers, their tiny feet keeping the steps as well as the teens and adults do. The dancing is a serious business. You will not see smiles while the dancers do their steps, but faces set in concentration!

Today, six troupes were at the Cathedral. I could not choose a favorite troupe, but the matachines wearing powder blue were tireless! First to arrive, they were last to stop dancing. They also had three strong dancers who wore wooden-soled shoes that sounded like clomping horses' hooves as they stomped. You could hear the hoofbeats over the general din. 

I took a photo of them during one of their rare breaks where they yielded the prime dancing spot, as they gathered in excitement when our Bishop walked out, and quickly surrounded him. Our Bishop is from Malta and he is hilarious. 

Matachines gather in 2021 around Bishop Peter of IHM, Las Cruces, NM

You can't see it from here, but a table was set up and just COVERED in roses during the dancing, then brought into the Cathedral. Roses are associated with Our Lady of Guadalupe, or OLOG, as it is often abbreviated.

Here is a vintage Mexican Christmas card I have in my collection. I had to smile, because it looks so similar to the Mexican "Loteria" (bingo) cards' designs. Catholics and bingo are like peanut butter and jelly!

vintage mexican christmas card

All of my Mexican Christmas cards have roses on them. This has a rose and bud, very fitting!

I'm continuing to try to fast and to go out to nature each day. Nature seems to know it's Christmas fever this time of year! Even these leaves turned red and green! 

red and green oak leaves for fall and christmas

I hope all of you are well, and I will be hopping to your blogs today to catch up on what I have missed! 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly


  1. What a fun read about the Y'allMark channel. You have quite an imagination. Both stories had me grinning.

    Those matachines reminded me of Plains "Indians." They were dressed so well with the feather headdresses. Lovely vintage Christmas card, too, dear Holly. Sorry you got ghosted. Somehow I doubt it was the pink shoes that did it.

  2. I literally laughed out loud when things got STICKY at the candy factory.

    This was so interesting & educational about the dancers! I learned a lot.

    Be well and good luck with finding a perfect job for pink fur-lined shoes

  3. Oh my goodness! I love your sense of humor and creative writing abilities! You could really write some good sitcoms! Hi-Larious! LOL!! Love it. And then, those goodness, what talent and creativity and energy! Those costumes are amazing! Would love to see such an event as you are describing! Now, about those "pink shoes"...hey...I think you should wear them to every interview...the right place for you to be will love them AND you, and it will be a match made in heaven! Who wants to work in a stuffy place where they don't appreciate the comfort of pink fur lined shoes? Comfort is at the top of my list, especially FOOT comfort! If my feet ain't happy, ain't none of me happy! LOL. I know God has the exact right place for you...and in the meantime, keep dancing and writing and telling your stories. You may have missed your calling!

  4. It they can't take pink shoes at an interview they are not worth working for lol.
    I love the description of that celebration is sounds colorful and fun! It is funny my aunt who passed away recently always had roses at Christmas the only person I knew that did that. I would love to see more pictures of the dancers.

  5. Oh know I'm from Arkansas too so I got a lot of your humor in this post! I have 'tried' to watch some of these movies but I never get very far wonder! hahaha! Take care and enjoy your day and going through your possessions. I sure need to do more of that and donate some of mine! Hugs!

  6. Loved your post! I've been watching holiday movies on Netflix, which seem to take place in cities more often than Hallmark ones, but they have the same general plots. Take care and hope you're feeling better.

  7. have you thought about selling your yallmark stories to hallmark? it would fit right in with their sci-fi stories. somewhere there are teens and children watching these stories, much like I stuffed my head with romance books when a teen and young adult that will be stunned when they find out life is NOT like these movies... it took me years to figure out life would never be what I thought it would be. i laughed out loud at your youallmark.. sorry you did not get the call for that job... from reading this, finding a job is a lot different these days

  8. Oh, I love the Hallmark Christmas shows! But it DOES depend on the actors playing the characters. If I don't care for the actors and actresses, I won't even watch the movie. I think last year's selection was a little better. Your pink sneakers are cute. At my church, there are two statues of Mary, one is of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Look at the outfits on the dancers! - so festive and a pretty blue. The Mexican Christmas card is lovely and filled with color. Love that vintage snowman card! Vintage cards warm my heart. I can relate to them very much.

    Have a splendid December week, Holly.


  9. your pink shoes are the bomb, and should have nothing to do with the content of your work ethic. Sorry you did not get the job. Mayhap there is one even better in the offing which is just for you, shoes & all.

  10. You described the costumes beautifully. I live in an area more populated by tribes of the Sioux Nation. There are many different tribes. I have attended some of the pow-wows they hold periodically. The dancing is mesmerizing.

  11. Your post brought smiles to my face when I read your ideas for Christmas movies. Too funny. What's not funny is that you're not feeling any better yet. I hope and pray you discover something that helps.

  12. Hope you get to feeling better. I'm sorry you didn't get the job. Their loss! I enjoyed this post! You had me laughing out loud with your Y'llmark movies. You are so funny! I sure appreciate your comment on my last post about the leaves. My husband and I have decided to rake our tiny front yard and back yard and leave all the rest. For 30 years I've raked most of our five acres and now feeling the effects of it all. My sister says it is possible to work yourself to death. :) I love how you described your little log home. It sounds adorable.

  13. Wait....I am pretty sure I saw Yankee Doodle Candy... ;-) I know someone who watches Hallmark Christmas movies NON-stop... When I would ask what she was doing and said, I would alway say "Wait...don't tell me how it ends!" I don't think she ever realized I was being sarcastic LOL. How fascinating about the dancers... I always learn something from you. Bummer about the job. But they did not even have the courtesy of informing you. For shame. They don't deserve the likes of you. ~Robin~ (Fur-lined, no tie, tenny runners??? Color me jealous!!!)

  14. I am not sure why I still watch Hallmark movies myself as we all know how they will end, but I guess it makes me feel good. I always tape them and my mom and I watch them together. Very interesting about the dancers. TFS. Cute shoes too! Janice

  15. Another fun post! Hey, we Arkansas gals just wear our granny boots all year round these days! :~)


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