Thursday, July 31, 2014

La Llorona

Entertaining my three granddaughters when they come to our house doesn't require much imagination or effort. What we mainly do is Play. Among their favorite past times are drawing, playing house and racing the Matchbox cars that belonged to their dad. We've
also invented a few games that they never tire of.
There’s “Monsters and Animals” which involves pushing, shoving and tickling on top of their grandparents’ bed.
            “I’m an alligator with sharp teeth.”
            “I’m a hippo with a huge mouth.”
            “And I’m a lion with sharp claws.”
And we roll and tickle and shove and laugh until grandmother calls time out for a rest.
Another all time favorite is our version of Jack and the Beanstalk. They call the game “Fee-fi-fo-fu.” I, the giant, stomp around the house hunting for them in their hiding places, while I growl, “Fee-fi-fo-fum.” Their giggling usually gives them away, followed by screams when I find them and threaten to take out a bite of a plump arm or leg.
Last week, we played a Latin American version. We had just watched a Mexican movie, “La Llorona,” based on a legend of Maria, whose children had drowned. Destined to haunt the villages at night in a shroud, wailing for her lost children, she kidnaps village children. I learned of the legend years ago in California and heard the song “La Llorona” on Mexican radio stations. But my Chilean husband had never heard of it.
Throwing a large dark blue shawl over my head, I announced to the girls, “Soy la Llorona. I’m the Llorona”. With hysterical screams, they ran off to find hiding places. I wailed throughout the house, discovering their curled up bodies in dark closet corners, behind armchairs and, finally, under their grandfather’s office desk, with him trying to put on an innocent face.

The child in me loves to play and laugh. I wonder, when the girls are grown, if they’ll remember playing La Llorona with their grandmother.

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