Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Protestant Cuban at Christmas

Many stories have been written about culture-clash experiences. My story is not unique. When I was growing up, however, I always felt like the round peg in a square hole.

There were 2 times of the year when I felt it most; Christmas and Easter.

Let's start with my mom and dad in Cuba. They weren't Catholics. They went to a Methodist school, got married in a Methodist church by a gringo Methodist pastor. My extended family wasn't Catholic either; they were Episcopalian. I'm not sure what that meant to other Cubans in 1950's Cuba. But I sure as hell know what that meant in 1970's - 1980's Miami.


It meant we didn't go to "La Misa del Gallo" on Christmas Eve at midnight. It meant that during Easter, I was the only kid in my school without the ashen cross on my forehead on Ash Wednesday. It meant that I was the only kid eating croquetas and bistec on Good Friday.

It meant that I was the only kid in my school who spent an inordinate amount of time in church (most of my classmates did not attend Catholic Mass on a regular basis. They usually went, as far as I could tell, about 5 times a year).

I was usually dubbed "El Santito" or "Religious", or something sublime like "That kid that goes to church 3 times a week and is a wierdo for it". Things like that.

Being a Protestant-Cuban in a Catholic-Cuban world wasn't easy. Thankfully, I was part of a church where most of my friends were going through the same stuff I was. We were all freaks from different places -- I lived in the Southwest Miami area, others lived in Perrine, a few lived in Hialeah. But we were all dealing with the same challenges.

We also had a lot of fun. We got to experience some things that, maybe, some of our Catholic friends never got to experience.

What follows over this Christmas holiday period is a time of reflection on growing up Protestant-Cuban, especially at Christmas time, in Miami. This is my "A Christmas Story", without Scott Farkas.


Anonymous said...

"El Santito"... cute!
You're still a freak!
- Y-O!

mora68 said...

Oye, Markweetooo...I resent 'gringo'