Jim Terry
June 26, 2010
Cinco de what?
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By Jim Terry

Schuyler County, New York is a beautiful area of the state. Watkins Glen, our ultimate destination and the county seat, sits at the south end of Seneca Lake, the largest of the group of natural lakes in the western part of New York State known as The Finger Lakes.

The lake is thirty-eight miles long, covers more than 42,000 acres and is the deepest lake in New York with a maximum depth of 618 feet.

The forested hills which rise from Seneca's shores are dotted with clearings. Many of these clearings are vineyards. The Finger Lakes area of New York is wine country, and Seneca Lake is home to more wineries than any of the other lakes according to the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance web site.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Schuyler County's estimated 2009 population was 18,720, down about 2.6 percent from the 2000 census count. The 2008 estimate of white population was 96 percent. The 2008 estimate of persons of Hispanic or Latino origin was 1.5 percent.

One purpose of our trip was for my son-in-law to visit his dad who is the chef and food and beverage director at the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen. Chef Fred arranged our accommodations at the hotel which overlooks Seneca Lake's harbor. A few sail boats and cabin cruisers bobbed at the piers. However, most of the boats were still dry-docked from the winter season.

The full service hotel opened in July 2008. The staff is friendly and helpful and the rooms are luxurious. The hotel's restaurant, The Blue Pointe Grill, Chef Fred's domain, has a complete menu. We ate at the hotel several times, but also had some superb off menu and less formal meals at his home.

We arrived in Watkins Glen late Sunday, May 2, and my wife and I checked into the hotel. Sonin- law and NattyNic stayed with Grandpa Fred.

As the week progressed we noticed signs at several eating and drinking establishments about the upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration.

About one third of Texas' population is Hispanic or Latino, the majority being of Mexican ancestry. We know about Cinco de Mayo in Texas. I asked a woman in Watkins Glen if she knew anything about Cinco de Mayo. "No," she said. "Only that it is a reason to have drink specials."

Ask a Mexican about Cinco de Mayo. Most don't know what it is about. I have been in Mexico on May 5th. Business was as usual-no celebrations, no parades, no parties.

On May 5, 1862, the Mexican army defeated a French force at the town of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo is observed in the state of Puebla, but it is not a national holiday in Mexico.

I wondered: Why is Cinco de Mayo celebrated in Watkins Glen, New York, 2000 miles from Puebla, Mexico and with an estimated Hispanic population (with no estimate of nationality) of fewer than 500 persons in the entire county?

As the woman said, "...it is a reason to have drink specials."

America is schizophrenic when it comes to the matter of illegal foreign entrants/occupants. Many of the people who complain about the problem are not beyond going to the local drive-in grocery, where out-of-work illegals often hang out, and raising two or three fingers to indicate how many workers they want to take home for cheap yard work. They then pay in cash, on which no taxes are paid, which furthers the already unmeasurable underground economy and ultimately costs those hypocrites more taxes to support the illegal foreign entrants/occupants who they have encouraged to bring in more illegal foreign entrants/occupants with the hope of unreportable income.

What message do America's businesses send by adopting a minor foreign holiday which the majority of the population of the country of its origin doesn't celebrate? It may not be American, but it is a reason to sell more booze, which means more cash in the till.

How about celebrating Turkmen Carpet Day? Or, ratchet up the music and pop a few cool ones with Garifuna Settlement Day.

Needless to say, I didn't celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Watkins Glen; I didn't celebrate it in Mexico; I don't celebrate it in Texas. In addition to some Christian holidays, which I celebrate, I celebrate holidays made in America, about America, for America, just as I look to purchase products Made in America.

Next: Culturized in Corning and Heading Home

© Jim Terry

 

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Jim Terry

Jim Terry has worked in Republican grassroots politics for 40 years. Terry was an administrative assistant to a Republican elected official in Dallas for twenty years. In 1996, he ran for and was elected to Justice Court 2 in Dallas County where he served eight years. Contact Jim at tr4guy62@yahoo.com

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