It’s hard to believe, but the year is already one-third over. Easter was a little late this year, so the feeling that we have just celebrated it is a logical one! And since then, both the Poteet Strawberry Festival and Fiesta San Antonio have been celebrated. I didn’t get to watch any of the parades on TV this year, mostly because they were being broadcast when I was having bad weather and the TV was off!
My recent trip to Devine was uneventful, all the bad weather waited until I was safely home before it came in. Saturday and Sunday were both relatively quiet for me. Saturday, I went on a small “road trip”. I had seen an ad in our paper for a garage sale and decided to try to find it. Guess, what? It was one of those placed that “you can’t get there from here”. Meaning I wasted nearly an hour trying to get there before I turned around, came back to town and went the way I thought was simplest to begin with! The lady turned out to be someone I knew; however, she didn’t have much that I could use. I found a game with a chapter book for children to read here at my house and a couple of books for myself.
This next week is going to be a busy one, as I have Pokeno on Monday afternoon and in the evening, there is visitation and a rosary for one of our locals. I know the family; his wife is a lady who knows how to stay busy! She is our ringleader when it comes time to make noodles for our various fundraisers and is totally pleasant to be around. I’ve gotten to know him a little bit, as he was a member of the American Legion post that I attend the Ladies Auxiliary. Tuesday, I have the monthly meeting of our Hospital Auxiliary and the in the afternoon, a turn in the gift shop. Wednesday will find me back in Victoria once again with my new hearing aids. I think sometimes it’s like Pat Dubose used to tell me, when I had a computer problem “operator error”! Truthfully, I’m doing very well with them, just a couple of little glitches.
May is a month with more holidays/celebrations than many of our other months. First, we have May Day on May 1. It is not celebrated in our country as much as it is in other countries. In some, it is celebrated with parties, May poles and May baskets. In my grade school days, we made a May basket out of woven strips of construction paper for our mothers. When I was working at the nursing home, one of the aides, made each of us a May basket filled with tiny flowers and hung them on the doorknob of our office.
My information about this date was gleaned from the internet several years ago.
It was on this day in 1862, that the Mexican army, for the first time, defeated the most feared French army of Napoleon III. He had been planning to take unconditional control over Mexico. Napoleon III observed how the Spaniards had controlled the land in colonial times and how they lost it. He had also seen the northern part of Mexico was later of great interest to the United States Emancipation plan. It was through the treaty of Guadalupe Hildago that Mexico lost one half of its territory. The government was split, headed by Zuloaga and another headed by Benito Juarez. Under these conditions, Napoleon III wanted the land even more. He, therefore, sent the Austrian, Ferdinand Maximilian, to take control (under Napoleon IIIs orders) as Emperor of Mexico.
Mexico was not willing to have any more colonizing and ruling from other Empires settling in the land. It was a time to fight back and be respected. All their gold and silver were under the Spanish power when they had first colonized the land.
President Juarez decreed that no man between the ages of 20 and 60 would be excused from taking up arms. He was determined not to lose his people’s land. He made it clear to the citizens that any traitors would be taken prisoner, and have his possessions confiscated by the State. He guaranteed to protect the lives and property of French citizens who lived in Mexico.
The French proclaimed General Almonte as president of the Republic of Mexico. Not all of the citizens of Mexico accepted him as President. Those who were loyal to their country still depended on their only president, Benito Juarez.
Juarez sent a warning to Napoleon III, who later denied receiving it. In it Juarez indicated that the citizens did not want a monarchy and did not want to be controlled by the French Empire. He also warned Napoleon III that if the nation’s sovereignty were attacked, the citizens would resist, and sooner or later freedom and justice would win. Napoleon took all of this as a joke because he did not recall his army back to France but continued his aggression into Mexico City. On April 12, 1862, President Juarez had no other choice but to make his nation aware of the French invasion. He asked the people to support the Mexican army in the impending battle and to defend their independence. He reminded them that, in war, everyone suffered, but no type of misfortune was greater than the loss of freedom.
General Ignacio Zaragoza was appointed to gather forces at Puebla to defend Mexico City. Zaragoza and Juarez, as well as the French, knew that the only way to Mexico City was through Puebla. If the French were able to gain control of Puebla, Mexico would be in their hands. General Lorencez was put in charge of taking Puebla. IN many instances he was informed that the citizens of Mexico were willing to accept the French in their land and that there was not going to be any combat at all once he reached Puebla. Lorencez had no idea that the inhabitants of Puebla were actually waiting for him.
Puebla had over 80,000 inhabitants and over 150 churches and was surrounded by a chain of five forts. Zaragoza had an army of about 6,000 men who were placed in the forts. The others were held in reserve in the city, where he had erected barricades in most of the streets.
He knew that at this time of the year, showers were to be expected frequently. The rains made the roads almost impossible to use, causing heavy cannons to get stuck on mountain roads. The hailstorms would also make life miserable for the soldiers, and if there was an outbreak of disease, such as smallpox or typhoid fever, this would also wreak havoc. The Mexicans knew their territory, which gave them a great advantage, in spite of the fact that they were short on supplies and weapons.
On May3, 1862, Zaragoza arrived at Puebla and discussed with the citizens the possible tactics that the French would use. On May 4, Lorencez arrived at the village of Amozoc, a few miles north of Puebla. He did not know where to attack. Almonte advised him to attack from the west and added that Puebla had never been taken from the north. Others advised Lorencez to attack from the north. The French army arrived near Puebla at 9:00 a.m., on May 5, 1862. Once there, Lorencez’s army was attacked by a small group of Mexicans. The French took a stand and realized that they were not going to be as welcome as they thought they would be. At 11:00 a.m., the battle of Cinco de Mayo began.
To get into the city of Puebla, the French army had to bring down the Fort of Guadalupe and also Fort Loreto, which was about half a mile away. For hours they kept advancing closer to the fort’s walls and did not seem to be doing any damage. After about an hour and a half of fighting, they had spent nearly half their ammunition, and the French infantry was sent in to capture the fort. They were under strong musket fire from the Mexicans in the fort, and from others sheltered by rising ground halfway between the two forts. The Mexican artillery in Fort Loreto was also turned on them.
Acting on orders from Zaragoza, Porfirio Diaz led a charge against the French infantry in front of the fort. That afternoon a heavy thunderstorm drenched the combatants, obscured visibility and made the ground slippery. Lorencez did not have a chance and he knew it. He was running out of weapons and losing soldiers. To save his army, he knew he had to retreat. At around 7:00 p.m., the French army retreated from Fort Guadalupe to a position at the foot of the hill and waited for a Mexican counterattack. The French erected their tents and spent the light listening to the Mexicans cheering and celebrating their victory by singing Mexican songs and the “Marseillaise”, which to the French was “our Marseillaise”. Lorencez waited for Zaragoza to make the next move, staying for two days in the city of Puebla. But, after seeing that Zaragoza was not coming, Napoleon’s army had to walk through the silent mountains, defeated, with 462 men and eight of their prisoners taken.
President Juarez decided to make the Battle of Puebla a holiday, along with Mexican Independence Day (September 16). The battle came to be known as the “Batalla de Puebla”, in which civilians of the poor Pueblo de Puebla defeated the great French army of Napoleon III.
2 pounds chicken, thighs or breasts, de-boned and cut into 2-inch strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
Juice of 2 limes
1 bottle dark beer
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
½ tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Cilantro, cut up
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
Place chicken and next eleven ingredients into plastic or glass bowl and marinate at least 18 to 24 hours in fridge. Heat a little olive oil in a sauté pan, drain meat and sear in hot pan, adding the bell pepper. Cook until done, about 4 to 6 minutes. Serve in hot tortillas with salsa.