In the late Spring of 2013 my brother-in-law and I put the dock in the lake. The water temperature was 62 and the sunny air hit 72, which was warm for Southern Maine. David and I went into the water with hesitation, but it wasn’t so bad once we were in the lake. Coming out was another thing. Both of us shook from the long immersion in the cold water.
My sister ordered us to take hot showers and we obeyed her command to the tee. When we returned to the kitchen two margharitas waited on the table.
“Happy Cinco de Mayo.” My sister was a big believer in holidays, both national and international.
“Viva Juarez.” I raised my salt-rimmed glass to clink a toast.
“Why Juarez?” My brother-in-law smacked his lips. The margharitas were tangy with lemon.
“Juarez led a revolt against the Catholic conservatives and in 1861 declared a moratorium on debt payments to France, which claimed the previous government owed them over $52 million, but only had issued $1.2 million in actual money. Juarez protested that firstly the loan was made to a deposed government and secondly that the amount was based on usury. The family of the French Emperor owned the paper on this debt and Napoleon III convinced England and Spain to defend its right to get paid.”
“Sounds like that could happen now.” My sister taught finance at a college in Boston. Sovereign debt had crushed countries across Europe and her students were buried under credit card bills and student loans.
“England tried to force Iceland to pay the debt of its banks and they kicked out the government. The banks punished Iceland by closing all the McDonalds. France in 1862 showed up with an invading army, which pursued Juarez forces toward Mexico City. On May 5th the Mexicans stopped running at Puebla and fought French forces twice their force. They achieved a great victory and thereafter celebrated Cinco de Mayo.”
“Let me guess.” David was enjoying his margharita. “The French sought revenge for this defeat.”
“How well you know the French. They installed a Habsburg emperor protected by an imperial army.”
“Second guess. This ended badly.”
“Maximilian I was executed by the Mexicans ending all foreign intervention and Cinco de Mayo was important to the USA, since the Mexicans stopped the French from supplying the Confederates with arms.”
“Cinco de Mayo.” We clinked glasses again and my sister fixed another batch of drinks.
I like mine with salt.
We weren’t going anywhere on Cinco de Mayo than where we were.