Two piñatas hung from the patio's rafters, a five-foot tall Tecate Beer Can, and an equally
large Gran Dama (Great Lady), both made of papier-mâché. The maids of honor formed a
Juan Carlos explained, “Guadalupe never had a Quinceañera; her family could not afford
it, so her friends on the hotel staff decided to make her retirement party her Quinceañera.”
Music began. It was the Triumphal March from Aida. Armando Bernard Noriega, owner
of the hotel, gave his arm to Guadalupe, who was dressed in white, and led her in pro-
cession followed by her damas de honor. They circled the center fountain followed by the
train of ladies. Men got up from their chairs to offer an arm to each lady and joined in the
procession. Smiles and joy and laughter filled the courtyard. When the procession stopped,
Sr. Armando Bernard danced the first waltz with Guadalupe. One by one men cut in to
dance with her.
Guadalupe moved cross-court in front of a cake that was decorated in color with Cinder-
ella. Guadalupe stood for photos. I greeted her, spoke about her retirement and her plans,
and thanked her for being her guest at her Quinceañera. I couldn't imagine a more suc-
cessful Quinceañera or one with more respect and love for the celebrant.
Downtown Hermosillo was quiet. I walked past the museum to a central park with a statue
of Jesús García. I knew his name from a corrido, the song Máquina 501 ( Locomotive
501 ). In 1907, Nacozari, a mining town in Sonora, was threatened with destruction when
a dynamite-laden train caught fire. Alone, Jesús took over Locomotive 501 and drove the
burning train to the edge of town. He needed only a few more yards to reach safety himself
when the dynamite exploded. Jesús lost his life, but saved the town and hundreds of lives.
In his honor, the town was renamed, Nacozari de García.
I caught a taxi to the top of Cerro Campana (Bell-shaped Hill) that overlooked Hermosillo.
The view is like looking over Phoenix from Pinnacle Peak.
The taxi took me back to my hotel. I rushed a meal and changed into my only long-sleeved
shirt. I had seen a poster advertising La Lágrima ( The Tear ). The Ballet Company at the
Casa Cultura would perform the dance at 8 p.m.
It was a young, college-aged crowd. I purchased a single, general-admission ticket for 60
pesos ($5.50). I read the program and tried to understand the story. The best I could get
from it was a quote from the director, Adriana Castaños, “Dance is a social act.”