I had today off from work and needed to go to town. There is a new Mexican place in town and I wanted to try it. From all appearances the restaurant looked to be a mom and pop fast food Mexican place. We have one such Mexican place in town and its reasonably good and the prices are cheap. Having had good luck at Maria's I thought I'd give it a go.
The restaurant turned out to be a Mexican chicken and rib joint. There are 4 choices on the menu, roasted chicken, pork ribs, beef ribs and prime rib. You can get any of the above either Mexican style or American style. I opted for Mexican style roasted chicken. After I had about half of my lunch eaten, the owner came out to see how I liked my food. I told him it was good and that I liked his homemade salsas. His blending of cumin, cilantro, and dried mustard for a meat rub was a delight as well. I let him know that I appreciated him doing the extra work to make traditional food and not being just a fast food place.
He was pleased by my critique and disappeared into the kitchen.
A little while later he came out to let me know that the United States was about to beat Spain in football (soccer). As a general rule I care as much about sports as I do about whatever Barbra the the other nags are babbling about on "The View". I know its on. I know other people are interested and I can talk semi intelligently about some aspect of the topic for long enough to make some limited small talk. This strategy normally works for me. At least it works better than my old response of starring blankly and mumbling incoherently.
From what I gathered from my host, the US beating Spain in football (2 to 0) is an accomplishment akin to the Detroit Lions going undefeated for the season AND winning the Superbowl. Or in non-sports terms, it wold be like having Ron Paul be president AND Roy More being Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Apparently its just to fantastic to contemplate.
He made a couple trips back and forth from the kitchen to update me on the game happenings. Then he came out and and gave me the news. The US had won. I said that was too bad. Then it was his turn to stare blankly and mumble. Foolish me. I assumed the Mexican would be pulling for Spain. WRONG!!! He only roots for team USA. If the US was playing Mexico, he said, it would make him sad because he would still cheer for the US of A. He and his entire family were born in Mexico, but AMERICA is his country.
Then he told me his story.
When his oldest son was 8 he moved his family up to Wheatland WY so he could take a job as a ranch hand. He was only making enough money to just barely feed himself his wife and 5 kids. His boss had seen his little boy playing ball and he tried to get him to let the kid play little league. Now the 10 miles to town and back was more gas than he could see himself spending just to let the boy play baseball. He told his boss no. Well, in America a kid just ought to be able to play little league and the rancher said he'd take the boy into town for practice and games. So being shamed into the deal, he let his son play but he drove him in for games.
The boy (and dad) didn't know very much about baseball but the kid was a quick learner and did pretty good. One game they let the boy pitch an inning. 3 batters, 3 strike outs. Next game the same thing happened. It seems the only way the boy knew how to throw the ball was side arm and it would spin all over the place, but he could always hit the catchers mitt. Nobody could hit off the kid including the older boys.
After a couple of years the son gets to play around the state and they do well because of his pitching. Pretty soon dad is getting to hang out with the other parents and gets a better job, the boy goes to highschool and then he gets to go to college. The son never goes pro or anything like that, he's good but its just a game not a passion. The family works hard and saves. The son graduates college and gets a very good job at a coal mine. Then this last year dad gets a chance to start his own restaurant. Do you know what Jose takes the most pride in? His son is now a citizen.
He likes other sports. His kid even played American style football till he blew his knee out and had surgery at 19. Soccer is what he likes best. America is the best country on earth. Even though our soccer team apperntly isn't the greatest, there is a border jumper now living in Wyoming, that cheers for team USA.