Everyone Loves Lucy
SMA: Faith Is Culture
By Joseph Toone
Last Thanksgiving I wanted to make a cake for my Spanish teacher modeled after Lucy Ricardo from the 1950’s I Love Lucy show, because my teacher wore a black polka dotted dress similar to one on the show.
A fellow student and Canadian pal came with me to pick up and then deliver the cake. Upon viewing the masterpiece, the Canadian exclaimed, “Who is that?” So I explained I Love Lucy and Lucille Ball with the connection to our teacher’s dress.
The Canadian stated, “No one will know who that is!” I simply shook my head sadly like I do whenever he says something stupid like that. So upon leaving the bakery, a gringo across the street shouts out, “Hey, hey…is that Mrs. Arnaz?” I replied, “Hey, hey… she’s working here and prefers to be called Miss Ball.”
In a brief 10-minute walk we had no fewer than six couples stop us to take their picture with the cake version of Lucille Ball/Ricardo.
However, Mrs. Arnaz isn’t the only well-known Lucy in town. In addition to the former mayor, there are the images of St. Lucy. She is easy to spot as she holds two eyeballs on a gold platter, making her the patron of the blind. Her image in churches is normally surrounded by eye milagros for her assistance with vision problems.
Legend states the young Lucy was born of rich and noble parents around 283 AD. A wealthy pagan lad pursued Lucy although Lucy had dedicated herself to a life of virginity and poverty in a convent. She had given her dowry to the poor, famously stating, “Whatever you give away at death you give because you cannot take it with you. Give now, while you are healthy, whatever you intended to give away at your death.”
To dissuade her aggressive suitor, Lucy sought to make herself unattractive, and being clothed tip to toe, resorted to plucking out her eyes the suitor so admired. The Virgin Mary immediately gave Lucy two new eyes to replace them and the young man went away. Meanwhile, Lucy was put to death for her faith.
Lucy’s feast is on my brother’s birthday, December 13. Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a festival of light, where the name Lucy comes from. It is said that to vividly celebrate St. Lucy’s Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light. Guanajuato hosts a church and a neighboring pueblo in her name. Here in San Miguel, the Association of the Sightless in colonia Guadalupe bears her name.
I used the video of Lucy Ricardo speaking to her Spanish-speaking mother-in-law to help teach English, and her pantomime of having chicken with rice for dinner always brought forth local laughter. Whether in TV, cake, or saint form, it’s hard to go wrong with a Lucy!
As the number-one rated local tour guide on culture by TripAdvisor, I provide tours on Thursdays and Fridays at 9am from the Oratorio Church. To learn more about faith and culture in San Miguel, visit CatholicSMA.com, which benefits children’s library and art programs.