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Rio! Rio! demonstrated skills of yesteryear
by Rex Niemeyer
Nov 23, 2012 | 1045 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bobby Rendon of Victoria shows tools and equipment used by civilians during the Spanish Colonial Era during Rio! Rio! on Nov. 10 at Goliad State Park.
Bobby Rendon of Victoria shows tools and equipment used by civilians during the Spanish Colonial Era during Rio! Rio! on Nov. 10 at Goliad State Park.
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As another Rio! Rio! came to an end, I am always amazed at the skill various demonstrators display.

If by chance you were one of those unlucky ones who missed all the fantastic demonstrators this year, I encourage you to mark next year’s event on your calendar. Rio! Rio! is always held the second Saturday in November.

This year, a thought came to my mind while watching the demonstrators. In all the time I’ve worked here at Mission Espiritu Santo, I’ve heard many people say that life must have been simpler in “the good old days.”

Dare I challenge such a statement? Even I have been caught saying it in the past, and probably you have, too.

To test that idea, I compared how our demonstrators did things “in the old way” versus how we do things today. Take firestarting, for example. It was amazing to see how fast a cooking fire can be started without lighter fluid or matches. It compared favorably to how quickly it takes for my modern stove to heat up (but it took a lot more work than a click of a switch).

Another example is clothing. Nowadays, it seems like it takes forever to go to the store and sort through 100 different items before purchasing a shirt. But how does that compare to the time it takes to shear sheep or pick cotton, spin and weave the fiber into cloth, dye it to add color, and finally sew it into a garment? Interesting, huh?

And then there are utensils. One demonstrator made hand-woven baskets, while another made a pottery bowl to catch cornmeal being ground by hand on a stone mano and metate. I, on the other hand, will be deciding whether to use real or plastic plates for our family Thanksgiving meal while I put a package of store-bought corn tortillas in the basket I picked up at Dollar General.

I don’t know if life was better back then or not, but it is always good to examine what life was really like in the past compared to how we live today.

Next year, come to Rio! Rio! and you too will get a taste of life before electricity.

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