My mother tells the story of when she was a young girl in Mexico. She’d spend entire days in the cerros of Mexico. Herding goat and finding ways to entertain herself. She wasn’t in school. She didn’t play with her friends. She didn’t dare disobey her parents when they sent her out everyday to herd goat on the hillsides of their tiny ranch in Mexico. It was a different time then. And her taking care of those goat served a purpose. It was her way of contributing to the family’s needs.

Opportunities were hard to come by back then, and putting food on the table was a job that required the participation of every single member of the family, no matter how young.

So the story goes that when she was in the cerro she’d rely on her imagination for entertainment. She’d come up with little games that she could play all by herself. Nature was her playground and in that freedom she had the liberty to dream up entire new worlds that were all her own. Corn husks in particular were especially important to those imaginary places. You see, she’d take the corn husks and shape them into little people. Those little people would be assigned personalities and characteristics. And everyday when she was out there herding goat they also became her daily companions.

The corn husks were her friends.

They weren’t fancy or nearly as colorful as the one pictured below, but I like to think they were much more elaborate and beautiful. – Juan

Mexican Corn Husk Dolls