Many a year ago, I worked at a pizzeria. Myself and a few other employees were sitting around gabbing before we opened. A friend of mine had told me a story of when she worked at a pet store and had to pronounce chihuahua phonetically to get the correct spelling. Think Chi who-ahh who-ahh. Another co-worker came in to the conversation at the tail end and promptly corrected my pronunciation.
So my brain kicked in and instead of explaining what we were talking about I promptly told her my pronunciation was indeed correct for the following reason. I explained that in the late 1600’s while France, England, and Spain were still trying to carve out their piece of the pie on the American continent that the spaniards found a quicker way to get to the west coast so they could expand eastward. She never asked how and if she had I would have probably told her the Panama Canal. She wasn’t too bright, just saying.
So English spied on them and found their secret route and wanted to do the same. Unfortunately they crashed their ships on the Hawaiian Islands due to a typhoon and several rats made it to shore. Of course the natives were upset because the rats were destroying the eco system by eating bird and lizard eggs as well as carrying disease.
In turn they asked the Spaniards for help and they had just the right solution. In Spain they bred rat killing dogs and would lend them to the Hawaiians. They were ecstatic and accepted the offer, due to the language barrier there was a mispronunciation of the Spanish word for the rat killing dog the natives called them Chi who-ahh who-ahhs. The original Spanish name had been lost to history as they didn’t want to correct their allies and upset them. Once the dogs had done what they were bred to do they were returned to the Spaniards after a few years so they wouldn’t harm the ecosystem.
So to this day we get the Spanish spelling of Chihuahua instead of the Hawaiian spelling and that’s why she thought it was pronounced that way.
Speaking of the Spanish I told a neighbor gal that Cinco de mayo meant 5 jars of Mayonnaise. Stick around for that story next.
This particular year cinco de mayo fell on a Saturday and I lived in an apartment complex the residents affectionately called felony flats. Why you might ask. Lets just say I didn’t need a television during those years to be entertained, I would just pull up a chairmon the second story landing and watch the drug deals, Johns picking up their dates, the various dates fighting over who stole what John from whom, but this story isn’t about that.
Anyway myself and some other neighbors were drinking beers at another neighbors I’ll call Big Bob. As mentioned before it was a Saturday and it was Cinco de Mayo so there were several block parties going on. A female neighbor poked her head in and asked what was going on around the area.
Someone told her what celebration was happening and when she asked why I jumped in and said it was during the Mexican/French war. The Mexicans had run out of ammo and defended their fort to the last man with what they had. Five jars of mayonnaise hence the cinco de mayo. She thanked me for explaining it and went on her merry way. I’m pretty sure someone has corrected my story after nearly 30 yrs.
Moral of the story, I’m not a historian and always check the facts (especially if people are smirking and holding back laughter as was the case in both stories) or you just might get a fanciful story that’s fake history.
Edited by newbloodmoon