Family, Latino culture

A to Z Challenge: S and T are for Sábanas y Toallas

photo by Igor Ovsyannykov for

This is the last week of the A to Z challenge, which presented me with (you know the answer)-


I’ve never blogged every day; at the most twice a week and lately twice a month. This endeavor tested my commitment and discipline which were good things.

Every once and a while test yourself, commit to something new, dare yourself to try what you haven’t tried before.

Now on to the letter S and T.

The words that begin with the letters S and T which I’m most familiar with are sábanas and toallas.

These words mean bedsheets and towels.

During my childhood we were poor. Living in the housing projects poor, state government food poor, no dryer poor. We hung clothes on the rope clothesline in our asphalt backyard.

My job was to hang the sábanas and the toallas. They were the large items and with a little struggle, I could throw them on the clothesline.

The smell of bleach and detergent hovered in the air around me as I made my way down the lines.

Mom came behind me, taking wood clothespins out of her blue gingham apron pocket, and pinned the sheets and towels.

Old fashioned wood clothespins. Photo by Nong Vang for

I’d sit on the porch watching the white sábanas and colorful toallas sway in the breeze, feeling important because I helped my mom. I wondered when I’d grow tall enough to hang and pin the clothes myself.

By the time I turned nine, I could reach the clothesline. Hanging wet blouses, heavy jeans, and the families underwear (except Mom’s, who hung them in the shower during the night) was no longer a desire but a chore.

At that point, my daydreams switched to Mom buying a clothes dryer.



Latino culture

A to Z Challenge: R is for Rana and a Rhyme

Little tail of the frog. Photo by Jared Evans for

R is for Rana, a frog.

Anytime a kid in the neighborhood (under age 5) fell or got a cut his/her mother would rub or tap the area and sing this:

“Sana, sana, colita de rana,
y si no se cura ahorita, se cura mañana.”

In English, it’s confusing and doesn’t make sense.

“Healthy, healthy, little tail of a frog,
and if not cured now, cured tomorrow.”


As a kid, I wondered why the little tail of a frog was involved in a healing rhyme.

The frog tail portion may allude to folklore or tales of healing, involving a curandera’s (healer) use of “tail of frog,” or “eye of newt.”

The rhyme is not to be confused with this frog:

Not this frog. Photo by Jonathan Youssef for


I never thought to ask why my mom or aunts sang this song. I went with it and kept the song going with my own kids, puzzling another generation.

This rhyme is only for little kids. Once you hit five, if you fell, cut, or otherwise injured yourself you were expected to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going.