Tag Archives: confucious

Home again, home again…

3 Feb

With yesterday’s snow on the ground outside, it was hard to believe that we just came home from two weeks by the ocean in Mexico. We’ve been going to the same town – Barre de Navidad – for a number of years and this year we brought a couple of friends with us and introduced them to “our” small Mexican town. At first, I wondered if they would love it as much as we do… after all, it is not a resort town in any sense of the word. Fortunately, they did. We all enjoyed sitting on the beach, playing games, eating tacos (thank you Ritchie Ruiz!), and sipping the local beer. It was really a wonderful time.

gandj

George and Joyce

Emile and me

Emile and me

Before going to Barre, I collected an assortment of gifts to bring along. Usually when you sit on the beach, vendors approach selling their wares.  Most of the time, we say, “No, gracias.” However, I would also ask, “Tienes ninos?” Most every vendor did have children, and then I would ask how many and their ages. Once this was determined, I would let them choose a gift for their kids. It didn’t cost me much, was fun for me to do, gave me a chance to practice my Spanish… and I made friends along the way!

gifts for Mexico

Beanie Babies, Crayola Crayons and Pencils, etc.

We had friends visit us in Barre as well. David and his wife, Rosalba, used to live in Ashland but now have returned to their home near Guadalajara. When they know we will be in town, they make the long drive to spend time at the seaside with us.  They are salt of the earth folks and we feel like a part of their family. Somehow we communicate quite easily because hearts will find a way to do that if you give them a chance!

Ramirez family

Leslie, Miriam, Rosalba, and David

Because I really need to make pies, I brought along ingredients to make a few. I hauled several pounds of cookie crumbs and a half dozen pie tins through TSA (I wonder if that even seemed strange to them?)  Of the five pies I made, three were coconut cream and two were chocolate cream and  I know at least two were delicious as we shared them with our friends.  One of the three pie “gifts” went to an old man recovering from a recent illness. He didn’t really know me but we had stayed at his inn about five years ago. I walked in and (all in Spanish) explained that we had once stayed there, that our friends stayed there the week before, and that we really loved Barra all while holding the pie.  I sensed his confusion and finally blurted out, “Esto es un regalo… gracias por todo. ” The smile that appeared on his face was absolutely glorious! Lesson: Next time, lead with the part about the gift and maybe those other details won’t even be necessary!

pie prep in barra

Parts of the pie-making process

coconut cream pie in Barra

Coconut Cream Pie

marketplace bowls

A trip to Mexico wouldn’t be complete without a day at a local crafters market. The bright colors of the pottery and the array of shining silver jewelry are stunning!  I’d love to take it all home with me… but alas, that is not possible. Instead, I limit myself to a few items as gifts and a few more as colorful reminders of our time there.

Market Vendor

Jose Ruis Montoya and Artesanias Huichol

Beach items

Gifts from the Sea

Each time as we walked the beach, I took a bag to pick up debris because I really feel that Barra is my beach and I want to do my part to take care of it. Occasionally we would find evidence of the recent hurricane but, all in all, the playa was pretty clean. I found this spigot and couldn’t leave it behind though I don’t know what I’ll do with it yet. The beach glass is something my Mom used to collect and I think of her each time I find a piece.

At the end of two weeks, it was very hard to leave Mexico behind because I feel so comfortable and at home there. It was shortly after returning from Barra five years ago when I began my pie project because I realized just how much I have to be grateful for. For many reasons, I think that a part of me will always remain in Mexico even when I am home again… And, really, that is as it should be.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”  Confucious

 

 

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“Home” for the Holidays

24 Dec

Alexandra

A few days ago, my daughter, Alexandra, flew from New York to spend the Christmas holiday with us.  What seemed to be a pretty simple plan – fly from LaGuardia to Medford, Oregon – proved to be anything but.  After arriving at the airport (via taxi because of all the bags she was carrying) she was told by the agent at the US Airways counter that her flight had been cancelled.  The agent then told her that they would put her on a flight out the next day.  “No… I need to get home today” Alexandra told the agent.  In short order, the agent told her that she could get on a flight that day… but that flight was out of JFK.  “But I just spent $55 to get here for my flight” Alex told her.  “Save your receipts and tell that to customer service… but if you want to leave today, you need to get to JFK,” was the reply.

Alexandra did as she was advised and took a cab to JFK in plenty of time to board the plane for the west coast, but as sometimes happens, that flight was delayed for more than an hour. That  would not have been a problem if that one flight had led to her ultimate destination, but unfortunately, it did not.  When the plane finally arrived in San Francisco, Alexandra and another passenger ran for the Medford flight… thrilled to find that it was delayed and still at the gate.  They happily boarded thinking that they would only arrive twenty minutes later than their originally scheduled time.    But that didn’t happen either.  Instead, for numerous reasons too mundane to relate, the plane did not take off for almost two hours!  When Alexandra and I last spoke I told her that I would pay for her cab because I couldn’t stay awake waiting for her any longer.

The next morning Alex shared the details of the trip… and the delightful seat-mate that she had met who took her home when they finally arrived in Medford.  My grateful heart wanted to thank that woman for taking care of my daughter in the wee hours of the morning… and so, I made a pie.  I gathered apples, walnuts, and raisins and a crumb topping and in short order had a pie in the oven.  Later that day, Alex and I drove to the woman’s home… and discovered that she had moved into the home where Alexandra’s singing coach used to live.  What a small world… and what a wonderful coincidence!

Apple Pie assembly

A few days after Alexandra arrived home, she, her Dad, and I, packed up the car and drove to Missoula, Montana where her brother, Coco lives,  so that we could all spend the holiday together.  On our journey here, we spent the night with friends, Shawn and Catherine, in the Dalles laughing, playing “Last Word“, and sipping red wine.  Yesterday we drove the last 400 miles or so, listening to the book “Cutting for Stone” on the CD player.  We realized last night that it has been 4 years since we were all together for Christmas.  We are enjoying this snowy Christmas eve in a warm kitchen, listening to old vinyl records, while Daddy Emile prepares the turkey for our feast.  I feel pretty darned lucky right now.

Apple Pie

To close, I want to share these few words from a book entitled “Have a little faith” by Mitch Albom.  I love his stories (Tuesdays with Morrie,The Five People You Meet in Heaven) and this one is just as good, but is a true story.   In the epilogue, he shares this memory.  He is talking with the Rabbi and asks him what he would do if he had five minutes alone with God.  The Rabbi says that with the first minute he would ask God to help his family members.  With the next three minutes he would ask God to counsel those who were suffering.  And then Mitch asks, what about that last minute?  And the Rabbi says this is what he would say:

“Look, Lord, I’ve done X amount of good things on earth.  I have tried to follow your teachings and to pass them on.  I have loved my family.  I’ve been part of a community.  And I have been, I think, fairly good to people.

“So, Heavenly Father, for all this, what is my reward?”

And Mitch asks, “what do you think God will say?”

“He’ll say, “Reward?  What Reward?  That’s what you were supposed to do!”  And then Mitch and the Rabbi laugh together for a long while.

Tonight, I send you my best wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and whatever it is that you celebrate with the people you love.

family-card

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.  ~ Confusious