Thursday, September 23, 2010


Today I took a drive down to the parish hall with our maintenance man, Chris.  Chris is one of my new favorite people.  He's a lot of fun to listen to, and his stories are great.  But more than anything, he will smile while he tells you he's great and when he's not.  He always has a positive attitude, the kind that rubs off just seeing him.  (Side note: I remember Dick, a volunteer at MCR, talking about a lady at work who inspired you to walk away if you saw her coming toward you because her grumpiness was so contagious.  Chris is the opposite.)

So we get in his little green Datsun truck and head off.  When finished at the hall, he asked if I would like to see where he lives.  So we drove up there, and I told him what a great view he has.  His wife, who is Mexican, was outside, so Chris asked if I wanted to see Maria's garden.  It was absolutely fantastic.  We wandered around, and Chris delighted to show me the squash climbing up the pinon trees, still flowering 10 feet in the air.  He showed me the tomatillos and the stalks left of the corn.  It was a lot of fun when Maria joined us.  I spoke a little broken Spanish and then felt more fluid speaking with Maria about the plants, asking questions about her garden.  She broke open and shared so much.  It was very life-giving.  I was even invited inside to see her other plants.  I have certainly met my match; though I have so much more knowledge, she has tons of experience.  I look forward to next year's garden season, so we can compare notes.

While inside Chris noted the pile of freshly made flour tortillas.  Maria quickly wrapped two up for me, which I devoured tonight with green chiles and garlic...delicious!  We talked about food, being vegetarian, tamales camarrones (shrimp tamales), eating healthy, nopales (a cactus I enjoy eating, which made Maria excited; she did tease me that it is meat because you eat the flesh of the cactus), chiles and spicy food, and some more about plants.  It was really refreshing, and I think we both were beaming. 

I had met Maria once at church, but she didn't comfortably speak English.  I don't know how much of it she speaks, but I that Sunday I wasn't sure if she liked me.  Now we're friends.  When Chris came back to the office from lunch later in the day, he brought me a jar of Maria's salsa caliente.  It is very good, and I am looking forward to the exchanges of homemade goods over the years....especially if she makes the tamales camarrones!

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