It’s hard to buy English language books in Mexico so I recently acquired the Kindle – fast, efficient, thousands of books. Heaven! In the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, I send for a book.
The other night at quarter to three when curious things happen, I reached for the Kindle and pressed the small start button at the bottom. Nothing. Press again. Nothing. Was I too far from the computer for WiFi? I went to the study and placed the Kindle in front of the computer. Press. Nothing.
The next morning, Max found me grumpy and I told him why.
“Go to Kindle help,” Max said sensibly, taking a tin of raspberry muffins out of the oven. Max annoys me when he’s sensible.
I went to Kindle help and a young woman with an accent came on the line. I described my problem.
“Oh, so sorry,” and “Ooooh!” she said sympathetically several times.
Patiently, she talked me through 25 minutes of clicking, tapping and swiping.
The Kindle was fixed. I thanked her for her patience and asked where she was located.
“The Philippines,” she said.
I gulped. The Philippines. Super Typhoon Haiyan. Tropical Depression Agaton.
I said, “It makes my problem seem so small. I’m sorry for your people’s troubles.”
“My people are strong and we work together. We will be o.k.,” the young woman said. “Your problem is your problem and no small matter to you.” Then she said, “Have a good holiday.”
I wished her the same. With all the terrible things that had happened to her country, she still had an abundance of patience and kindness to give me.
Gift # 2
Max and I are not enthusiastic drivers, so when we moved to Mexico, we decided not to buy a car, but to take taxis. We take them so often, I know our drivers by name.
On December 12, the Feast of the Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico, we were invited to our local base station’s blessing of the taxis, their drivers, their families and their passengers. Of course we would go.
The taxis were gone from the voluminous concrete garage. In their place were long tables draped with tablecloths. Folding chairs faced a grand altar – the Mexican flag in the background – green, white and red – and a life-size statue of the Guadalupe flanked by magnificent bouquets of green, white and red flowers. Candles burned. Incense curled. From the kitchen sang the smell of onions frying, meat roasting, tortillas baking.
Max and I sat near the altar and as I listened to the prayers and songs, I heard people gradually filing in behind us. When I turned around, about 150 had gathered and I recognized many of the cabbies. There were also wives, elderly people, children and babies – all had faces used to smiling.
After the blessing, we shook our friends’ hands and were invited to share a Mexican banquet. For a while, we were family.
Maybe it’s no coincidence that the colors of the Mexican flag and Christmas are the same.
Gift # 3
Recently, a carpenter was installing a large shelf in our kitchen. It was getting on to eight o’clock at night and Max and I were waiting in our high ceiling-ed living room, surrounded by antiques, impatiently waiting for him to hurry so we could go to dinner. He was working. We were moaning and groaning about dinner.
Suddenly the carpenter started singing “Amazing Grace,” a song of gratitude and praise. He wanted to finish his job and was singing to help him along.
Max and I looked at each other and knew we were learning a lesson. Amazing grace. Indeed.
Wishing you abundant gifts all year long!