When I was a kid and still attending church, I loved hymns. Not all of them, but a lot of them. And one of my favorites was “Bringing in the Sheaves,” although, honestly, I thought for a long time that the title was “Bringing in the Sheeps.” My Sunday school class had a picture of Jesus with the lambs, like the one above, so it made complete sense to me.
For whatever reason, I was reminded of this song today as I looked over at my dining room table and saw all the warm clothing that my card-playing friends down here have donated for the old folks of Nestipac. Maybe I thought of the hymn because so many things donated are made of wool? Who knows.
A couple of weeks ago, I put out an appeal to my morning games group friends for warm clothing and/or money to benefit the ancianos here in Jocotepec, Jalisco, Mexico. I knew that I could count on the one other woman who lives here on the west end of Lake Chapala (Kathi), but I was amazed and delighted that my buddies who DON’T live in these parts jumped in so wholeheartedly.
On 27 October, I hosted the card games here at my house. Seven people showed up and every single one of them brought clothing with them or offered money for the Christmas posada for the old folks in Nestipac. One of the things I like best about this is that these are old folks themselves who are contributing. Oh, sure, for the most part not as old as the elders in Nestipac, average age probably 80, but certainly our games group has an average age of 65.
You should just see the things they brought! Lots of them way better than anything that I own. But, hey, I don’t really care about clothes so it’s only appropriate that the ancianos get the good stuff! There are sweaters and bathrobes and jackets and windbreakers and even some coats!
As I’ve mentioned lots of times, the weather down here around Lake Chapala is pretty much fabulous year-round, but it DOES get a chilly in January and February, particularly for older folks. (It’s even chilly this early in November this year!) And almost none of us have heaters or fireplaces in our house, except maybe some of those electric stand-alone ones that cost a freakin’ fortune to use. So we mostly just pile on more and more layers of clothing and wait for March.
And who wouldn’t be happy piling on one of these sweaters or windbreakers!
Last year at the Christmas posada in Nestipac, we gave each attendee a warm (albeit rather small) blanket, a warm piece of clothing, and a little langiappe (as we used to say in New Orleans). That is, a little something extra. Maybe some socks or a knitted hat, for example.
This year, our “leaders”, Phyllis Rauch (http://losdosmexico.com/) and her assistant, Mari, have decided that instead of everyone getting a blanket, at least some folks should get a food basket (dispensa, in Spanish) that contains some of the staples we use daily here (rice, beans, and oil, for example) to go along with their piece of warm clothing. It’s a wonderful idea and I hope that we’re going to be able to pull it off.
Gringos with discretionary income are not as prevalent here in Jocotepec as they are in Chapala municipality, which contains gringo enclaves such as Ajijic, La Floresta, San Antonio Tlayacapan, Riberas, and Chapala. And, of course, there are so many worthwhile charities competing for funds around Christmas time.
But those of us who live on the western end of Lake Chapala, locals and expats alike, are generous with our time and what money we have, so hopefully we’ll have enough for all the ancianos in Nestipac. And, as I said, the women in my games-playing group, most of whom do not live in Jocotepec, have made a substantial contribution to the cause.
So thank you, ladies, for everything that you have done! You may not always win at games, but you’re not gonna lose on this!
If you are interested in contributing to this year’s posada, please contact me via my blog. I watch for comments like a hawk, so I’ll be in touch with you soon!
And here’s your video link…and the version that my mother used to play at home on the HiFi because she thought my father looked like Tennessee Ernie Ford….and looking back on it, she was probably right! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u67Lb1RyXTU