Bringing in the Sheaves….or at least the clothing

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 ( 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!


About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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4 Responses to Bringing in the Sheaves….or at least the clothing

  1. Barb, have I already told you I love your writing, your humor, you love for Mexico and its people that shines through between the lines. I went to see Ernie Ford on utube and really wanted to sing out along with him but since I am in a cyber cafe in the village, just a teen age kid watching shop, I thought I might scare him. Do not know where I learned this hymn, since we were high lutheran, with some lovely hymns but not much jolliness or thumping. Probably at Baptist summer bible school or camp. The donations are really lovely. Am looking forward to seeing them in person on our packing day. I take off tomorrow for two days to Mascota, will be in touch when i return. PHyllis psYour confusion about sheep and sheaves reminded me of a toddler cousin in a cemetery asking how they squeezed the people into the head stones.

    • Barbara says:

      Oh, Phyllis, I wish you would have started belting out the song with Tennessee Ernie Ford somewhere here in Joco! That would have been so cool!

      And, p.s., how DO they squeeze the people into the head stones???

  2. Peggy Haner says:

    After reading about your activities and thoughts today, I had to look up the lyricist and composer of Bringing in the Sheaves, a song I sang many a time as a child. Knowles Shaw was a Church of Christ minister and wrote this song in 1874. Since that church doesn’t use musical instruments, it was originally sung a capella which just sounds fantastic to me. I can almost see the rooftops being raised. Being from an agrarian area, I imagine this song being sung at harvest time. It seems you are “harvesting” stuff for the oldsters. And the stuff does look really good! If I were driving down there with a load of stuff, I would include lots of plump-y cushions for bony butts. Just sayin’…And warming creams for arthritis. In my dreamy dreams, that’s what I’d bring.

    Our family had that Tenn.Ernie Ford album and I listened to that LP many times as well as his secular songs such as “You load 16 tons, whaddu get?, another day older and deeper in debt.” Sounds like a good song during election time. I did not remember or never knew that your father may have resembled Tennessee Ernie. Candy Barr probably threw a number of looks his way back when…

    • Barbara says:

      I’m thinking that the cushions are pretty much available from what’s on-hand in the average Mexican living room, so that’s taken care of. And one of the things we have in abundance here is great weather without a lot of humidity, so maybe the arthritis isn’t too bad. Mine’s not.

      But when you DO come to visit, I’m sure we’ll have a list for you!

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