Words on Wednesday …

29 Dec

Thinking of La Vecindad just last week when Chente passed away, and then I find out that someone from La Vecindad had only a few days left to live and it hit me again.

All the memories flooding in from my childhood with Doña Maria, her caring and easy-going nature, and some of best pozole I ever tasted.

She lost her battle to cancer a few days ago and I felt that saddened pained heaviness in my heart. She’d met me when I was in diapers, and knew me through my first communion, TrapperKeeper and PeeChee folder days all the way until high school graduation. I’d seen her almost everyday. She’d been part of all the carne asada and Vencindad parties. She’d been there my entire childhood watching me grow and now she was gone.

In peace, I hope. No longer suffering the hurt that comes with cancer.

I was lucky enough to see her a few days before she had passed and I mentioned my favorite story …

Being a latch-key kid growing up, it was super important not to forget or lose your your key. I happened to forget it on one occasion and I had no other choice but to sit on the steps and wait. Cold and cloudy. I waited for someone to come home.

Doña Maria’s husband, Don Chuco, coming home saw me sitting there, like a stray dog and invited me to come upstairs and wait until my parents came home. We walked in and the first thing I noticed was the smell of something savory coming out of the kitchen and the giant painting of The Last Supper hanging near their dining room.

Doña Maria came out and smiled.

Ven mija.


That’s what she called me. It felt warm and fuzzy.

Sit down, sit down, what were you doing outside waiting, you know you could have come up here and waited inside. Come sit down, we’re gonna eat some soup. I was part of their family. In La Vecindad we were all family.

She served me a bowl of warm soup and I joined them at the table. As we began eating they both grabbed tortillas from the basket, but I just kept eating my soup. Then they grabbed another, but I just kept slurping away.

They looked at each other and smiled.

Don Maria asked if everything was all right and I said it was fine, tasted good. Don Chuco shook his head and in his big deep booming voice said …

Oyes que no sabes que con tortilla se llena la gente …”

Roughly translated it meant … Don’t you know that tortillas help you fill up? Eat up.

They laughed. I smiled. I took a tortilla from the basket.

She let me watch cartoons the rest of the afternoon, by the window, so I could see when my parents came home.

When I told my dad later that night about the Last Supper Painting, the soup, and the tortillas, he chuckled. Said we should probably buy more tortillas then …

Doña Maria smiled at the story as she sat up on the bed wincing in pain.

Ay mija.

She smiled.

I smiled.

She passed away five days later and I felt sad. Still do. Hard to picture strong, kind, salt-of-the-Earth people that I knew, that were part of my life, part of La Vecindad no longer being here.


I send her light, love, sunshine, and waves.



Buen Camino …




7 Responses to “Words on Wednesday …”

  1. beth December 30, 2021 at 2:31 AM #

    she sounds like a wonderful and warm person and you were so lucky to have each other in your lives. i’m sorry for your loss and love that story of her and the last supper

    • The Guat January 2, 2022 at 12:38 AM #

      She was a real nice lady, and it hurt to see her go. Got all these people from the old neighborhood that were a piece of me. She was good people and I’m sorry she got sick. Thanks for hearing her story. Hope you’re doing good 🙂

  2. Sorryless January 1, 2022 at 8:12 AM #

    A divine inspiration to a young soul, and one whose breaths keep filling you and always will. She left the room but she never leaves here, this place. And that’s because people like you can pen her into being and we can meet her over a bowl of soup. That is the beauty of your talents and your soul, hermana.

    Happy New Year

    • The Guat January 2, 2022 at 12:44 AM #

      She left the room but she never leaves here … I like that hermano. Thanks. Seeing people from La Vecindad just brings me back, takes me back. And I’m that kid and they see me as that kid, and we’re having good times and hard times and fun times. Little stories here and there stand out and that one, that one right there is clear. I was sorry to hear of her passing but glad you got a chance to see a little bit of her through my eyes. Thanks for reading hermano. Hope the New Year treated you well. Sunshine and waves …

      • Sorryless January 2, 2022 at 2:31 PM #

        And so true, Cali.

        It would make one heck of a book, with images and all. Just saying.

        Feliz Ano Nuevo hermana!

  3. Island Traveler January 3, 2022 at 12:02 PM #

    Heartwarming , loving , generous. Inspiring post. Thank you.

    • The Guat January 5, 2022 at 11:21 PM #

      Thanks for reading my friend. Those are tough days but you find a little sunshine in the memories …

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