On Friday night, my kids and I were loaded in our old diesel wagon and driving up the 101 to go teach workshops in the city for the weekend. I was proud that we got an early start and were due to arrive in Oakland, because no matter how hard I try, I usually can not arrive before 11pm. The car was packed full with everything necessary for the workshop, personal items including my daughters collection of dollies and such and 3 bikes on the external bike rack for the ultimate combo of work and play! On one of the turns just South of San Juan Bautista, my steering slipped and we jolted a little out of control. We were still going forward at about 65 MPH and everything seemed OK. I wasn't sure if I was just going too fast around the corner or if there was something wrong with the steering. I kept going and got off at the next exit. It was very apparent that the steering had slipped dramatically when I pulled over and I did not know what to do.
It is these moments we rely on our community. Our friends and family. Our neighbors and farmers. I know some people will criticize me for this decision, but I ended up driving 25 MPH about 4 miles to the packing shed of Happy Boy Farms. I am usually such a brave and independent woman, but I was so scared! My kids could sense it and were singing sweet little bhajanas to calm me as we drove. We made it safely that was familiar to us and a place I knew I could find some friends. I hadn't seen Pedro and his wife, Antonia, in 5 years and I felt welcomed the minute they saw me. They made me some tea and we told stories of our visit to their village in Puebla, Mexico. We reminisced. I finally got ahold of a friend who seemed completely willing and happy to help me in my predicament. I realized that in these situations we just run down a list of possible solutions. We call friends and family and rely on our network. It is problem solving at its best!
In enters Luis and the real reason I am writing this tale. It really struck me how generously Luis gave me the favor of helping me out. I wasn't really sure what I was asking of my friends that I called. I called to get help troubleshooting my situation. I was upset and could not figure out what to do. I didn't want to cancel my workshop!!! Luis said "no problem Mama, I will be there in about a half an hour and help you out. We have worked together for 6 years and Luis affectionately calls me Mama. His voice was sweet and calming. I sat with my old friends and we all drank cup after cup of lemon balm tea. The kids started to play together despite the language and age difference. We took photos and reminisced and caught up. Ry even took out his violin and played a few songs for them.
Luis came an hour later. He pulled up in his low riding charger and his wife was in her car with their 7 month old and 6 year old daughters. They were all smiling and happy. Luis said "It's OK Mama, we are here to help you. You can just take my car for the weekend. Have fun and do not worry about it." I thanked his wife and daughter and apologized and they were all so warm and happy. It was 9pm on a Friday night and there was no air of inconvenience at all. Luis helped me transfer everything over from my car to his. He even insisted that we take our bikes with us and helped me move the bike rack over. He wasn't concerned at all that we would scratch or overload his car. He so sweetly helped me until everything was finished and his wife in kids just happily waited. Their spirit was so kind and generous. As we were about to part Luis said "Have fun you guys! I filled up the tank for you and will see you on Monday".
My kids were elated!!! We had just spent some time reconnecting with old friends and now we had a MAJOR UPGRADE in cars. The charger is pretty much a bat mobile. It has 20 inch rims, tinted windows and a booming system. We parted with all of our friends and had a most elated drive up the the city. I know that it felt so good, because it was a favor so generously given. It was a great reminder for me during this time of year leading up to THANKSgiving and the gift giving season. Whatever you give or do should be given generously and graciously so that it can be enjoyed all the more! Luis is my hero. No matter how tough he tries to look, you can see the sweetness in his eyes. It is a real talent to give so generously, and it is a quality which should be actively cultivated by all of us.
PHOTO by Michelle Magdalena