Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada

I’m sitting here in Tlapa de Comonfort, thinking of my family and friends in Canada celebrating this wonderful day of gratitude (and trying to not think of my five-hour drive to Xochitepec in the rain this afternoon). Mexico doesn’t have a Thanksgiving Day in its annual calendar. Lots of pundits could come up with a punch line for the reason for that, I’m sure.
Showing up for breakfast with Simona and Hipólito at their house in San Marcos
But despite the impoverishment and injustice that exist here, I think (and wish) that Mexico could incorporate such a day into its calendar. Not so much in terms of thanksgiving for material benefits, but thanksgiving for so many incredibly noble people here. It would be a “Thanksgiving” more along the lines of the words written by Richard Wagamese, the great Ojibway author and journalist from northern Ontario. On his Facebook page today, he posted the following (I hope you don't mind me sharing your thought, Richard—thank you):

I love stories. I work with stories. I live with stories. So that this weekend when everyone’s focus shifts to thanksgiving, I ask myself, “What story am I telling myself about this?” Am I telling myself the story of thankfulness for the usual, easily observed things in my life? Or am I telling myself the bigger, wider, all-encompassing story of thankfulness? The story that includes thankfulness for the clarity of my mind, the full range and sweep of my emotions, the openness of my heart and spirit, the health of my body, the ability to be productive, to be useful, to be of service to someone, for the blessings all around me right now. It’s all about the stories we tell ourselves. This weekend I want to tell myself a great, grand story of thankfulness…Peace, friends. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Simona preparing coffee for breakfast
And it would be a “Thanksgiving” that would celebrate the incredible sacrifices and struggles of people to bring new life to this country. It’s hard on a day like today to not think of the families of the 43 disappeared education students from the teachers college in Ayotzinapa, and those who accompany them (like the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Mountain) in their struggle for truth and justice. I thank Warren Harbeck for his article this week in The Cochrane Eagle newspaper; the article was called Where are Mexico's "disappeared" 43 this Thanksgiving?, and it ends with this paragraph:

This Thanksgiving, as we in Canada are united once more with our families in joyful celebration, let us remember the families of these 43 disappeared students in the State of Guerrero. May they finally find deliverance from this nightmare of uncertainty and realize their dream of reunion.

Hipólito and Mike waiting for the coffee
After the coffee there was tortillas and a spicy chile sauce—no beans today
After breakfast, we just sat and talked around the "kitchen stove."
My friends, excuse this short greeting. I should get on the road as soon as possible. It is raining hard, the roads that I will be traveling are muddy, and I want to do my best to try to get to Xochitepec before dark. That way, I can at least (hopefully) enjoy a supper of beans and tortillas tonight to celebrate Thanksgiving. That’s not a complaint: I will be sharing that meal with Fathers Juan, Eugenio, Vicente, and other wonderful friends—and isn’t that as good a reason as any for giving thanks?
The roads are not great toward the end of the rainy season
Thanks, my friends in Canada, for your friendship, and thanks to many of you for supporting Mission Mexico. Have a great week, and (in Richard's words) this weekend tell yourself  "a great, grand story of thankfulness." That's what I will be doing as I travel this afternoon—and you are in that story. “Talk” to you soon.
So far I've not failed to make it to my destination—although I confess to arriving late on occasion

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