Monday, May 16, 2011

Mi Casa Es Su Casa

When I was a young hippie wannabe, I hitchhiked with a friend through Mexico and Central America to South America, where we planned to spend the winter and then go back up to Alaska to work again on the salmon fishing boats. Along the way, we stayed in modest (read dirt cheap) accommodations, sometimes in a home that rented rooms. These homes were in the shape of a square, with all the rooms opening onto a small, central courtyard.

I remember one place in particular. It was a hot afternoon in southern Mexico, and over in one corner of the courtyard there were several comfortable chairs in the shade. I went over and sat down with a book. A child came out of the nearest door and stared at me. I tried out some high school Spanish, and soon we were pointing at things and naming them in Spanish and English. A little later, some people who appeared to be his family came out and sat down, drinking some cool beverages, offering some to me. I stayed on for awhile, pleased to be mingling with the locals.

Let me make sure you have an accurate picture here. I was, at least at that moment, an unwashed, immodestly dressed, in full bloom flower child, hanging with this rather elegant, proper Mexican family, who did their best to make me feel welcome as they passed the heat of the day in this pleasant corner of the hacienda, while I pestered them with my tedious attempts to communicate.

Later that evening, one of the other guests, a more experienced traveler than I, took me aside and told me that I had been sitting with the owners of the home on their private patio. That trip was long ago and I have many memories of it, but none that taught me as much as that family, who, instead of shooing me away so that they could enjoy their afternoon siesta, graciously treated me as an honored guest.

reposted from archives


  1. What a wonderful story you have shared Galen. Sometimes those memories that pop up are the real treasurers in our day!!



  2. Because you were an honored guest. Honor transcends age and appearance.

  3. That sounds exciting and terrifying! I wish I could have explored in the full-blown hippy days!

  4. There are good people in this world, full of kindness, understanding and patience. I am so glad you had such a wonderful experience.
    Katy x

  5. Great post and there really is nothing better than kindness. Thanks for sharing this story.

  6. what a lovely experience for you....and I might add for them too :)

  7. Hi Galen,
    I treasure fond memories and make an effort to memorialize them and have them on call for future enjoyment. Every morning Kathy (my wife) emails me two pictures (either from my youth or shared experiences) that trigger wonderful memories (it never gets old) and I save them in a large file named Wonderful Memories (how's that for a creative file name).

  8. Wow- what an awesome experience- you are much braver than I!

    Thanks for the neat read!

    Visiting from The Blogging Buddies Social Network

    Have a super-fantastic day!

    Come on home - mom blog
    Working at home advice

  9. Galen That is a wonderful story and told just in the perfect size. Thank you

    Kindness is sometimes simple and sometimes more complex - but the energy must have been just right for it all to mesh. And how bold we are in our youth - just so we can find connections and connect :)

  10. You probably looked homeless! :-D They didn't know you were just hiking around the north and southern hemispheres. Back in the 60's and 70's you could get away with all that. Like the hippies who wandered up to Yaszgur's farm in Woodstock NY looking for food and water. And most of the residence obliged.

    These days you'd be hard pressed to find a family that would accommodating. Just too many legalities.

  11. Thanks for all your comments! Riley, I love the practice you and your wife have. That is so sweet! By the way, I have gotten behind in my reading this last week--busy cleaning out my office and getting ready to retire. I started catching up today, and I look forward to getting caught up with your blogs soon.

  12. Galen,
    Thanks for your comments -- I too have had some wonderful times with kind people who never hesitated to show me their wonderful and open hearts. I have been lucky in that way but not so much lately. Your comments and posts mean more than you may know. Some of us readers and occasional commenters out in the big, bad, internet world receive your happy and thoughtful comments with open hearts -- hearts which are sometimes too full to even describe. Yet when I read your posts, I take heart and find some hope that maybe, just maybe, there will be be some open hearts and caring beings who are not too shy to accept the care that you so lovingly lavish on your readers. Cathie

  13. Cathie--What a lovely surprise your comment was! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your encouraging thoughts. I'm sorry that you have not felt so lucky lately in this regard. I'll share a blessing someone gave to me. "Here is my prayer--that you are given at least daily a reminder from at least one of those to whom your presence on this Earth has been important that you are remembered and that you are loved."


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