No Coke and a Smile

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Seven years ago my preferred beverage at “every” meal was Coca Cola in a nice tall glass and poured over several small cubes of ice. It is embarrassing to admit now, but I used to drink at least four 12 oz. cans with every meal. I am not joking! I had grown up drinking the beverage and, to this day, can’t even recall the first time I tasted it.

I ended my relationship with Coke oh so reluctantly. I made the choice to end my ritual of having four 12 oz. cans at every meal simply because I was packing on the pounds like a sumo wrestler. I also had been given advice by several friends that there would be other health consequences if my over consumption continued unabated.

During that time I never viewed my little guilty pleasure of Coke consumption as an addiction; that was until I tried to stop drinking it.

Initially I figured, “No big deal, I’ll just stop cold turkey and change up what I drink at meals.”

I received a rude awakening each time I attempted, early on, to deny myself my favorite drink. I, quite literally, was going through withdrawals. I had headaches for the first time in my life and felt agitated, easy to anger. This was not my personality. Those who know me, know how even tempered I am.

I began my path to being Coke free by cutting my consumption in half and giving myself a timeline of gradually decreasing the amounts I drank over time.

It took me more than a year to reach the point where I could say that I was no longer drinking Coke. A year! Well… that was seven years ago and I could have said, before yesterday, that I was seven years Coke free.

Now, about my little experiment yesterday.

Oh, before I start getting the emails, phone calls and strange looks in the streets let me clarify something. This was not an “official” Scientific Method variable compensated blind double blind type of experiment. No it was not. This exercise was purely anecdotal so don’t run off to the presses with an application of my results as evidence for anyone’s social or political agendas.

Here’s what happened yesterday.

I had a long drive I was making, listening to music and felling a little nostalgic. Somehow, some way, and I don’t know where the thought came from but, I got the idea that having a nice cold Coke  would be refreshing. I rationalized the decision by telling myself that the caffeine would help keep me awake for the drive.

So I stopped into a gas station convenience store and purchased a bottle of Coke.

I got into the car, opened the bottle, heard the familiar sizzle and fizz and then tilted the bottle back to enjoy my first sip in seven years.

It was disgusting!

There was no familiarity in the taste at all. My first impression was that it tasted like watered down carbonated castor oil. To add to the horrible taste in my mouth, the interior of my nose felt a slight burning sensation and my  eyes watered a bit.

It was only a sip!

These physical responses were immediately followed by me belching about four times in a row.

I thought my experience had ended after the final belch but then I was left with a nasty chemical-like castor oil after-taste in my mouth and what felt like a thin layer of milky coating on my tongue.

It took me half a bottle of water to wash down the majority of the after-taste and that still did not do it completely.

My Coke experiment was a disaster for me physically but a success mentally. I won’t be trying Coke again and I am quite sure that I’ve been cured of my nostalgic reflections over the good old days when I could sit and drink four 12 oz. cans with each meal.

Yesterday I definitely did not have a Coke and a smile.


Note: Because I know so many of you will ask, I am just going to tell you. The symbol on my head in the post picture is an Adinkra symbol known as Kuntunkantan. Kuntunkantan is a symbol representing consciousness, among many other things.

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Inequalities in Education

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I recently returned from a school where I spent the day in classrooms, performing assemblies and having lunch with students and staff. The school was immaculate with manicured landscaping, plenty of windows, a huge gymnasium and even an Olympic size swimming pool. Art was displayed “everywhere,” both student work and that of professional artists. The cafeteria prepared meals upon student requests and all of the children had unfettered access to the campus library. Oh… by the way, did I mention that this school is an elementary school serving grades K though 5?

I dismayed at the inequity of resources distributed to our educational institutions. It is unconscionable what we are doing to entire generations of citizens in many of our schools.

Equally, I can speak about schools I’ve visited where poverty, in all of its insidious forms, is devouring the hearts and minds of our children; where educators, pummeled by political agendas appear desperate and destitute of a desire to teach.

I am well aware that there are those among us with a desire to totally dismantle public systems of education. I am also aware that these same ideologues have been hard at work over the decades deconstructing what has taken centuries to build.

Are we a society or simply a population sharing a landmass?

I think that I periodically write these blog posts decrying the state of miseducation because it is difficult visiting schools and bearing first-hand witness to the inequalities.

While so much attention is being given to the financial crisis and the domestic political wars waged in partisan politics; little, or no, focus is being directed to the deconstruction and dismantling of our educational infrastructure.

If education is our passport to the future and tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today, then our future is not very bright.

Please disagree with me or offer a rebuttal that will change my perspective. I am so open to it.

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My Heroes of Hospice

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While in Mexico I received an email from the director of volunteers and bereavement services, Kaiser Permanente. It was a request that I perform for a group of hospice volunteers during one of their social gatherings.

My heart was touched that someone would think to include me. I felt honored. There was “no-way” that I was going to miss participating in that gathering, even if it meant that I had to move a few mountains to be there.

So much of my work, over the years, has consisted of being at the bed-side of the ill or those in transition and playing my Kora. It may seem like a terribly heart wrenching experience to voluntarily subject oneself to an environment where another human being has passed or is dying but, there is an indescribable beauty that is born in those moments.

My most cherished memories are not the performances where I’ve had a few thousand people in the audience, but the rare  opportunities I’ve been invited to play my Kora in a room of family members helping their loved one ascend onto the next levels of life.

So… like I said before, there was no way that I was going to miss sharing space and time with men and women who give of themselves so completely as do hospice volunteers.

Patty, the director and I, completed coordination my participation while I was still performing on tour in Mexico. We were all scheduled and set before I returned back to the States.

December 3rd was the day of my performance for the group. I couldn’t wait to be there! Hospice volunteers possess a rare and special soul. My admiration for their work extends far beyond simple respect into adoration.

Not too long after I arrived, I was on stage playing my Kora, singing and sharing a few tales. For me, it was magical. The gathering was small intimate gathering of about 30 or 40 people, all hospice volunteers. They were a lively, energetic crowd. Active participating wasn’t an issue as they were more than ready, willing and totally able.

When I requested they sing with me, they sang with such enthusiasm that I felt like I was sitting at home among friends and family. When they unearthed little tidbits of my tales, they laughed and spoke out unapologetically. I was in performer’s heaven.

By the close of my performance I felt like I had made a lot of new friends. I even found one woman who loves sewing and volunteered to help me out if I needed any tailoring (what a find!). I may have also been talked into doing a “Cure for Cancer Walk.”

I can honestly say that I loved being a part of this gathering. It was one of those small, intimate performances that feels most gratifying. There is something about being in the presence of people who are not only giving but equally demonstrative as well that feeds the spirit.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Kaiser Permanente Hospice Volunteers. I think I walked away with more from than I was able to give.

It was truly a blessing to have been permitted to be of service to such selfless souls.


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I’ve been sitting here in the airport of the City of Culiacán for the last hour and a half. I finished performing for the students of Instituto Senda. It is an odd feeling sitting in this tiny airport listening to the Blues being played over the loudspeakers and hearing everyone speak Spanish.

I really must relate my experience at Senda because it was extra ordinary. This the school held an assembly of all of the students, parents, administrators and staff. Apparently they do this every Monday. The children have been raising money for causes such as Cancer, feeding the hungry and other things. There was a young child there who was on stage saying thank you to the entire school for the support and resources he received to treat a hearing defect.

I was taken onto a stage of an outdoor amphitheater and introduced to the school. It grew silent when I took the microphone. I began addressing the audience in Spanish and you should have seen the smiles explode all across the audience. It felt so good! Parents were nodding their heads in agreement with me and students were cheering. One of the administrators approached me after the address and hugged me and said, “We weren’t expecting you to be able to speak Spanish.” Another small triumph for decisions made in my youth.

I performed for three separate sessions, which went really well. I also visited a several classrooms. My classroom visits ranged in age from children 4 and 5 years of age to those much older, a few rooms of 14 and 15 year olds. My host, Edgar Sandoval was the most magnanimous host I’ve ever had. You can tell he really cares about his students. He treated me with such deference and respect that it made me want to not leave Senda. If I could’ve stayed a few more days then I would have. The school has a fantastic and enthusiastic population of learners.

Last night when I arrived in Culiacán I was a bit wary of how my visit my go, I mean, well… when you arrive at your hotel room and there are women dancing professionally on tables immediately next door to your room… well you get my drift.

Edgar drove me around a little in the city and then was kind enough to drop me off at the airport.

Culiacán has a reputation for being the drug capital of Mexico but I didn’t encounter anything sinister during my brief stay.

John Lee Hooker just started playing his guitar and singing on over the speakers here in the airport. I’m sorry, I’ve got to go. It is sacrilegious to do anything when the Blues Man is pouring out his soul. I’m going to kick back and take in some of Hooker’s wisdom.

I’ll be writing again once I get back to Mexico City. I’ve got another school early tomorrow morning.

I did say I could use a nap didn’t I?

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Art or Infrastructure

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There are many things to dislike about Mexico City: the smog, the insane traffic, profligate smoking, where 51.2% of all men can be found toking on cancer sticks in every crevice of public space. Add to these issues the congestion of 8 million souls populating a land mass not meant to sustain half that number and you have a recipe for sustained urban planning nightmares.

What is it about this city that continues to attract and inspire people in spite of its many faults? For me it is quite simple. Art.

In this city reside some of the world’s most gifted artists and installations of breathtaking works of art.

While walking through the city I couldn’t help but notice the over abundance of public art and displays. Every corner of the city, the center of every public park, on sidewalks and the walls of buildings are canvases for all mediums of artwork. There are also “traveling” displays, which move from parkways to the larger squares on weekends, allowing people to savor the beauty of Mexico.

In the United States artists struggle to find places to display their art and are often confronted with miles of red tape and bureaucracies if they have the “audacity” to desire a display their work publicly. I am not aware of the process that artists in Mexico have to go through, but upon quick glance it would appear that the process is less then intensive. To the outside observer, artists seem to be welcomed and supported here.

What caught my attention even more is that amidst all of this amazing art are ruin, overcrowding, and poverty. There are still many buildings destroyed in the 1985 earthquake that have been left as though no time had passed. There are signs everywhere to be careful with water consumption because the city has a difficult time getting water to all of its inhabitants. There are large holes in the streets, lead paint peeling openly off of buildings, and many structures leaning precariously due to the city having been built upon a lakebed. The roads are crowded and some streets even reverse directions at certain times during the day to handle congestion. There are problems with infrastructure that would make most engineers shudder. Many of the places that these people call home would be condemned and labeled uninhabitable in the USA.

Despite all these things, the art is still beautifully displayed for everyone, rich or poor, tourist or resident. Some people might wonder why a government would prioritize funding toward public art displays rather than infrastructure. Any ideas?

As a professional artist of more than 20 years, I’ve engaged in this “Either-Or” debate concerning Infrastructure vs. Art in the U.S.

It is difficult to get myopic minds to envision a conversation facilitated by infrastructure “and” art.  Poverty manifests itself in more ways than economically. In the U.S. we are currently suffering as much from a poverty of vision as anything else.

Mexico’s public art surrounds and envelopes its citizens and, its beauty, provides a vision of hope for a future that is bright. Mexico City has the potential to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

As an artist, I see art as an ingredient in unification. Art unites people in a way that no other discipline is able to. It promotes identity, self-awareness and a sense of pride. Nations are identified more by their art than reams of pedantic legislation or governmental structures.

Most people I have come into contact with here in Mexico City love and appreciate it despite the obvious issues. I have lived in places with much more in resources and beautifully supported infrastructure where people have less a sense of community and commitment than I experienced during my travels here in Mexico.

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It would be a misnomer to say that last night I attended a dinner party because the gathering was so much more than that. Ever since I first began this tour of Mexico I’ve been looking forward to meeting two phenomenal storytellers, Victor Árjona and Ángel del Pilar. They are cornerstones of the Storytelling Movement here in Mexico and represent my aspirations as a cultural artist really well. The fact that they offered their home as an oasis in the evening made my respect for them grow exponentially.

We arrived, a few other storytellers and I, around 7:40 pm or so. The electricity was out in the building and we had to ascend about five flights of steps. As an aside… it seems to me that there exist an incalculable number of steps in this country, from the ancient Pyramids of Teotihuacan to ones inside of the mountains and mountains of contemporary buildings that dissect Mexico City.

The Angel was gracious enough to come down and meet us at the entrance of their flat. Yes… her name is Angel and not “The Angel” but I prefer to follow my first impressions. My imagination runs rampant and I find stories, poetry, humor and symbols in almost everything. I loved the fact that we were ascending a dark stairway being guided by a woman named Angel who was the only one who possessed light. I’m smiling to myself right now.

Once The Angel got us safely to the entrance of their home, we were greeted by a snowy white cat with more personality and vigor than any cat I’ve come across to date. He ran around, excitedly in circles and darted into a little box on the floor. He would disappear and reappear at the most odd moments, reminiscent of an “Alice in Wonderland” Cheshire cat manner. It was an entertaining sight to behold.

From around the corner of the kitchen Victor appeared. The first thing you notice about Victor are his eyes. Victor has the most honest eyes of any man I’ve ever met. They are both childlike and mature at the same time. A smile graced his face that made me feel as if I were at home. The scent of something cooking, something unfamiliar, permeated the house. It was both a pleasant and curiosity inducing smell.

Their home is an artist haven, it has art everywhere and an atmosphere of both creativity and well managed business. There seemed to have achieved a purpose filled balance in their home.

While Victor was busy preparing the evening’s meal, The Angel seated us and conversed with our little group.

I had had a moment a few days before, while traveling to the City of Mixquic. My cab driver was passing a mountain called “The Sleeping Woman.” It is actually a dormant volcano. The driver shared with me the legend of a young warrior and woman who were in love. The story possesses an enormous dose of pure enchantment and I thoroughly enjoyed it when the driver related it to me.

As synchronistic as my life tends to be, it was not surprising when Victor and The Angel shared a bit of the same tale, but with a twist. They had actually created, with the help of family and friends, a Kamishibai version of the ancient Mexican Tale. Kamishibai is an ancient Japanese form of storytelling where a box houses a rolling scroll of images that the storyteller rotates while telling the tale. They had beautifully decorated Kamishibai boxes with images of the themes of their stories and illustrations which slid into the back of the box. Most traditional Kamishibai boxes are plain, rather simple but these had a Mexican cultural spin put on them with lots of bright colors and images.

I was excited because my friend in Poland, Michael, has been working with Kamishibai for some time now and encouraging me to do the same.

They had several decorative Kamishiai boxes and well planned out tales to tell with them. I was impressed. These two are definitely storytellers heart and soul.

A couple of other local storytellers arrived and we all gathered around a circular dining room table. A circle. Yes… really, a circular table. For some of you that won’t mean much but for others it will have metaphysical and cultural significance. I was delighted to be seated at “The Round Table” with this gathering of other storytellers.

Initially I was going to say that Victor is a wonderful cook but, after having tasted the caramelized onion he prepared for us to start the meal with, I have to retract and declare that he is an authentic chef with tantalizing culinary skills.

I had some hesitation in biting into an onion that had been oven baked for a few hours but I quickly overcame in favor of desiring the experience. I was not disappointed. I wanted so badly to savor every single bite of that onion but I would have held up the evening. Seriously, I think I could have taken an hour to slowly and purposefully eat that caramelized onion. The textures, the flavors, the meat of the vegetable that melted in your mouth… oh my God! Ok, obviously it was good. To let you know how detail oriented Victor can be, our main dish was comprised of chopped vegetables whose colors mirrored the many colors you find all over Mexico and in Mexican Art. I was in a scene from “Como Agua para Chocolate” and loving every second of it.

The conversation flowed around the table easily. No one competed with anyone else to be heard. One of the tellers, Andy from New Zealand, and his son, performed a soul stirring Haka for everyone. If you’ve never watched a Rugby match or seen a Tongan Haka performed then go to YouTube and put the work in and be prepared to have an experience. I thought the walls and floors were going to come tumbling down. It was one of the highlights of the night, besides Victor’s culinary delights of course.

It was part dinner party, part ritual and part gathering of kindred spirits. There were laughs, tears and a ton of sharing. I found myself so at ease with the members of this gathering that it reminded me of the rites and rituals I’ve been blessed to be a part of over the decades.

I left late in the evening with a deep desire for all of our paths to cross once again. It was an evening of being fed both physically and spiritually that I will not soon forget.

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Tranquility in Tlaxcala

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Last week I visited a school called “Crecer” which means “to grow” in Spanish. The school is located in the City of Tlaxcala. I didn’t know much about the city except that it was located outside of the metropolis of Mexico City. I always love getting away from the noise and crowds of big cities so a trip to Tlaxcala was perfect for me. I had already suffered a week of hearing sirens every few minutes, incessant horn honking and music blaring around every corner I turned. The fact that I was going to have a two-hour bus ride to get there was even more of an enticement.

I boarded the bus and felt that, “sit back and relax” feeling you get when someone else is doing the driving. My plan was simple. I would stare out of the large window of the bus for two hours taking in the country’s landscape.

No sooner did the driver pull away from our stall when, miraculously, television monitors descended from the ceiling of the bus with their volumes already set on maximum. Television monitors! I could have screamed!

I rode for two hours being subjected to a diaper-wearing Panda who apparently knows kung-fu and simultaneously channels the spirits of Larry, Curly and Moe. I knew I was in the minority as someone who was desperately seeking solace in silence because, the entire trip, there were bursts of raucous laughter, loud conversations and, believe this or not, people actually playing music aloud from their phones.

I did manage to stare out into the vast expanse that is Mexico and view some beautiful land. Dormant volcanoes, snow capped mountains, fields upon fields of corn and other vegetation. Mexico is truly a blessed piece of earth.

I was met at the bus station in Tlaxcala by Martha Jáuregui, director of Crecer. From the beginning, Martha’s warm and inviting demeanor made me feel welcomed in her city. On our way through Tlaxcala to her school I was treated to some of the most picturesque sites of colonial architecture and baroque inspired iglesias. Prior to arriving, Martha warned me that her campus was very small. What Martha didn’t know at the time was that “small” and “quaint” was just what I was in need of after Mexico City.

The campus was indeed small but grand in vision. The feel of the campus reminded me of a throwback to an era when a small community shaped the environment of its school.

I was scheduled to perform for the upper grades only. The youngest, kinder and pre-k, had been excluded. I didn’t feel so good about those children, on such a small campus, having been excluded so I asked Martha if it would be alright for me to visit their classrooms for just a few minutes. She was excited to consent and escorted to me the kinder and pre-k classrooms. It was so much fun!

I got a chance to sing “Los Pollitos” with the children and find out their names. One little girl, about 4 or 5 years of age, wrapped her arms around my neck when I squatted down to get eye-to-eye with her group. What a wonderful feeling.

The sessions with the older groups went exceptionally well. I got the feeling  from these small groups of teens that they had not yet been tainted by the cynicism or angst of their peers in the larger cities. Their questions were both thoughtful and probing. By the time I had to leave I felt as though I had been in the company of an extremely mature group of young adults. How refreshing!

I told Martha of my interest in I.B. Schools (International Baccalaureate) and she introduced me to their I.B. coordinator, Guadalupe. There was a light shining in Guadalupe’s eyes that immediately enamored me with her. As we spoke I could tell that her passion for learning and teaching was beyond the pale. She and Martha are definitely two peas in a pod. I think that by the time I left the school I must have hugged everyone 4 or 5 times each. It was a refreshing experience to visit “Crecer.”

You might have thought that I would have been left with my good feeling and placed back on the bus to head back to Mexico City but that was not in Martha’s plans. She and her husband personally escorted me around the city of Tlaxcala and patiently answered my touristy questions. There is a bull- fighting ring in the city that I got to see, a beautiful church and, in the square, some amazing artwork.

My visit to Tlaxcala gave me back the solace that I was so desperately seeking. I can honestly say that I found tranquility in Tlaxcala. Thank you Martha and the entire staff of Crecer.

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A Homeless Woman Punched Me!

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While in Mexico I decided that I would make sure to use public transportation. I honestly feel that public transportation is a sure fire way to get to know the city and people up close and personal. Little did I know when I boarded the subway in Zona Rosa that I was going to experience one particular person up close and “real” personally.

Here’s what happened…

I jumped onto the subway just as the doors were closing. I scanned the train car looking for a seat. There was only one available so I raced toward it trying to beat the crowd. I didn’t even take time to see who it was near or next to. I flew into the available seat and noticed, for the first time, that no one else was competing to get there before me. I’ve caught this train before and this was the “first” time that I was able to get a seat. I was feeling really lucky until I looked to my left and saw an elderly woman who was obviously homeless and, as her eyes indicated, a bit unbalanced mentally.

I have to speak honestly. She smelled badly, her long black raven satin hair was oily and dirty. The many layers of soiled clothing and tattered coats would have given the average person a heat stroke. In her hands, falling from her toothless mouth and covering her clothes and the floor around her were pieces of a half eaten, very messy sandwich. It didn’t seem that much of it was making it into her mouth.

In that moment I had a decision to make (I seem to be faced with these a lot lately). I could either sit down next to her and brace myself for all that might come with sharing space with her, or I could walk a little bit further away and stand comfortably by myself. Ok… You know me by now. You know that I chose to stay seated next to her. After all, she is a human being simply down on her luck economically. What could go wrong?

So I sat down there, turned toward her, and looked her in the eyes to validate that I saw her as a human being, not simply an “undesirable” in society. I was feeling pretty good about my decision until her demeanor flipped and my eyes felt an empty, glassy stare that looked through me to some distant point behind me.

I wasn’t prepared for what she did next. She totally caught me off guard. I’m looking into her vacant eyes and expression when, out of nowhere she draws back and, with her full force, punched me in the arm.

Yes! She punched me!

It didn’t really hurt, but it was in that moment that I realized I was going to have to up my game exponentially if I was going to remain seated next to her. In that split second, I turned to her and gave it my best shot.

“I love you!”  I whispered aloud to her.

Immediately she softened, her entire disposition changed to one of an enamored, flirtatious little girl.

At this point, she extended her hand, food and condiments dripping and falling from the side, and offered me some of her sandwich. Sensing that this was going in the right direction I immediately asked her a few things about herself. She was genuinely pleased with having someone to talk with. I thought things were really looking up. She was happy. I was comfortable. It was at this point that I felt her shift in her seat and begin leaning over to move closer to me. Before I knew it she was rubbing her grubby head and oily hair affectionately against the side of mine. She was really moving our “budding friendship” along faster, and more intimately, than I expected. Fortunately, for me she wanted more sandwich than cuddling. She sat back in her seat, flashing her wide toothless smile every few minutes as we continued with a little more small talk. I could see the faces of the passengers around me. I think they either felt sorry for me or they may have been questioning my sanity.

When my stop came up I turned to her and told her it had been nice chatting with her, as I would have done in any “typical” encounter. She smiled that wide, toothless, gummy smile once more and I could see that those few moments of discomfort on my part might have given her the gift of feeling “normal”. Maybe in that moment she didn’t feel invisible.  It gave me the chance to reflect on how easy it is to overlook some people in society.

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I had ascended to the top of the Sun Pyramid at Teotihuacán and was feeling rather proud of myself until I spotted an old man and woman in about their mid-70’s appear over the crest of the steps about 20 minutes later. My jaw dropped. This was no easy climb. The steps are uneven and narrow in some places, the incline is ridiculous in others and climbing the distance from top to bottom puts a burn in your body equivalent to a punishing workout.

The old man was being held up on his right arm by a woman equal his age. She appeared a bit stronger while he actually walked with a limp. These two had climbed the Pyramid of the Sun together without any assistance! It was both a thing of beauty and awe inspiring at the same time.

I lost track of the elderly couple while walking around the top of the pyramid. It is huge. I didn’t see them again until I began my descent down the dangerous steps. They had already begun going down before me. They were about 10 steps down below me and moving at a very slow pace. The steps are uneven and jagged in some areas and I noticed people in a rush crowding the elderly couple, almost trying to make them move faster. There wasn’t much room but some of the impatient philistines found ways to maneuver around them. I was appalled at the behavior of these people and rushed down the steep steps to position myself between the elderly couple and the remainder of the people descending the pyramid. I slowed the crowd behind me and wasn’t allowing anyone to pass. The elderly couple ahead of me were finally making their way down without interruption. I felt good about that.

As we were going down I noticed the old man’s foot slip once and it frightened me so much that I ran down and grabbed his right arm. On his left was his companion and, on his right, me. There were many steps left and the rest of the crowd seemed to get the hint and remained behind us.

It was a slow pace but we finally made it to the bottom of the pyramid. The old man and woman smiled as he said to me, “Gracias Señor.”

As I left the couple I was feeling good about my minimal role in their visit to the pyramids. I smiled to myself as I recalled the motif of tales that have spirits entering our world to interact with human beings, testing us or challenging us to be better. It occurred to me that, in those types of tales, the elderly couple I encountered would have represented a pair of spirits sent to test our humanity.

Be honest with me. Would you have passed the test?

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I didn’t want to much time to pass before I kept my promise to a group of young girls at a school I visited recently. I was heading to the cafeteria to get a bite to eat when then swooped in and surrounded me. I was being held captive in the middle of a circle by about group of 8, 9 and 10 year olds pummeling me with questions.

I loved it!

I promised the girls that I would write something about them because, and this was an awakening for me, they actually read my blog! So here’s a little shout out to each of you:

Mikaela thank you so much for writing a comment to me on Facebook.

Aranza you also wrote a comment to me on Facebook and, for that, I am very grateful as well.

Ximena thank you for sharing the story I told you with your brother. I hope he liked it.

Ana you went above and beyond by getting home and telling your mom, grandma and brother the story I shared with you. Oh… and, by the way, tell your mom, the illustrator, that we need to talk :)

Elena you were another gift to me because you shared the story with your mom too. Have your mom “friend me” on Facebook, I’d love to hear her thoughts on the tale.

Claire, in the middle of all the questions and hugs the little group was throwing my way you interrupted and asked, “Would you like a cookie?” Wow! A little girl walking around the playground passing out cookies. That made me so happy.

Lucie I won’t forget you either. You were walking around handing out “toys.” That is awesome. I still have my little turtle you gave me. Thank you.

There was a list of names at the bottom of the paper and on the back who I don’t have references for so I’m justing going to say thank you to Anna, Carolina, Paula, Victoria and Zarah for putting your names on the note.

Each and everyone of you have helped to make my trip to Mexico an absolutely glorious experience.

Thank you.


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