Saturday, May 23, 2009

Passing Meetings

I was reading Paul's Blog about Life in Merida and his account of his friendship with Miguel, a local Mexican gentleman. It reminded me of a couple of people I met in Mexico. The memories are pleasant and I will pass one of them on to you.

It was in our first week or two in Mexico last year. I was walking around the Centro one day looking for photo opportunities. I passed a shoe shine stand tended by an older gentleman waiting for a customer. This is a town where kids wear running shoes and tourists wear sandals so customers were few and far between. He smiled and responded to my nod (I did not know the Buenas Dias / Buenas Tardes rules back then and did lots of nodding, the universal language).

I stopped to look at a statue at the end of the Centro. It was of a distingushed looking man holding an open book. I was trying to read the inscription when a voice beside me said, "He is a teacher". I turned and there was my nodding acquaintence, the shoe shine man. He was a very tall man and appeared to be in his late sixties. He carried himself proudly and I could see that he had been in good shape all his life. He explained to me that school teachers are very important people in Mexico and that they have a very important job. His English was excellent. I looked over at his simple stand and he said that his friend was watching it for him. We chatted for a few minutes about his village and than he went back to his work.

Unsatisfied with our brief encounter, I went back to the Centro the next day. Again, he came over to talk to me as soon as he saw me. He was a retired Government worker and loved to find people to practice his English on. He and his wife had several children who all had families of their own so it was just him and his wife. She was occupied with the grandchildren and he spent most days supplementing his pension by shining shoes in the Centro. When we parted, I reached out to shake his hand. He withdrew his hand, saying it was very dirty from his shoe shining. I took his hand anyway and gave it a firm shake. He was the kind of person you would treasure as a friend. I am sorry that I do not remember his name.

1 comment:

  1. So, you don't remember his name. But you remember him and you will for a long time. Croft, I am glad you had these very special moments. I think they were special for him, too.