where the writers are
A funeral in a native village in Central Mexico
Rain in Central Mexico High Desert

Saturday morning there was a funeral. About 9:30am we heard the church bells. Jolene and I got dressed to participate; Don is still too ill. He continued to heal from his strokes instead.

The Tovar’s had a death in the family. Our area of the community is home to the Aguirre and Tovar families. They are a very tightly knit group of people who share their life-long joys and sorrows together.

The deceased was an elderly aunt who lived in Mexico City but wanted to be remembered and buried in the campo. Her memorial service in Mexico City was the night before and her body was then driven to her beloved campo (ranch community). She had cancer and had time to plan her funeral exactly as she wanted it to be. Her body arrived here before 9am.

Jolene and I walked to the church just one house lot away from ours. The priest who travels around to all the little villages conducted the funeral service. Money was collected, as always, to help pay for his gasoline to make the rounds.

After the service, we continued in a large procession to the Tovar house. Jolene was able to make the trip by leaning on me and walking very slowly as her knee injury is still healing. All along the way we were greeted with respect and gratitude for participating. We feel honored to be an accepted part of this native rite of passage without question. We are always made to feel welcome.

There is never any sense of "What are you doing here?" Instead, we are greeted with hugs and expressions that draw us into the hearts of these honorable people. I feel like these are the best years of my life. I have never felt so safe and respected. Jolene, who is fluent in Spanish, feels the same way.

We saw Jesus and Valeria Tovar; they are both deaf teenagers who we have helped in many ways to broaden their education and social reach. This will be the fourth year that university students have come in the summer to help Jesus and Valeria learn to speak using sign language. We have also had visitors during two Decembers come to help them expand their knowledge and feel more socially involved.

Everyone else from the campo was either at the church or the Tovar cluster of houses. We saw more Tovar family members at the house than at the church as two large busses had come to take people to the campo and then to the graveyard. The mariachi band played about four hours with the casket in the yard and everyone sitting around in plastic chairs sharing cups of soda and lively conversations.We did not stay too long as Jolene is still healing.

Not long after we left a major rainstorm began and continued into the night. It rained for hours like it does in the summer. There was lightening and thunder too. We heard the trees begin to sing and after dark we even saw the drops of water in the treetops sparkle with the reflection off street lamps. It looked at though the trees were decorated with Christmas lights. April 16th is about 6 weeks early for the rains to come. Perhaps the beloved aunt passed from this life and then sent the rain to her family as a parting gift. Fortunately, the entire extended community welcomed the life-giving rain. The fields are already plowed and ready for planting. The promise of summer fields of corn and sorghum appear to be in our futures.

All is well in the campo as the balance of life continues.