I’m still basking in the glow of last week’s great gift, which enabled me to pay off last summer’s construction loan, budget money to insulate the attic and restore my propane service, do a little paying forward, and still put plenty aside. Yesterday another of my angels flew in and I immediately put his contribution to good use, also. In fact, three of Living Freedom’s biggest angels have been involved in all this. (And Patreon made its monthly payout, also put to good use, thank you.)
Is there a word for a band of angels? Flock? Pride? Flight? Gratitude? A gratitude of angels. Yeah, I like that one.
The glow is helped along by the fact that the sun is glowing hereabouts and intends to keep doing so all week. Temps are cold and the ground frosty, but hey, a sunny week in December you don’t quibble about.
Today I’m going to finish up a chapter draft for the book Kit and I are working on. And that’s a glowy thing, too. It’s going well. One of our reality checkers even offered to provide us with material for a new chapter we hadn’t thought of including. It was a good idea, too.
A harmonious collaboration is my favorite form of writing.
And in the “Why I love this town” department
Ava and I were walking downtown Saturday afternoon when the weather began changing. We started off in breezy drizzle and concluded outside the tienda as the setting sun melted the clouds and the air went very still.
The tienda, along with nearly every other business in town has burst out in Christmas window paintings. This is something new. The painting started at the Chamber of Commerce before Halloween. Only at the Chamber at first. On November 1, down came the ghosts and goblins, and up went the pumpkins and gobblers. First thing, the morning after Thanksgiving, it was Santa and reindeer.
But unlike the earlier decorations, the Christmas paintings spread town-wide. The PO got postal Santas, telling customers to send their Christmas cheer early. The lumberyard got reindeer delivering loads of tools and materials. The chiropractor got therapeutic snowpersons. A private office owned by devout Catholics who also have an arty bent got gorgeous stained-glass windows with nativity scenes. The tienda, of course, got a bandito snowman with a colorful sombrero and bandoleros. (Our local minorities are really, really not into being offended by stereotypes.)
I happened to run into the artist while he was working on the PO. I asked him if the Chamber of Commerce had hired him for all this. And here’s the first part of what I love.
He said, “Nope. Nope. This is all volunteer. I’m not getting paid. This is my gift to the town.”
And he’d been out there every day. For weeks. In all kinds of (bad) weather.
Then he reached into his pocket and told me the next lovely thing.
“But,” he said, “just a couple minutes ago one of the top-of-the-top cops showed up and gave me this.” He revealed a $100 bill tucked into his palm.
Of course $100 isn’t much for weeks of work. But that is the kind of people we have around here — even the kind of cops. I hope others have done something similar. I haven’t (yet); I haven’t run into the artist since then. But I’ll make a point of it now.
Finally on Saturday’s walk I heard the third thing I love.
I paused outside the tienda to examine the infamous bandito snowman (the artist said it was the big hit of all his works). And along came Sergio, who owns the place. We know each other to say hi to but have never really talked. I thanked him for making such a great go of a food business when so many have come and gone. He told me he plans to retire and go home to Guadelajara in a few years, but to leave the tienda in the hands of its wonderful cooks. Then we got to talking about the bandito snowman and all that window art.
And he told me that the artist who’s spent all these weeks, in all that weather, painting store windows as a gift to our town doesn’t even live here. He’s just a drifter — retired navy guy, Sergio thinks — who’s been staying at a motel in town this fall.
And I’ll tell you. For this sort of thing and many other reasons, even if the whole country were to fall into dictatorship and doom, I’d want to stay rooted right here where I am. Forget “the world’s best places.” Forget the hucksters promoting their country or their state or their redoubt or their community as the place to be.
This is home.