The true magic in San Miguel

closing-downInitially I’d thought about writing only about the horrible murder of the three children, and I will start with part of its aftermath. In Mexico the law is (or was – I’ve heard rumors that it has changed) that the body of the deceased must be buried or cremated 24 hours after death. In fact, for foreigners living in San Miguel who might not know about death in Mexico, the 24-Hour Society will help them through this process.

I wasn’t there to see these events, but C was and she told me that the funeral procession was nearing the cemetery when it changed direction and headed to the jail where the father of the children, who was accused of murdering them, was being held. Family and friends demanded to see the man, to see that he had not been assaulted by the police – the police who have been accused of breaking into where the family was staying and shooting the children – while he was in custody and also to demand that he be brought out to say goodbye to his children. The crowd’s efforts were rewarded, he was brought out, and it appeared that he hadn’t been mistreated. The procession then moved on to the cemetery.

The next day another crowd formed at the jail and again demanded to see the father, to see that he hadn’t been mistreated.  What I’ve heard from C and others isn’t conclusive about his condition.


The garbage truck that serves our neighborhood has, because it’s an official vehicle, lettering decals that announce the fact.  The truck is white, the lettering black.  In Spanish, the wording for official vehicle is “vehiculo official” and one of the workers has removed a few letters so that the remaining letters now read “culo official,” which, roughly translated, is “official ass.”


My English class is now in its third week and the way I envisioned the class has certainly not been its direction, but its direction has proved to be so much more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. The class is completely volunteer, there are no commitments except that I said I would do this for 12 weeks and now that the house and casita are on the market, I’m not sure that I can keep to what I offered to do.  But we shall see about that.

The students, who are the magic I’d like to discuss, vary.  There is a Colombian woman who has not missed a session and who now brings her sixth-grade nephew with her and who graciously serves as our translator.  There is a woman who came the first session then not again until I saw her one day outside of class and she asked if it was possible to start at 3 p.m. and I hemmed and hawed and decided that I’d start at 3 for her. So, she now comes, still dressed in her nurses’ outfit and she brings her 2nd-grade daughter, a tiny girl who speaks very good English and who falls asleep after about a half-hour. Another woman, who has missed about half the sessions and who leaves early from class to go to her work, which ends at midnight, is progressing slowly, yet appreciatively. The Colombian woman and a sweet retired couple – the couple has attended all but one session have the best command of English, and Bernardo a young man who missed the first session but who has attended all the others, who dutifully take copious notes, and whose progress has been amazing. There are others as well, like the two grill cooks who’ve attended one session.

From the movie, McFarland, USA



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