Thankful for lessons from Hispanic family

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By Alice Du Pont

My job takes me to unexpected places more often than not. Tuesday was one of those times. I was looking for a Christmas feature and decided that an article on the Mexican celebration and how it differs from the American celebration might be interesting.

I asked a Mexican woman I knew, Priscilla Vidal, if she would help me find a family to interview. I wanted a typical family that would be willing to talk candidly with me.

Priscilla found a family and accompanied me to the humble little trailer the family shares in Greensboro.

When I arrived they were waiting for me and welcomed me. The interview went well and as we talked about lots of things unrelated to the article, my heart began to go out to this family. These people, the Becerra family, were so warm and welcoming. They didn't know me but I could feel the love that they had for each other and the love that Maria had for her family.

As far as material things so they have little. A few pieces of run-down furniture in the house and a few pots on the stove. Everything was clean and the meager decorations were artfully displayed.

The family touched and hugged they cared for each other. The way that 7-year-old Luis stroked the head of his 3-month-old neice and the way that 13-year-old Cecelia held the baby while her sister, Yesenia, ate supper.

The kitchen/dining room table was set and the food was being placed on the table as I walked in and I felt a twinge of guilt that I had arrived just in time to interrupt their supper. When the interview was over Priscilla informed me that Maria had cooked for me. The meal was, by the family's usual standards, a feast. The food was delicious, well prepared and a feast for the eyes.

Priscilla said when she told Maria earlier in the day that I would get there around 7 p.m. She said, "I'd better start cooking." The meal she prepared takes about four hours to prepare with all of the work that goes into the meal. The homemade tamales, pozola and mole was great.

As I drove back to the office, I thought about the fact that this poor family had thought enough of me, a stranger, to go out of their way to cook and share a Christmas meal with me. I felt so blessed to have been a part of this family's life for a few hours.

My thanks to the Becerra family.