A Christmas to remember
It all began with Christmas prime rib at Jon and Julie Cappleman’s place. It was a small gathering of locals, we all knew each other and got along well. Jon’s policy of leaving your cares at the door always adds to the joy of the feast.
A couple of days later, I got a call from Noemi Rodriguez telling me she had some tamales for me. Noemi and her sister, Elvira have been cleaning my house for six years and over that time we have become friends. The tamales are a Mexican tradition around the holidays and one I look forward to.
“Where can I meet you?” I asked.
“Oh no,” she says. I will bring them to you.”
“You don’t really want to make the 20-mile trek down the Canyon, do you? The tamales are treat enough and I would be more than willing to drive to Quincy to pick them up.”
“No, I will bring them to you tomorrow at noon.”
From this I assumed that delivery was part of the tradition and told her that I would be home all day. Of course I would have to pick up the house a little bit. I couldn’t have my housekeepers think I was a slob. A bit of human nature this: They had been cleaning up after me for years and already knew I was a slob.
There must have been some kind of prophesy at work here. The next day I had picked up the living room and even moved the cat tree to a corner. About 1 p.m., I heard a bunch of cars coming up Rush Creek Road. Usually that only happens when there is a wildfire at work.
Coming from the back of the house I heard the front door open and Noemi yell, “I brought everybody.”
There were three vehicles parked on the steep incline that doubles as my driveway. Noemi sails in with a big pot of tamales followed by Elvira and sister Miriam and her son, Alex, with various containers of food, paper plates, silverware, smiles and excited chatter. They are followed by Noemi’s husband Jose, her daughter Blanca and boyfriend Andres, with their 2-year-old son Jose Andres. Also present was Blanca’s daughter — due in April.
Then came Sergio with his wife Gabriela and their two daughters Sophia and Mia. The men were carrying tables and chairs, which they promptly set up in my kitchen. The women loaded the table with tacos and tamales complete with salsa, sauces and all the fixin’s. All I could do was stand in the middle of it all with my mouth hanging open.
The meal was wonderful, not the least because of the company. Some spoke English, I spoke no Spanish and that didn’t matter in the least. I felt honored that these wonderful people would go to this extent for me.
After eating, everything was folded up, put away and cleaned. Lots of hugs later they left me still in a state of shock. The only evidence of the entire event was a plate of tamales on my kitchen counter.