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Baskets Of Warm Bread by Deborah Parker © 2006

Emiliano is small for his age--even by Mexican standards; but he has a strong voice that booms and resonates like a high-paid radio announcer. He wanders through Jocotepec every afternoon calling out the availability of fresh bread. I really don't understand his rapid words. He speaks fast and deliberately assuming his position of authority on the street. But the sound of his voice ensures that a warm and nurturing part of Mexico is coming to my door.

There are several boys that come by everyday selling bread. But, Emiliano is my favorite and I always buy from him. Of course, there have been a few times when others managed to sneak a sale--usually with a story that Emiliano was off that day doing something else--only to have him show up at the gate 20 minutes later. He's very business-like, not wanting to waste time with idle chat; and even though I continually try to engage him in friendly conversation, after several months, I still know very little about him.

The other day, however, he came by with his friend, Miquel, another bread seller. Miquel was more animated and interested in talking and proceeded to point out one of Emiliano's fingers, which had a cut stitched together very crudely. Emiliano appeared embarrassed and kept looking at the ground as Miquel described the injuring accident; although his slight grin betrayed the embarrassment and I could tell he was pleased with the attention. And I was pleased to finally have an exchange with him, even though Miquel was the connecting link between us.

Emiliano at 14 is in the third grade and 11 year-old Miquel is in the second. They both go to school in the morning and sell bread every afternoon--except on Sundays when they come by in the early morning. As they walked away that afternoon, with large baskets of warm bread on their heads, I was grateful for the pure simplicity and the forgiving affection that life in Mexico offers. These boys were a gift to humanity.

Life here in Jocotepec still rings with the genuine demeanor and the unaffected friendliness of a real small town. Even though a few gringos have discovered its' unpretentious charm, it as yet, hasn't developed the solicitous personality of somewhere that tries too hard--and for all the wrong reasons. The bread in Jocotepec is always fresh and I did promise Miquel I would buy from him when Emiliano was working el

Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006 by Deborah Parker © 2008
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