Archive for December, 2016

Reflections of past years…

The beauty of blogging is the simple archive that keeps all your thoughts in one place.  I spent this morning looking back at past musings over the last 5 plus years.  I miss the Mondays with Melitas and let’s face it, I miss Melitas!

I could always count on Melitas to be honest with me about my life, my business and whenever I needed advice, she was the wise one I would go to.

Her spirit lives on in the blogs on this site and in her book and in her many hundreds of entries in her journals.

At this time of year reflection is a natural process of remembering those who have passed on, reflecting on what we remember most.

Meeting Melitas has been one of the biggest blessings of my life.  Whether we were watching football, or her Lakers play or one of the Olympic games or just sitting across from each other, both of us on our computers there was definitely a love between us.

I loved sharing her last Laker’s game with her next to her on her bed.  I had a feeling this was the last game we would enjoy together.  She watched as much as she could even tapping her two index fingers together like a small clap when the Lakers would score.  I asked Melitas if she remembered that we watched Kobe’s last game together.  She nodded in remembrance and then she said…”we both cried.”  I said, “yep, we sure did.”  And as she closed her eyes to rest I cried.

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The Best Christmas Meal Ever

I was just leaving the upscale restaurant in La Paz after a wonderful dinner with friends when I passed the man on the corner selling tamales. Seeing the huge pots of steaming corn wrapped in husks brought me back to a memory of my first Christmas in Baja just two years earlier.

It was just two years ago on Christmas morning that I was walking my dog Bruce through the neighborhood of Loreto Bay in Baja. It had only been 3 weeks since I had moved here and didn’t really know anyone. I had a budget of 1,000 pesos a month to spend on food (which broke down to about $20 U.S. dollars a week).

The week before I had made my first trip to the grocery store and spent nearly all my allotted money for the month of December since I also had to buy laundry soap and cleaning supplies as well as groceries. As I was walking Bruce, my mind wandered to Christmas’s past. I thought about times spent with my children when they were little running to see what Santa had brought them, spending the day with family and lots of wonderful food. I didn’t realize how lonely I was until the tears started falling down my cheeks.

I was lost in thought and didn’t hear the old pickup truck pull up beside me. The wife rolled down her window and spoke to me in some English but mostly spanish.

“Senora, would you like to buy Christmas tamales to take home to your family?”

She was probably my age, but due to living a hard life she appeared much older.

“No, gracias, lo siento, no pesos.” I replied, afraid to even ask how much one tamale would cost.

“Senora, I made these myself, you can’t have Christmas dinner without tamales.”

In my broken English I told her I was alone for Christmas but maybe I could find the money and buy one tamale.

I looked at her and her husband in their old beat up truck which seemed like it should have been in a junk yard and not on the side of the road looking for people to buy their tamales.

I saw the hard work and knew that no matter how poor I was, I didn’t know what poor really was. I knew that my pesos would help support them and their family.

“Un momento,” I said, “let me go to my casa and find some pesos, I will buy one.”

I walked down about a hundred yards to my casa and started looking for some change. I remembered I had a few pesos left from the shopping trip the day before. I looked for change and grabbed what I had, even if I didn’t have enough for a tamale I wanted to give the money to them.

It probably took me 15 minutes to find the money and return and as I walked around the corner they were still there waiting. I wondered to myself how long they would have waited, but then I remembered I gave them my word that I would be back and your word is your promise in the Mexican culture. They smiled when they saw me and I showed them the only money I had left in my hand.

They opened up the back of their pickup truck and inside a large beat up silver pot were stacks of tamales. At that moment I wish I would have had money to buy them all from them so they could go back and celebrate Christmas with their family.

I handed the man the money and he said, “gracias, senora, Feliz Navidad, now you will have the best Christmas ever.”

The wife put two tamales in the little plastic bag and gave me a hug.

“One for you and one for your perro, Feliz Navidad!”

I walked away from that experience a changed person. I had little to give to someone who had even less.

Their faces may have been worn and tired but their spirit was alive and shown through their eyes.

When I returned back to my casa I put the Tamales on a plate and Bruce and I had the best meal we both have ever eaten.




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What a Life…Indeed!

I have taught hundreds of women during my time here in the desert, but none has moved me as the firecracker of a woman named Melitas.  I met her when she was 91 and loved her from the moment I saw her.  We had a special relationship of teacher student although many times the roles changed and she was the teacher and I was the student.  From there we became friends, great friends.

At age 93 she began blogging for me and soon, she was blogging every Monday and it became Monday with Melitas.

2 years ago I moved to Baja and I promised her that in reality I would probably see her more living out of the country than I did living here, and that was true.  For the first year we skyped when I was away and during the several times a year I came to the desert I stayed with her and the “warden” at Casa Agave.

I am so grateful that I arrived and was able to spend her last 9 days on the earth with her.  There is something so pure about being able to share those times with someone as they know they are leaving soon.  We watched her last Laker’s game together while laying in her bed side by side.

I promised I would work hard and make her proud….

God speed Melitas, you are now ready for your “beeg” vacation…book signing 1b

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
Wendy Price, Palm Desert, CA

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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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