Sentiments along the way
By James Palombo
This past week I had the chance to participate in the So Others May Eat (SOME) program, held every Wednesday at 2pm at the Parroquia here in San Miguel de Allende. It is a most amazing program, started in 1989 by Joe and Antonette Lim, when only a small number of individuals first showed up to share in their free luncheon offering. The day I attended, over 300 people, mostly elderly (and mostly women) were there, sharing stories with their lunch, enjoying the music and special gifts being offered in the holiday spirit.
Much could certainly be said of the hard work the Lims have done over the past 23 years — the gathering of donated food and other items, the setting up of the tables and chairs, the cooking, the management of the volunteers who help to make the program work, the clean-up and the general attention to the needs of those who come and go. (The lunch occurs without any need of food tickets or the like, people just show up, whatever the number, and they can partake.) This is not to mention the kindness and generosity they have displayed through the years. But as I moved around from different spots in the proceedings what caught my attention most was the peacefulness that seemed evident in everyone’s face. In other words, amid the talking and eating and music there was a sense of dignity that each person carried, one that said that in the sharing that was going on there was a mutual respect for life, in whatever fashion it came to be. To be honest I was looking for some despair in the faces of those in the group, something that signified the struggles that life had presented. But in quickly recognizing that this wasn’t the case, I felt a sense of hope, a feeling that hope itself was not as elusive as it often appears to be.
Suffice it to say that the lunch was a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience. But the afternoon’s sentiments didn’t quite end there. I then proceeded to Hank’s where some good friends and I have a regular meet, sort of catching up on the comings and goings in town. And it happened that one of those friends, just a few minutes before my arrival, had purchased a book of poems from local writer, Rick Roberts. Upon hearing of my SOME experience he showed me one of the poems that Mr. Roberts had actually highlighted. (Yes, amid the food and drink at Hank’s, some meaningful conversation occurs as well.)
As I read the poem I was truly surprised – it captured almost perfectly the sentiments that came from my luncheon experience. This coincidence was in fact the motivation for my writing this piece. So, in closing, it seems only fitting that I share Mr. Robert’s words with you. I’m sure as you are moving in and around San Miguel, you’ll find yourself with similar feelings.