It was just a small taco stand from its outward appearance when
I first stumbled onto it a number of years back, located along
the malecon in San Felipe near the northern end of the strip. In
those days there was only a single table, but there were folks
waiting to order and be served and the atmosphere was festive
There were four or five of us and we were in Baja and in no
hurry so we waited until the line went down while I made a list
of how many fish and shrimp and carne asada tacos we wanted and
ordered them from a woman named Maria. Soon we were chomping on
beer batter tacos and had brought a six pack from the adjacent
liquor store and appropriately covered our cervezas in brown
paper to avoid problems with the local customs.
Over the years we developed a great relationship with Maria, her
husband and her children. Our friendship was never the kind
where you sit and share a meal and discuss the old days. It was
more like visiting from time to time and sharing the events from
different worlds of the times in between. We talked, first and
foremost, about our children, who were usually there from both
families. They watched each other grow from a certain distance
and I was personally pleased at the insight my children were
getting from a perspective not their own that helped them to
open up and see that the world around them was not always as
Across the years we watched Maria's family grow and age. Their
life centered around the tiny taco stand and their home just
behind. The children were always there to help. Not as if they
had to, there was never any complaining, but because they knew
their support was meaningful. And Maria worked some pretty long
hours to add to their growing needs.
One night Maria's family invited us to attend a performance in
which one of her daughters was dancing. That led to an
abbreviated discussion, shared in Spanish and English as best we
could, about the longer term events in their family. Maria and
her husband had children in schools local to San Felipe, in
Mexicali, and the oldest was just about to enter University.
All this, in part, on the income from a tiny taco stand.
And, perhaps most importantly, Maria and her husband and
children accomplished all this without the sacrifice of having
to adapt to a life style marching to an unknown drum by changing
herself to fit a workplace. While working in the midst of
Maria's family dwelling, surrounded constantly by loved ones,
she was helping to make their objectives come to fruition.
I sure wish I'd been paying more attention while I was growing
up. Oh, well. Maybe it's not too late.