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Friday, January 12, 2007

The San Miguel Visit

Yes, dear readers, after a year of talking this up, I finally got Joey and his mom to go see San Miguel School. The whole project was classic. I went over about 10 to 1 and Joey and two buds of his I didn't know opened the door.

"Is your mom almost ready to go?" I asked. I could hear her in the back with the baby.

"Mommy!" Joey yelled and went back. Rapid Spanish ensued. He came back and told me she needed another 15 minutes.

Mom herself came out of the kitchen and said,"Hola, Maureen. Ahorita." (Hi, Maureen. In a little while.)

"Sure, no problem," I told her.

I came back in half an hour. Joey opened the door again, ran back, and came to the door with the car keys. "She said to warm it up."

"Are you coming?"


"You sure you don't want to see it?"

"No, it's OK."

I hate wasting gas like that. When I started the car, the gas tank empty light came on. I kept warming up the car because I figured there was probably something I didn't know about why it needed a long warmup time, and I know she likes the car warm (roasting?)for the baby.

Then Mom, baby, Joey and the buddies all piled in. Really, I was glad. I'd rather have more than less of them see the place. We drove over and there was no immediate place to park, so I dropped them all off and found a spot. I only did one bad thing to the minivan when they weren't looking--hit the bottom of the front on the street on the way out a steep driveway.

When I came back, a young graduate who is back doing some service hours and helping out led me up the stairs. Mom and the kids were almost at the top of the third floor.

"Mucho ejersicio," I said. Lots of exercise.

"Doble," she said, referring to carrying the baby. We grinned at each other.

San Miguel only occupies the third floor of the building. Hedges uses the second floor for overflow space. There's a library right next to the office--I think the three boys took a peek in it. There's a lot of religious art--a big mural of Guadalupe on the wall along the stairwell and a little shrine with a statue of St. Francis at the top of the landing. It's bright and airy, even on a cloudy day like today.

The clerk talked to Joey's mom at length. I didn't listen to it carefully, but I was pretty sure it was about money and how to apply. I did hear the clerk explain that how much you pay is based on how much money you have and how large your family is. "No te preocupes," she said kindly. "Don't worry." I wanted her to hear that for herself. I hope it helped.

I held the baby while they talked. A couple of teachers came through and waved and played with him.

Afterwards we took a minute to look at the airplane hanging overhead in the hallway. It's a miniature biplane and it looks like the kids made it. You could see the gas cans strapped to the bottom. The boys were pretty taken with it.

At the end, the director, Mike Anderer, came out and said hi to me. He couldn't place me but then remembered from the Being Peacemakers in Back of the Yards group we had going for the last year or so. He said hi to Joey & company. "Bienvenido. Nos vemos." (Welcome. See you again.)

It turns out applications probably won't be available until March or April. I'm just glad we went.

The funniest part came at the end. When we were leaving the house, I suggested we get gas. Joey's mom was going to go back and get her debit card when I said no, I've got money, let's just go. Then we got to the gas station and I realized I had left my wallet in the house. We both laughed.

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