Words of Love

Cass Elliot’s words, and her swaying, formidable body as she belted out The Mamas & The Papas’ 1966 hit tune, have been playing in my head lately like a YouTube video:

“Words of love, soft and tender, won’t win a girl’s heart anymore! If you love her, then you must send her somewhere where she’s never been before…”

Hmmm… I’m thinking… to Mexico, perhaps?

In a few days my favorite holiday of the year will roll around, and it makes mi corazon (my heart) happy, especially at this juncture in U.S. modern history, that Destiny has brought me to Mexico.

Just the other day, for example, when I taught my weekly English class for the little Mexican kids (cutest little kids in the world, in my humble opinion) in Colonia Guadalupe, here in San Miguel de Allende, I showed them how to make Valentine’s cards – “for your mom or dad or abuela (grandma) or tio (uncle) or whomever,” I said.

I demonstrated the “magic trick” of making a heart by drawing half a heart on the fold of a piece of paper and cutting it out. Then we each glued this whole heart on the inside of a card and wrote the timeless, Valentine’s Day message:

One of the Valentine's cards we made last Wednesday
One of the Valentine’s cards we made last Wednesday

This may have been the first time in their six- or seven-year-old lives they’d ever made a Valentine’s card. Between the spilling glue and sticky hands and the cut-up red and pink and white paper flying around and the crayons rolling along the tabletop and the excited children, the energy level in our classroom was HIGH.

“How do you say ‘I love you’ en Espanol?” I asked over the din.

Te amo!” they shouted back, in unison.

“And how do you say ‘te amo’ en Ingles?” I shouted back.

“I love you!” they responded, with big, happy smiles.

I love you, too.


In the news today I saw that scary-looking, full-battle-ready, and helmeted Immigration officers in the U.S. have begun aggressively rounding up and deporting Mexicans – including harmless young mothers of children born in the States — presumably to follow through on Trump’s promises to rid his envisioned America of the “bad hombres.” It made me feel ashamed. Would Mexico do the same?

San Miguel de Allende’s mayor, Ricardo Villarreal Garcia, was quoted in the current issue of the city’s weekly newspaper, Atención, as saying: “‘…our neighbors in the north have a president who is constantly attacking our country, and that puts us at risk as a nation.

“‘We have to … get united to succeed, and we can also attract more expats. People from the U.S. who do not agree with their president have said that they will leave the United States, and I want to tell them that San Miguel de Allende will always have the doors open for them,’ remarked Villarreal.”

These words, no doubt having some basis in economic reality, came across as words of love to me. That’s the way I’m taking them, anyway – as San Miguel’s Valentine’s card to me.