Lighting a Candle for San Antonio (Possibles, May 9, 2023)

Lighting a Candle for San Antonio

When I arrived home and found the candle burning next to the Virgin of Guadalupe on the counter between my kitchen and dining room, I took a fast survey.  It wasn’t Mother’s Day as there was no photo of my mother next to it.  The celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe was months away.  It wasn’t Dia de los Muertos.  What could this new conflagration represent?

I had left soon after Yolanda arrived in the morning. She had run out to the car with coffee in my go mug and a bottle of water.  Sweet Yolanda, who was half mother, half sister.  She had been helping me since I moved to Mexico fourteen years before: cleaning my house, bringing a local healer to my house when I was ill to “cure” me via massage, now and then bringing her babies for me to dance around my house as she cleaned or ironed or washed clothes.

We had a wonderful symbiotic relationship.  She made my house a home and relieved me from tedious tasks so I could write.  I was her chief bank and no-interest loan officer—loaning the money for their new house, more land, a new used car when theirs was totaled by a drunk with no insurance. She always paid me back, either via installments deducted from her salary or in lump sums sometime down the line.

Yolanda, Pasiano my gardener, their families and I went on short vacations together to the Guadalajara zoo or to see the wildflowers in Tapalpa, loading up my full-sized van to capacity. This happens in Mexico.  Your gardener and housekeeper become your extended family and you become theirs.

So it is that Yolanda occasionally sets me right in the world as well.  The first year I didn’t build a Day of the Dead altar for my husband, she queried.  “Oh, so you no longer miss your husband?”  I built a shrine.  On Mother’s Day, she was the one who moved my mother’s picture from the guest bedroom onto the counter next to the virgin and lit a candle.

What was the candle for this time?  I asked her on Wednesday, when she arrived for one of her three-times-weekly three-hour sessions.  This time, senora, it was for San Antonio.  He was the finder of lost things, and we had been searching in vain for weeks for the lost cord and microphone for my amplifier.  The bowl of water under the glass with the candle in it was to cool the glass so it didn’t shatter.

I had let the candle burn all day until I went to bed.  When Yolanda arrived two days later, she lit it again.  Then hours after her arrival as I still sat at my computer blogging my blog, she came into the room carrying a large Ziploc plastic bag.  It was the cord and mike!

“Where did you find it?”  I asked.

“It was in with the sheets,” she answered.

“We’ve been losing a lot of things lately,” I said.  “Remember when we looked for weeks for my bag of lost keys and I found them in the drawer with the light bulbs?”

“Yes,” she answered.  “And do you remember that I lit a candle that day as well?”

Let me say right now that I am not a religious person.  I don’t pray, although now and then in a really stressful situation, I will address the God of my youth.  But, I am coming to have faith in Yolanda.  When she tells me to light a candle, I do so. And I’ve never missed a Day of the Dead Shrine since her last reminder.

I actually blogged this little vignette in 2015 but that is so long ago that even I’d forgotten it. I’m not sure how much of the past 22 years I’ll include in the book, so just in case, here it is again. By the time I finish this book, we’ll all probably have forgotten it again. And yes, this is “the” San Antonio from my tale above. When I was in Greece a few years ago, I found a little shop that dealt entirely with little shrines of saints and brought Yolanda back her very own new San Antonio as well. 

This entry was posted in Stories and tagged , , , on by .

About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

22 thoughts on “Lighting a Candle for San Antonio (Possibles, May 9, 2023)

  1. sam

    Yes, I like that, it is a very good addition, because it relates to their strong beliefs (as well as mine in a way).  I have one votive of Saint Catherine, like the one you show , but I got mine at the Basilica of San Domenico in Siena, Italy.  The little votive backing has doors that open and when you pull the string at the bottom it chimes music~! (if it is truly like yours, I wonder where it was made)  

    Unfortunately that Basilica is where “the head of St Catherine” is located, and many of “her bones” are scattered all over Europe~! This is one turn off to me~!  I also have several very old paintings on wood or tin backings of other saints which I have picked up in my travels, and a beautiful little statue of  St Francis preaching to birds, in the trees, while holding a cup for seeds for them which is a pleasant addition to my little garden.  I love it..

    You have seen these in a posting long ago but I hope it will post for you again because it has that little votive that I talked about above.

    You see, I feel that these beliefs do absolutely no harm, and are a benefit to the people who do believe in them, as you point out.  My Catholic high school girlfriend gave me a silver pendent of  St. Anthony on a chain to wear around my neck, He who started out to find lost souls, (Your San Antonio).  I wore it for several years, much to the chagrin of my mother who’s bible said: “thou shalt not make unto thee any engraving images of the heavens or the earth” and she was really not very pleased with me for wearing it.  But it made my girlfriend very happy that I was protected, and it made me very happy to please her.

    I feel the same way about most such beliefs. However there is a faction that does harm, to those who can not distinguish truth from fiction and they can be harmful, as mentioned above, about my mother~!  I lost my maid Maria due to such a “way out belief” when she refused to take caution for the Corona Virus and I insisted that I could not take that chance by having her not take caution.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. lifelessons Post author

      Sam I thought the Catherine piece was lower left on the wall..was I right? But perhaps that is the music box you are talking about..anyway, it is the one I really like.


      1. Sam

        Yes and yes, It has the same shape as the one you show of San Antonio. I am not sure of the size though, about six by 8 inches. This little votive hangs on a wall like a picture, look real close and there is a little “ball” hanging from the bottom, when you pull that ball, a string hangs down and it has a music box chime inside which plays J. S. Bach music when you pull the string~! All in one~!

        Ha~! Told you that I was eclectic, even in my choice of bathroom music~! But I was thinking about that in relation of how I dress, vs what you have said about Bob.. This is one thing I rarely have done and that is to wear loud color shirts, where Bob liked bright shirts, which I understand because he was an entertainer. I like to see them on others but do not wear them. My socks are all black, I have worn the same brand, style and color of shoes and trousers for years, but I did like bright ties, back when I had to wear them to work. I always kept my clothes similar due to not having to choose what to wear and I fixed the miss-matched sock problem by having them all the same color and type.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Judy Reeves

    WE all need help, however that intercession comes. Another lovely story that you’ll weave together in your book(s), or you’ll submit free style to a literary journal or anthology.


      1. Judy Reeves

        Oh Judy, I’m terrible at submitting too. I’ve tried all kinds of tricks to get myself going. Finally, I think it’s knowing where what might fit where, having some kind of research material to find out who’s looking for what. and best of all: accountability to someone. I subscribe to Duotrope, which lists all kinds of markets for fiction, creative nonfiction, nonfiction, poetry. Deadlines, contests, themes, etc. I find it’s a really good resource. Also Poets & Writers has a good online database. Some use Submittable, but I haven’t. Also I use New Pages and Women on Writing. (WOW). Really like Duotrope!


        1. lifelessons Post author

          I do use Submittable because it is so easy. I’ve had two pieces published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and it is gratifying to actually be paid plus receive copies. I’ve also submitted to journals or poetry magazines mentioned in blogs. All-in-all, I am lazy promoting both my writing and my art. Blogging has been the most gratifying choice so far because it is wonderful when something you write becomes a conversation. Like this one!


  3. Glen

    Possibly my favorite newsy Judy DB column ever, about relationship at its richest supportive best. Love and joy to you blessed beings for being there to the fullest for each other in body and spirit–so inspiring.



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