I didn't see her at first, hidden by the tree. I noticed the little girl standing on one of the two dirt piles in the big open field. The dirt piles were near the road with the tree behind the dirt.
The child was playing with a mixed breed dog that looked somewhat like a German Shepherd. I noticed her because she was close to the road and, at first, appeared to be alone.
I watched for a minute or two as she gently petted the dog and played with it. Then the dog went over to another tree for shade but the little girl stayed put. I then saw her. Her mother.
The mother had a big machete. Almost as long as she was tall. She was hacking at the dead tree for firewood. My heart seized up. I always think, "But for the grace of God, go I". Always.
I debated about getting out of the car, walking through the field and giving the woman some money to help she and the child. The dilemma always is: Will she be offended? Am I intruding? How can I do this in a diplomatic and gracious way? She wasn't begging. She was working.
So, I DIDN'T get out and I drove on to where I was going. Still with a knot in my stomach and my heart hurting. After about ten minutes, I turned around and drove back to the field. Determined to get out and to give assistance, in whatever way, to the mother and child.
They weren't there! I drove all around. I drove through the paths of the field. Nada. Oh my gosh, my heart sank. I never found them. I'm so ashamed I didn't just get out when I first saw them and go and give aid.
I know that mother and child will remain in my mind for a long, long time.
There was a teenage boy in a parking lot in Celaya last year who had ridden the rails from El Salvador and was trying to get to Detroit because he could get a job there, he hoped, with relatives. I've never forgotten that boy. He was the same age as my teenage granddaughter who lives in safety with family and plenty of food.
It reminds me to "be grateful for what I have" and "not to think about what I wish for that I don't have". I have so much.