One day don Americo and I were driving between villages in the Andes in his son Gayle’s red Volkswagen beetle (the car’s name is Pinky Pinky). As we were were working our way up the side of a mountain valley Americo pulled the car to a stop by the side of the road. An old man was sitting there with his back to us, looking out over the valley.

When we drive through the Andes Americo brings a sack of small loaves of pocket bread to hand out to the salka children we pass in the remote countryside. Americo handed me a loaf and told me to give it to the old man. I rolled down my window and called out a friendly greeting to him but he didn’t turn around. I looked back at Americo and he gestured for me to get out of the car and hand it to him directly. So, I got out of the car and walked over and spoke gently to the old man, who turned, gave me a very nice smile, and accepted the bread before turning back to consider the valley some more. What caught me, however, was not his smile as much as his eyes. They were clear, and serene, and glistened in the sunlight.

As we drove away Americo told me that he had first noticed the man sitting there about ten years earlier, and that he was always there every time Americo drove past this remote spot. Americo began stopping to give the man bread, or fruit, or a bag of flour or sugar. Every time the man would not come to the car, but would accept the gifts with a smile, and then go back to looking out over the valley and to the mountains beyond.

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