Last month, the Blueprint staff had the chance to enjoy the San Antonio MLK march from the front yard of one of our sweet homeowners, Dorothy Mondine. One of our full time staff members, Rachel, offers her reflections from that day.
I just joined on staff in September, but apparently the 82 year-old Mrs. Mondine has been asking us to come watch the MLK March from her yard since we worked on her house a few summers ago.
When we agreed to go this year, I’m not sure any of us really knew what to expect. Truthfully, in light of the racial turmoil our nation has been experiencing, I was a little nervous to attend the march as a group of white people. Would we be welcomed?
We arrived to the parade plenty early to find a parking spot. Upon our arrival, there were already people lining the street with their barbeques fired up, cases of water stacked, and smiles on their faces. We were greeted many times with a hug and a cheerful “Happy MLK Day!”
It didn’t take long for us to realize what a celebration we were about to be part of. It seemed Mrs. Mondine had invited everyone she knew to come to her yard and celebrate. The next few hours consisted of her saying hello to nearly every other person she saw. There were hugs for everyone, kisses, handshakes, smiles, and waves. She thanked and God-blessed every single police officer escorting the parade. We discovered that she is known in her community as “Mama Mondine” and sometimes just “Mama.” We had visitors from ages four to ninety-four stop by to give Mama a hug. Everyone wanted a piece of her love and she gave it so freely.
At one point I looked over and she had a group huddled around her— some friends of hers who were walking by, some Blueprint staff members, and a few reporters who recognized her from previous MLK Day marches. (She made sure everyone knew she had been watching the march from her yard for over 40 years.) Perhaps Mama was telling a story, and I wanted to hear. I walked over to find her quoting scripture and sharing the gospel with whoever would listen. I was instantly reminded of crowds gathering around our Savior as He preached. What a picture of Jesus she is!
An hour later, when the march had passed, the group decided it was time for lunch. They brought out dish after dish of made-from-scratch food, and we ate in our lawn chairs in the front yard. There wasn’t a person walking by who didn’t get an invitation to join us for lunch in the yard. Mama hollered at each and every one of them, asking if they’d eaten lunch yet and telling them to "Come on in!"
What love! This is a woman who has spent a lifetime truly giving herself away. She has clung to Jesus’ commandment to love her Lord with all her heart and to love her neighbor as herself. Mrs. Mondine thinks Blueprint blessed her with a new roof, but we truly are the ones who are blessed to know such an amazing woman of God.
How silly I felt for being nervous about attending the march. I didn’t feel division on this special day. I felt togetherness. I felt so very much love. I felt that our Savior was smiling down with a heart swelling with love for his people.
It was estimated that over 200,000 people from our community marched in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that day—one of the largest marches in the nation! What an energizing, faith assuring, joyful day it was. We got to witness a community full of love for each other and for our Savior. I was proud to be part of this community. I like to think our city sure made Dr. King proud too.