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Local Gal Lives the Dream

by sanmigueltimes
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My cleaning gal that comes two mornings a week approached me Thursday and she had all the tell-tale signs of quitting in body language and voice I’ve learned to recognize.

Having been the prominent employer of technical writers and editors in Research Triangle Park for two decades I’ve had hundreds of folks quit on me for a variety of reasons.  But, Carolina, was a first for me.

Here my cleaning lady was quitting to live her dream of owning her own restaurant!

I’ve never had someone quit on me to be an entrepreneur and I was thrilled!


Carolina Pastor Duarte was born in town but found the country life more to her favor and moved to the rancho, Los Lopez, between town and Cieneguita (the village behind the old train station).  Early on in life she was caught up in marriage, kids, divorce and put her restaurant dreams on hold until now.

She acquired the land in Cieneguita where one turns left to cross the bridge leading to the Leon airport featuring a large nogal (walnut) tree, now home to Nogal Buffet.


Instead of cleaning her last day I acknowledged her frequent request to teach her how to make my spaghetti and meatballs.  Here I had thought her request was humoring me because, really, I’m not that great of a cook (baker, yes.).  I didn’t realize she wanted to add the spaghetti to her buffet.


Back when I was a Tiny Toone my parents fostered local unwed pregnant teens.  As my older siblings became moody teens themselves my parents found the house too full of moody teens so they began fostering babies up for adoption.  Back with the pregnant teens, one was of Italian descent that taught my mother how to make a pasta sauce that I still make.

c buffet

Carolina, the budding mogul was anxious to add my sauce to her menu.

Once our cooking class ended we headed out to the restaurant and went over the various options she had to yank more travelers off the road and down to her buffet.  It was a fun afternoon learning a business I knew nothing of before.

c fran

Suffice to say it is a lot of work for her to cook the night before, get up early, take the kids to school, set up her tent along the flooding river and open the buffet by eight as the cars, buses and trucks pull in.  But any time you find yourself puttering towards Atotonilco, Guanajuato or Leon pull over by the bridge to enjoy a great buffet featuring a 1960s pregnant gal’s excellent pasta sauce and say hello to Carolina!


Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series.  All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays.  Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA.  Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkingTours.com, and JosephTooneTours.com.


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