Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mariachis at a Quinceanera

I went to a quinceanera for the first time. That is the traditional 15th birthday party of a Mexican girl where she is presented as a young woman instead of a young girl. This one was pretty impressive and resembled a wedding except that it centered on a single person. Ever see a movie musical where a bunch of kids all start dancing in sync and you think "that could never happen"? I don't think it could either. But I saw something at the quinceanera that looked close and that was fun. The birthday girl and her entourage of ten boys and girls performed a complete choreographed dance routine to modern dance music. Sweet. Then, they did it again with a salsa. Impressive, and oddly musical like.

One of my favorite parts of the event was listening to the eight piece mariachi group. There is something so cool about hearing the horns wail in person with that repetitive thrum of the strings. And, there is the voice conveying varying sentiments in a language I don't understand. I love it. My wife leaned over and assured me we would have mariachis for an anniversary some year. She remembers that I wanted mariachis at our wedding but it didn't work out and she knows how much I enjoy listening to them. Thanks love.

Thinking about mariachis and all things in Spanish at the quinceanera, I got to remembering that I didn't always like mariachi music. Some things change and they are obvious like grey hairs popping out where only dark brown ones use to be. Other things are more subtle like how I get excited to hear mariachis and I like listening to talk radio and I cry a lot more.

I remember thinking that talk radio was so boring. "It's a radio grandma, it's supposed to have music." Her counter was "What about those music videos, it's supposed to be a TV." Touche, grandma. Touche. Now, I listen to NPR talk radio half the time I am driving.

While I know I cried plenty as a child, I went through a long and comfortable dry spell. No longer, apparently. I cried like a baby at my wedding. And reading To Kill a Mockingbird this weekend, I must have wiped my eyes ten times or more. I left sunglasses on sitting in the shade so I could keep reading at the coffee shop. I hear older men can become sensitive and cry easily but I assumed that would not hit until my 70's or later. What do I know. I choose to blame it on my buddy Don. Once, he brought over some tear-jerker movie, don't even remember what it was, but neither of us jumped up to turn the lights on when it was over. The water works turn on fairly easily now.

So things change. Some obvious, some not so obvious. I'm okay with liking mariachis, talk radio, and even wiping my eyes more often. For now however, I'm going to keep plucking the grey hairs. I look forward to head full of grey, but I don't feel qualified just yet.


  1. I have no idea what you're talking about. Have you found my motorcycle yet?

  2. I think it was "Second hand lions".