Saturday, May 09, 2009

A holiday time

When I was in elementary school at Ridgeway Elementary School in Columbia, MO, I had a music teacher named Celestine Hayes. At the time, I thought Mrs. Hayes was a nut. She would dance around the room and teach us silly songs for every holiday of the year. She had pictures of composers on the wall and made us learn their names. Looking back, I do think she was a nut, but in a good way. She clearly loved music and had a desire to incorporate classical music as well as various ethnic music styles into an elementary school music program that was relegated to the basement across the hall from the gym/cafeteria.

Anyway, one of the songs she taught us was about Cinco de Mayo. The lyrics are as such (look for a video of this song in the near future):
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday time, a holiday time in Mexico
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday time. To the fiesta we'll go, go, go. la la la la la.
Go, go, go. La la la la la.
Go, go go...

As we celebrate the independence of the people of Mexico
We'll be dancing through the streets
While the mariachi trumpets blow

And then you repeat the chorus. Nevermind the fact that Cinco de May isn't really about Mexican Independence (this is actually September 16th). It's a way fun song to sing. For the past few years I've called my sister and left the song on her voicemail on Cinco de Mayo.

This past week, I was at Montreat for the Annual Recreation Workshop. On Cinco de Mayo, I taught the song to many of my friends who were there. Some of them already knew it from having hung out with me on Cinco de Mayo in the past. That evening, we went in search of margaritas, but found out that Black Mountain restaurants don't serve liquor, so we headed to the nearby town of Swannanoa. The first Mexican restaurant we saw looked almost empty, but open, so we went in. We asked if they served maragaritas.

"No, friend. You have to go to La Cocula in Swannanona. Ask for Oscar. He'll take care of you." says the owner, who only has one eye.

"Yup, it's a few miles up the road near the Bojangles," says the older guys with crazy hair who then points us in the right direction with his middle finger...the only finger on that hand.

So, with the directions of the one eyed owner and the one-fingered pirate looking guy, we headed to La Cocula. Upon arrival, we asked for Oscar. We ordered some queso dip and some beer and margaritas. After a little while, we decided we would sing our Cinco de Mayo song. The table of 15 college students next to us loved it so they sang it with us. Before long, the entire restaurant was singing the Cinco de Mayo song.

On the way back to Montreat, we called many people and sang the song for them, either in person or on voicemail. I wish we had taken a video of us singing it to share on the blog, but you might just have to settle for me singing it.

So, all of that is to say, "Thank you Celestine Hayes for inspiring a wonderful evening with good friends (who will remain nameless, because they don't like being mentioned on my blog, but you know who you are :))."


gd said...

I agree with every word re. Celestine. I even named my hamster after her back in...4th grade, I think? I never let a Cinco de Mayo pass without contacting Alena & Sarah (and now Betsy, thanks to Facebook!) to sing that song.

Alan, thanks for musing on some great memories. She truly is an AWESOME lady.


Heather said...

Oh La Cocula. that place brings back some memories. haha. Not as big of a staple for summer staff as "Mexico" (i have no idea how to spell the real name of the place. but its right on the edge of black mtn on 70). But that sounds like an awesome time was had by all :)

Katy said...

you're totally singing this the next time i see you. cinco de mayo or not.

Andy said...

I can't believe you met a one-eyed man and a one-fingered man in the same bar! What are the chances? That's Family Guy weird right there.