Vive la Cultura de México!!!!

Last night was Agustin’s “surprise” fiftieth birthday party that got so big that they had to tell him about it because we were holding it at his restaurant and the staff could no longer buy enough food for all the people who attended without his knowledge and help. I don’t know if he ever ate as he was running here and there in his spiffy new chef’s coat, but it was definitely the best party I’ve ever been to in terms of the entertainment. Two musical groups played, including the best 10-piece mariachi group I have ever heard (including the Mariachi Festival and world competition in Guadalajara.) There was simply no believing this local group, with their oldest member, who is 75, having fifty years experience as a mariachi.

No telling how much experience the younger members have, but judging from the performance, they must have started in the womb. It was simply incredible. After the classic fare of “Las Mananitas” and “Guadalajara” and “Coo Ca Roo Coo Coo,” they did classical, mazurkas, and other music more usually performed by an orchestra–all performed flawlessly and with such emotion and spirit that I was in tears at times. Agustin stepped in and eventually, most of the remaining audience (the original 150 or so had dwindled to 30 or fewer by then) was out center court, singing along with the lyrics in typical Mexican late-night-party style. A little boy came in from off the street, in his pajama bottoms, shirt and bare feet. People started sticking their name tags on him and soon his shirt front was covered. I stuck mine on his pajama bottom back and with great dignity, he removed it and placed it over his heart. He had some cake, then entered into the festivities with other kids, dancing and generally having a marvelous time. A tiny baby snoozed in its mother’s arms, totally covered with a blanket for privacy. Babies fast get accustomed to noise in Mexico and are never left home even when the festivities go deep into the night and out the other side into morning.

One incredible young violin player-singer was so majestic in his performance that I inquired of Agustin where he had gone to college to achieve such mastery, and Agustin, who knew or was related to all the members of the troupe, declared that he could not even read music. Hard to imagine because I have never heard his equal at the opera, on the stage, on radio or on The Voice!

Six birthday cakes, a money tree covered in envelopes given with the intention of sending Agustin to Cuba to go investigate the music he has loved and sung from the time he was a child, the wonderful cuisine of Viva Mexico and most of my favorite people from both Mexico as well as transplants from north of the border created the perfection of the evening. The dancing and foolishness with John Mistrik who turned into a kid again with balloon fights with the kids who were reeling with happiness over his antics and their own. The incredible ballet one young boy staged with a balloon long after the battery on my camera had gone. It was a memorable night.

Happy Birthday, Agustin, our beautiful and generous friend with the biggest heart in Mexico. Generations of kids as well as all of us who have met you at this later stage in our lives have benefited greatly from your actions.  We all hold you in our hearts.  But it takes all of our hearts to equal the size of  your own!!!!

(You can read a detailed article I wrote about Agustin HERE.)

(If you want to read captions and see the photos in a larger form, click on first photo.)

The prompt word today is “Culture.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

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