Last Sunday I went to the first of my 12 dancing lessons to prepare for the upcoming Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrated on December 12.
I wasn't really sure what to expect - so I kept my mind open and my mouth closed. At least until I had to beg them to slow down and start over, slowly, so my retarded 50-year old brain and body could catch on to the new steps. They, meaning the handful of Latinos from St. B. parish and my Anglo friend Ann; the steps meaning the Indian-type shuffle we were doing to the beat of a huge Congo drum.
I have never been to Our Lady's Feastday celebration before, but Ann tells me it's quite a wonderful and spiritual experience. We meet at, get this, 4 am at the church, then dance our way through the streets in town. There's a Mass that we perform at, and something about a Mexican restaurant. You can tell I'm still a bit confused about the order of the day. I guess my mind just locked up when it heard 4 am. Reputedly, the church will be full of Latino parishioners who really get into this feastday. I had more or less of a milquetoast Catholic upbringing, with no dancing involved. This ought to be interesting.
But, I signed on the dotted line, and I'm in this. There is a basic dance that all the other (15) dances spin off from. We learned four on Sunday. Two had something to do with the figure of the cross, either tapped out or "painted" with your foot. The third was named something like a "drunken sailor," and involved hopping and weaving. That one looks like a lot of fun, and you cover the most ground when you dance. Good for those long miles through town. I am getting exercise, another of my goals this year, and having a good time in the process. Sure beats an exercise machine!
As far as my Spanish goes, I was able to discern, to my horror, that we'd be wearing some type of ankle bracelet while we dance. I was afraid it would have bells and alert people when I misstepped. But, I was assured they'd be wooden and not too noisy. I have a long way to go to actually follow their fast conversations, but am confident the fog will lift now and again. I also learned that our parish priest from Mexico didn't learn any English in school. He learned it from my friend, Rosetta.