Even though Cinco de Mayo is technically a Mexican holiday (Independence from colonial France), many throughout the world celebrate, becoming Mexicans for a day. The day began for me when I left the boat after morning coffee for a stroll of the docks. I got up to the restaurant and sat and talked with Peach and Dave. Peach is the manager of the newly incorporated Lyman Morse Panama which is taking over the boatyard duties here. Dave is his yard manager, a long time employee of the marina and husband to Glyn, Sue's birding/butterflying buddy. The marina restaurant manager, Chis, had set up a party for the afternoon and evening, consisting of two bands, chicken and burgers, all out in the yard next to the hardstand. As we talked over coffee, it began to rain. Oops, what happens to the outdoor concert?
Photos of the Shelter Belters taken last week, but Sue is posting to show L to R: Steve, Bruno, Keith, I.B, and Frank.
It rained hard for about twenty minutes, then lightened to a drizzle. I went back to the boat where Sue had erected a barrier to water entry through the poorly designed companionway hatch (among other leaks in our 31 year old floating home). Our rain gauge said 1.9 inches of rain! Damn, that's a lot of water. It then rained on and off until the early afternoon, totalling 2.6 inches. Looks like a washout for the celebration.
Wrong. Chris's staff is busy roasting chook on the electric rotisserie, carting the gas grill out to the yard, cleaning up the bandstand while Steve, the leader of the local amateur band is fretting about the rain. The show must go on! Chris has had local radio commercials to attract people from town and scheduled a pro band from Panama city to play after our local group.
By three-thirty marina residents began to show up and started buying burgers and beer from the staff on the lawn. Poolside chairs appeared, Texans with "Cuban" cigars (probably made in the Dominican Republic) started bragging and complaining, kids with dogs started romping, the local band (Shelter Belters) started tuning, no-seeums and mozzies started biting, the goon squad started gathering (the hired security), and the pros from Dover (the hired band X-ILE) started setting up.
The local band is made up of marina guests and staff, so membership is fluid, with boats arriving and departing this choke point for cruisers. The current membership consists of the leader/founder Steve (yacht Liward, out of Kemeh, Texas) lead and sometimes rhythm guitar and vocals; Frank (marina dockmaster) bass guitar; Keith (crew an yacht Baja Beagle) percussion (Keith is an ex-studio musician with rasta dreadlocks); Bruno, 19 year old Brazilian (crew on Guppy, Laura Dekker's ketch from the Netherlands) lead and rhythm guitar and ukelele. Bruno's skipper, Laura, completed a solo circumnavigation in the eastern Caribbean earlier this year at age 15.
I sat down on a lawn chair next to Greg. He is the husband of our convenience store operator and mechanic extraordinaire. He and his family are on Dutch Dreamer, a steel motorsailer out of Yellow Knife, Northern Territory, Canada. His wife, Carol was working a booth selling sort drinks and candy bars, and had enlisted Lili (pronounced Lee-Lee), the band leaders wife to help. The adult beverages were being sold by one of Chis's staff aided by two toung blond Danish girls passing through (looking for a ride on someone's boat).
The warm up band started playing, everything from Jimmy Buffett to Crosby, Stills and Nash to Stones to George Harrison. The beer and rum started flowing. The termites started flying, getting in everyone's hair, food and down their backs. The "OFF-Deepwoods" started spraying. Chris's bulldog puppy Cooper started pulling his leash. People started having a good time. My bladder started it's 69 year old exercises.
The late afternoon was magical. As I wandered over toward the rainforest to "exercise" behind a parked car (it was too far from the rest room), I looked up at five different kinds of birds calling and flying around with food for their babies while the band was playing a country and western tune. I was taken back almost forty years to when my brother and I would meet at "Going to Market" to drink beer and listen to bluegrass musicians while our spouses would shop for bargains at this Memphis area flea market.
Greg and I solved all the marina's problems and most of the world's problems over a few Balboa lagers and a few Abuelo Anejo rum drinks (we got too full to drink any more beer).
The main band came on about five-thirty. They had a killer guitar player, a bass player, a drummer and a female lead singer-keyboard player with a belt-em out voice and style reminiscent of Janis Joplin. They played hard rock, soft rock, latin rock, Bob Dylan and even "My Sharona"! My mellowness increased in direct proportion to adult beverages consumed and trips to the rainforest to "exercise". Maybe my mellowness increased because happy hour prices were in effect between five and seven...one dollar beers and two dollar rum drinks. Maybe it was because the sky had cleared and the Super Moon was shining. I don't know, but I just felt better and better, kind of like when I read Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" or "Sweet Thursday".
As the pros from Dover (well, actually Panama City) were winding up, I headed back to Peregrine. Sue had stayed in the boat all day to catch up on reading (and save her liver from temptation I am convinced). She had heated up the enchilada casserole from the night before and the boat smelled heavenly. I had three helpings.
That is how I celebrated Cinco de Mayo.