When I was in my 20s, every few months my first husband and I traveled to Mexico, Central America, The Bahamas, or the Virgin Islands. Anywhere we could dig for Mayan artifacts, minerals and crystals and/or scuba dive. I always took a straw hat—so big it almost needed it’s own airline seat—and my pink plastic boombox. I loved that thing! It was the predecessor to ghetto blasters, and had a strap so I could carry it over my shoulder, like a purse.
THANK GOODNESS, I WASN’T A VIRGIN!
Because we preferred to explore unpaved roads, which were often nothing more than a rough path through the jungle, we visited lots of villages that never saw tourists. The residents were always gracious. On one of our excursions, the locals of a tiny Yucatan village took us to see their hidden cenote: a deep, clearwater pool. Their ancestors had appeased the gods by sacrificing village virgins and tossing them into the cenote. While many cenotes are accessed by underground caves, this one had one way in, and no way out.
When we returned from the cenote, eight men—with dented trumpets and french horns, a marching band drum, complete with neck strap, and a trombone in need of polishing—were waiting for us. The little ragtag band had cropped pants and grizzled, sun-lined faces. They stood in the courtyard of a centuries-old church and started playing. They were off-key, out-of-sync and charming. We smiled and clapped, so touched by their gesture.
When the men stopped playing, they nodded at one another. With self-conscious, somewhat childish half-smiles, they walked from the courtyard and stopped in front of me. For a moment, I wondered if I was to be the next sacrifice to the gods? Thank goodness, I wasn’t a virgin! Instead, they wanted me “to play for them.” They wanted me to turn on my pink boombox.
It’s too bad we didn’t have a movie camera, because it would have been a film for the ages. I pushed play, and their faces lit up! It was the Bee Gees. The men nodded excitedly and began playing along to “Stayin’ Alive.” Drum, trumpets and all. It was sweet and hysterical at the same time. A magical moment none of us ever forgot.
Because I love music, 1010 ParkPlace has added a new section, PLAYLISTS, as a regular feature. Each week some of our favorite people will curate a list of songs to share with us. Check them out. You might find a few you’ll want to add to your playlist.
This week I’ve listed some of my favorite “Dancing in the Kitchen” songs. Some evenings, I like to pour a glass of wine and listen to music while I fix dinner. Nothing too crazy that might prompt a slip of the knife, although I’ve already done that once. Two friends and I carried the tip of my left index finger, in a wet paper towel, to the ER where it was stitched back on. Another moment, I won’t forget.