May 6, 2016 / San Miguel de Allende
Back at the Jardín, sitting on the same bench as yesterday.It is not even mine yet. The day is cool and the streets and sidewalks and park benches are mostly empty and quiet. Most shoppers and tourists are still at home and the only people out and about are the shopkeepers who are busy setting up their wares for the day’s sales, and those hurrying to work.
Also awake is a gardener, watering the bushes behind where I sit. In his pocket he has a small radio, iPod or iPhone from which pours out the distinct sound of Perdro Infante singing, “Tu y las Nubes,” a classic song by Don José Alfredo Jiménez. This is one of the many José Alfredo tunes that inhabited my childhood and still hold a prominent place in my soul.
Ando volando bajo, Pedro croons. I am flying low.
Then he laments,
Tú y las nubes me traen muy loco
Tú y las nubes me van a matar.
And then comes the best lines:
Yo no nací pa pobre
Me gusta todo lo que bueno.
I wasn’t born to be poor; I like all the good things in life.
I like that one. I wrote once that I certainly identified with that sentiment for I too long for and strive for the good things in life even though wealth and I will never have an intimate relationship.
It’s a defiant statement, one that proclaims that I may never be rich but by golly my life will be a good one.
The gardener has now moved on to other bushes, but the emotions that his iPhone or iPod inspired remain. I think it has something to do with the fact that this morning, shortly after I woke up, I watched a video sent by my niece Carmel, of her son Eliseo, a high school senior, with the school’s mariachi band at a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Seo was singing “Ella,” another José Alfredo song. This was by far my favorite when I was a toddler. I remember clearly that every time I heard that song on the family radio I would run from wherever I was to sit by the radio to listen to that song.
And here was this quiet, reserved boy, singing that very same song, putting into his effort as much energy and soul as he could muster.
The video brought tears to my eyes, as did the sound of Pedro Infante’s voice that the young gardener allowed me to take in.
It’s going to be a good day.