So, Cinco de Mayo happened over the weekend, and the cold and rainy and generally gray weather was enough to make me ask, “¿Que mes es esto?” Hannah had her very first Cinco de Mayo experience last year, when it was sunny and warm and we had to find shade and some cold ceviche. We only stayed for the parade for about half an hour before deciding to go home and warm up. It gave us enough time to see some inexplicable costumers, extremely lame “floats” that were just cars with magnetic stickers for local businesses, and the line of horses bringing up the rear. Hannah has an equestrian fascination at the moment and had never seen a “hose” in real life before.
That evening, the three of us crashed at Jenny and Libby’s for a Quatro de Mayo party with our cluster of mutual friends. We brought beans and rice to go with enchiladas and sangria, and we had a sombrero and some maracas for my hijita to play with. Of course, we also had a piñata to take a few swings at outside. Mommy, daddy, and even Hannah took a few turns whacking at it, which produced much better results than a “goofus” of years past that I could mention.
One other major development over the weekend was our unexpected winning of the “blue pass” contest at Jitterbugs. The Jitterbug volunteers were encouraged to give our specially-marked passes to people, and the person who passed out the most would get a free pass to a dance workshop hosted by Christian Frommelt and Jenny Shirar from St. Louis. Well, thanks to Vivian’s co-workers, that winner turned out to be us. Or should I say, me, because after much discussion, we decided that I would be the one to participate in the workshops, mostly because after checking the guest list, follows outnumbered the leads by a few heads. It was the first time in a couple years that I’ve been able to participate in dance classes of any kind, and it was a great experience. On Saturday, I wore my feet out working on my swing out, getting a crash course in St. Louis Shag, and then stumbling through a series of footwork drills. Then on Sunday, we met up again at Troy’s house for classes in Al & Leon’s Shim Sham, dynamic Lindy Hop, and some exhausting St. Louis Style Swing Outs (which involve turning around twice in eight counts instead of just once — dizzying to say the least).
What I discovered in the end was that this was great exercise not just physically but mentally as well. Observing other people’s dance steps and trying to remember them long enough to do them myself was a terrific workout for my mind — like a bunch of rusty, unused gears were suddenly working together once again after many years of disuse. My only challenge now is to remember what I learned so I can teach it to Vivian the next time we hit the dance floor.