Friday, September 12, 2008

Every family has one

A serenata (or serenade) is a very romantic Mexican tradition. Basically, when a man wants to profess his love to the girl of his dreams, he brings musicians to her window and they sing love songs outside of her house. If the girl reciprocates the feelings, she is supposed to turn on her light and perhaps peek out of the window. Its a very chivalrous and romantic expression that is sadly becoming less of a tradition and more of a history to our generation.

But forty years ago- it was all the rave. From what I hear, my aunt was a total heart breaker. She had many love struck boys lead packs of musicians to her window in attempt to win over her heart. They would turn up just around midnight, when the moon was full and bright, strumming melancholy tunes outside her window. The lover would wait patiently for her light to come on. Unfortunately, it never did.

My aunt had epilepsy- and in the excitement of it all, she would fall to the ground and shake with seizures- never having the time to turn on her light. I bet that time after time, the boys would return home feeling sad, rejected and broke (hiring these musicians is not cheap). If only they knew that fault was not with them, they might have given it another go.

But the worst serenata experience of them all was that night that my aunt's grandmother (my great grandmother) passed away. Completely unaware of this family tragedy- one more love-struck admirer decided to profess his devotion that evening. He gathered the musicians, ran through the song list and headed out to my aunts house.

I wasn't there, but I can imagine the grieving family's surprise as they heard the muffled sounds of guitars and trumpets outside their door. They were getting ready to take the body to the morgue, but now an enamored lover and his oblivious band stood right at the door.

They had to do what they had to do. The procession walked out of the house with a gurney and the dead body-covered only by a white sheet. In a moment of confusion, the musicians parted in half, letting the corpse and its grieving family walk through. Slowly, each instrument fizzled out- leaving an awkward and uncomfortable silence.

That pretty much branded my aunt for life. Even though she is now seizure free- the romantic Serenata days are long gone for her. From that day on, her inamoratos stuck to flowers and chocolates.