On Saturday at Papá Chepe’s 85th birthday party, I gave him eight kisses and then proceeded to dance la Marcha de Zacatecas with him as the tamborazo Zacatecano (required at my family’s big parties) played.
I wish you could hear what la Marcha sounds like (I found a clip, click on “play song clip”). Someone told me once that it’s the second national anthem of Mexico, sort of like Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever is the official march of the US. I played both marches when I was in band during high school, but I’ve always preferred la Marcha de Zacatecas. If you’ve heard both, if part (or all) of your family is from Zacatecas, and you’re really close to a proud Zacatecano, you would understand why.
There’s something really nice to me about dancing with my grandfather. It makes me feel comfortable, at home, and closer to him.
When I was a kid, my mom would talk about her own maternal grandfather lovingly. Papayito passed away in her late teens and she missed him a lot. I learned the value of dancing with my grandfather from my mom who used to dance a lot with her Papayito. Growing up, I saw her dancing with Papá Chepe more often than she danced with my dad. I supposed it was because my dad was often playing in the band at the party, or maybe because he just wasn’t feeling the tamborazo music as much.
I wish I could dance la Marcha de Zacatecas at every big family party in the future with Papá Chepe, but I know that’s impossible. He’s a little slower in his step now, he dances a little bit less and sits out more songs. Still, I’m glad to even have the opportunity to dance with Papá Chepe because I’ve learned a lot more than just dancing from him.