Just add salsa

I was still grumpy from school nonsense when I got home. Since the time changed this weekend, I’ve been walking in the mornings, but my husband took one look at me and suggested I should maybe take an evening walk, too. I declined. He backed out of the kitchen, supposedly to go finish some work.

I stewed.
I scrolled.
I texted.
I muttered.

Finally, I had to admit that none of this was making me feel any better at all. And since I was filling the kitchen with my frustration, no one was making dinner, either. Even Mr. 11 – hungry, as ever, 20 minutes before dinner time – had abandoned the space when I glared and said he could not have a snack. Harumph.

At least if I was alone in the kitchen, I could play my own music. My finger hovered over my list – this was not the moment to let some app determine what I needed to hear – and I landed on Dream in Blue by Los Lobos. I heated water for the pasta and smiled at the thought of Patrick – his horror at my unformed musical taste; his insistence that I listen to, well, everything; his eclectic music the soundtrack to our relationship and the fun we had while it lasted and we listened. 

By now I was reheating the chili and cutting the bread. When the song ended, I didn’t hesitate: very sharp knife in hand, I found Carlos Vives and cranked the volume on Pa Mayte. Ah… My feet started moving, then my hips, and despite the fact that I was in the kitchen making dinner for my family, despite the fact that I will turn 50 in two short weeks, I was back in Chief Ike’s Mambo Room with Linda, sweaty and happy as we danced with whichever partner was nearby, danced after-hours until we were so tired that only their hands and the music held us up. I was at the Gipsy Kings concert dancing on the lawn and I was in Belize, with Amy and Janny and no, I don’t remember how we ended up at the club, but oh, we danced until our feet hurt and we took our shoes off and danced barefoot and then…

Well, then the pasta was done and the chili was warm. Andre came in and turned down the volume because he needed to tell me something. The kids tumbled in and we sat for dinner. And it was good, life was good, life is good.

(especially if you can fit in a little salsa)

8 thoughts on “Just add salsa

  1. First, I thought you meant salsa as in they kind you eat…which is also a great way to unwind. I like how you describe the music nudging you away from school and asked you to dance. A real salsa dancing partner. I imagine this as a scene from a movie.

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  2. This piece does read like a movie, and your camera angle is perfect which is real creative writing. You enable the reader to leave her world and enter your world of dancing and smiles.

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  3. Amanda, thank you for the informative photos and passages about the deer hunt. I always heard about the hunt when I was a child but never saw the inner parts of the deer, My uncle was very proud of his hunting days. I imagine that there is a lot of talk about the skill of hunting and of course, the enjoyment of a precise shoot. Congatulations to the men and more thanks to you for the retelling of the tale.

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  4. Somehow I forget how therapeutic music is. This slice is a testament to your power as a writer and to the power of music to overcome school nonsense and grumpiness (that should be classified as a super power!). Glad you found some salsa and a way to bounce back from the day. Great slice!

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  5. A great reminder to take a moment. How sweet that your family knew to steer clear. My own crew is not there… they are constant shadows and I’ve had my fair share of grumpy days lately.

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  6. I have felt this exact way too many times to count! I love the music and dancing has such power over our moods. The other day I turned on some relaxing music in my class and let it work it’s magic (on all of us!)

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  7. Oh, Amanda:
    Seriously, let’s go dancing sometime, okay? I love that you let it take you back to those memories. Los Lobos live is still one of the best shows I have ever seen. I think I might need to pop some Melissa Etheridge on to remind myself that I used to love to dance.

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