Cinco Dias en Mayo (Five Days in May)

Written by:

Uno de Mayo
Mayday, mayday, mayday, or as they say around my joint only 4 more shopping days until Cinco de Mayo. I’m not really a traditionalist so for my celebration I’ll skip the Coronas and have some craft beers with my tequila and you can count on the tequila not being named José. In fact, I’m so untraditional that I’m starting the celebration today and I plan to continue the celebration daily through the actual holiday. Tacos (carne asada, el pastor, carnitas) remain a large part of my celebration as does the tequila. The festivities are probably going to take me through my deadline for this 1st Thursday welcome, so as they say, I’m getting ahead of the curve. I have started writing this on May Day but writing and celebrating (drinking) at the same time don’t quite work for me. Obviously, in more ways than one, I’m not a Hemingway, so I’ll be updating my hijacking of another culture’s holiday on a daily basis, usually before the tequila and continuing all the way through the actual Cinco de Cinco.

Beginning tomorrow, I also have a daily musical component to my ongoing celebration through to the actual holiday and there isn’t any Mariachi or guiterron playing as part of it but I’ll look into getting a sombrero, as I like hats.

Now it’s time for extra hoppy pilsner from Firestone Walker and a shot or two of Don Julio 70th Anniversary Anejo. I’ll check with you tomorrow.

Dos de Mayo
Continuing in the untraditional celebration mode, I’m going to an old time jam later today with a craft beer swap on the agenda as well. Wait a minute! How is an old time jam with beer drinking untraditional? Well only in the context of my continuing Cinco De Mayo celebration. I’m not sure
anyone else celebrates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French in 1861 by playing Possum Up a Gump Stump or Nail That Catfish to Tree…….8 or 9 times through.

Actually, the old time jam will really be fun. The group is very eclectic with some great tunes. The core group of these jammers hits all the music camps and always comes back with new tunes from pros like the Canote Brothers, Brad Leftwich, Earl White and more. Me, I just hold on tight and try to hit the downbeat…with varying degrees of success. It is a very auditory learning process and with my tin ear and a lot of modal changes, it is somewhat challenging. Like I said, I just hold on and maybe try to catch the guitar player’s fingers.

After the jam, I made tacos at home for Linda and me. Chicken this time. It was no easy feat as the power went out in our neighborhood for three hours that night but the celebration continued with some Rogue Dead Guy Ale and some Clase Azul Reposada. Got to bed early though as I had a big day planned for Sunday.

Tres de Mayo
A four-hour Farmer’s market gig for the jug band I play with. You know the 2nd cousins twice removed from last month. We had to set up by 9:00 and as Farmer’s Markets tend to go, they set us up right next to the guy who does knife sharpening in his big panel truck. It would be an understatement to say that it was a little noisy trying to play (mostly) acoustically. Even a guiterron wouldn’t have helped. However we managed to get through the whole four hours and actually sold a few CD’s and made some decent tips.

I managed to barter a few CD’s for some real nice avocados and some really good goat cheese. Guacamole for happy hour tonight!

I’m getting a little older and this Cinco Dias en Mayo thing was starting to wear me down but after an afternoon nap (siesta), we decided to go more traditional and so after our guacamole and Casa Noble happy hour, Linda and I went to a Mexican Restaurant. In keeping with the traditional flavor of this evening of the celebration marathon, I went with a Modelo Especial and chased with a shot of Forteleza. Linda went tried and true with a Cadillac Margarita.

This is probably a good spot to let you know this celebration is my adventure and concoction and Linda was not, shall we say, as invested as I was. Thank goodness for that, as a steady hand was needed at few points in the celebration.

Cuatro de Mayo
Leftover chicken tacos tonight but I’m going to go light tonight on the rest of the celebration. I’ll skip the beer but have about a half a shot of Tequila Ocho then off to another old time jam with many of the same players as Saturday. The medicinal value of the agave will tune my ears and fingers up for the old time modal chord change challenge or at least that what I tell myself as the ½ shot morph’s into a whole one….or two.

Monday night’s jam is now called the South Bay Old Time Sessions. This jam was formerly the Fandangos jam. The group reacted quickly to closing of Fandango’s Pizza and is now entrenched in a meeting room in a church on Charleston Rd in Palo Alto. No guiterron (or didgeridoos) here either.

We’re getting close to the finish line, thankfully. For me this is a live training operation for a week in June around Father’s Day that will have undoubtedly some more music but about the same rations of craft beer and tequila. I’ll bet that if you looked hard enough at the Nevada County Fairgrounds that week you’d be able to find a guiterron or even a didgeridoo there. Also, I want to give thanks to General Zaragoza for defeating the French Army in Puebla in 1861 for giving me this excellent training opportunity.

Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Cinco. It is finally here and with that we get a day of bluegrass (finally). Linda and I worked on some new material for ‘bout Time! for a couple of hours in the afternoon. This was after a lunch at Chalateco a taqueria near our house. Really getting back to traditional celebration mode here, Tacos, quesadillas, guacamole and Negro Modelo, only one though, it was lunch.

A late afternoon siesta was in the cards followed by an ala cart burrito and Polish Pilsner from the Tied House and a decent shot of Tres Manos Anejo.

At 7:00 the band arrived and we rehearsed and jammed until about 9:30. We even had the dreaded metronome out for a good portion of the time. Metronomes are sometimes hard when working with groups but when the bass player has a little buzz, it can get even more challenging.

So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I have taken to flights of fantasy in the past for my monthly assignment here but this month is a true accounting of the Cinco Dias en Mayo. I lived the chapters and had a little fun doing it and played a bunch of music but now it is time to rest, stash the beer and tequila and maybe eat a salad and a hamburger. I still have a jam today and a rehearsal with another band tomorrow so I’ll keep up with the music.

I think if I try this again next year I will need to revisit my high school Spanish starting with…. una mas cerveza, por favor!

Read about: