More Things That Were Different For Christmas

o where did you spend those happy hours for Christmas and where will you go for the New Year? Will it be at Ramon's or Holiday Hotel with their annual treat for their guests and the young at heart revelers of San Pedro? Or will it be at Fido's, Playador, Iguanas, or some other popular spot in town? You know, 25 years ago, there were not many choices to make. The dance spots in town were only two. The dances were so arranged that they were social events for the whole town, almost choreographed.

The teenagers held their bash at Daddy's Club, now Big Daddy's. The married couples held their "Baile de los Casados" (dance for married couples only) at the home of Tio Dolito and later on at the home of Mr. Felipe Paz Sr. Each group had its musicians selected one month in advance with accordion and acoustic guitars and lots of percussion for tempo and rhythms. The dances commenced at eight p.m. on the dot and at exactly 11:30 p.m., they came to a halt so that all the party revelers could go to church for La Misa de Gallo or the Midnight mass. For the New Year's Eve dance the married couples had the tradition of going to the dance with regular evening clothing and no shoes. Then at midnight, they went home to dress up, put on their shoes and went to church with new clothing to symbolize the end of the old year and the commencement of the new one. After the mass, it was jump-up time once again!

Twenty five years ago, all young ladies had to be chaperoned to a dance by mother or father or some very close relative. Now for the New Year's Eve dance, moms wanted to go to their dance themselves, so many young ladies ended with out chaperons, or should we call them supervisors. So this was special for them in that they could go to the dance unsupervised for mom and dad would also be busy at their dance. Probably an aunt escorted the young ladies, but what good is an aunt in the cold of a December night, a few rum and cokes, and the desire to go to the dance herself?

So where were the children playing on Christmas day? At home trying to figure some television electronic game that Santa Claus ordered through the Internet. And where were the children playing 25 years ago. Those who got guns were in some yard with overgrown bushes hiding and playing cowboys and Indians. Others were simply in the middle of the streets playing with their yo-yos, slingshots, tops, or little toy cars and trucks and fire engines. Children were free to play in the middle of the streets as there was no traffic. No way could anyone play those little scooters as the streets were covered with sand five inches thick, or a green grassy area that was too bumpy for scooters and little tricycles.

Let's go to the "Posadas" once again. This was a religious tradition in which pilgrims went in procession re-enacting Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem looking for an inn. A group of pilgrims went down the street singing as children carried the statues of Mary and Joseph. Inside the homes there were another group of women singing. At first they denied entry claiming that there was no place in the inn. Then they opened the door to symbolize a place in the stable where Mary gave birth to Baby Jesus and placed him on a manger. At the end of this religious festival and prayer, the children were given candies, refreshments and light cake, so you can imagine how popular these "Posadas" were twenty five years ago.

Good old traditions of yester years. They had simplicity. They had innocence. They were fun-filled and very meaningful. Even the fistfights at the end of the dance were amusing, and never was there a gun or a knife pulled at anyone. It was all simple fun, which I would not mind re-living one more time. However, on this last week and final days of the year 2000, Happy New Year from Mr. Twenty Five Years Ago, and happy reading for the year 2001.

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