25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE BY ANGEL NUÑEZ
Funny Side of “Serenatas”
Previously we enjoyed the romantic side of the “serenatas” or serenades. It was certainly a macho thing as only men took serenades to the girl of their dreams. However, as romantic as it was, serenades had their funny side.
There were parents who were not pleased with the young lad or perhaps with the group of serenaders, so while the group sang at the girl’s window or under the verandah the ‘wicked witch’ mother would dash the chamber pot, or better yet, the urine bucket at the party revelers. Oh that was mean and I am so glad our group never experienced one of those incidents.
It was also funny or strange when there were two guys in the same group wanting to sing to the same girl. In our group of serenatas we had a rule of thumb, and it was that anybody who wanted to sing to his girl, or any girl for that matter, he had to buy a bottle of booze which inspired the guitar player and the singers to be at their best for the serenade.
You cannot talk about serenades without mentioning the art of stealing chickens, or perhaps I should call it barrowing chickens. At three in the morning, these guys got hungry and there being no restaurants, someone in the group would skillfully enter the chicken coup and help himself to one or two chickens. I say barrow and not steal because most of the time the following day they would go and tell the owners and even pay for the chicken.
I guess the chicken thieves didn’t consider it stealing but rather a prank. The chicken would then be cooked at someone’s home or at a fishing boat, which was equipped with cooking equipment. I know of one such fellow who loved to serenade and he had the record of barrowing over fifty chickens, about two dozens roosters, five ducks and several pigeons.
It is interesting to note which girl a guy used to serenade to and whether the guy eventually got married to the same girl. In my group of friends who were constant with almost weekly serenades, there was Felipe Ancona, Roberto Bradley, the late Adolfo Ayuso, Manuel Heredia, Joe Alamilla, Fidel Ancona, Nando Trejo and myself. Of these romantic guys I believe only two of them got married to the same girl they used to serenade to. Sorry I can’t name whom they used to sing to, but the young ladies (now grandmothers) remember.
Ask me if I miss the serenatas and I will tell you no, because I had my dose of them and I got enough. Just after I got married, I sold my guitar, so that nobody would bother me any more to go out to serenade. I had to change my lifestyle. However, I am nostalgic that the serenade tradition has died. I guess we must admit that the teenagers of today are not as romantic as the teens living 25 years ago.