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Inspiration: Memories of Guantanamera…

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“We do not remember days, we remember moments. The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten.” Cesare Pavese

Inspiration: Memories of Guantanamera... Havana - imagine the music and dad here...

Inspiration: Memories of Guantanamera... and of Cuban cigar days past... sitting in the sun

GuantanameraThe Sandpipers

I was in my living room reading when the song wafted onto the air from the radio… I stopped, looked up, and was immediately transported to a time back in my childhood days, many moons ago, when my father listened to this song. I could see my dad sitting on a recliner, feet elevated, a Cuban cigar in his right hand, a friend sitting to his left; laughter, humor, joyful conversation going back and forth as they discussed the merits of the cigar at hand and the power of a beautiful song.

Guantanamera…♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
Yo soy un hombre sincero
De donde crece la palma
Yo soy un hombre sincero
De donde crece la palma
Y antes de morirme quiero
Echar mis versos del alma

I’m an honest man
From where La Palma grows
I’m an honest man
From where La Palma grows
And before I die I want
To throw my soul verses.

Sometimes, my mom would join them… They would dance and tease each other about who could do the rumba, the salsa, the swing or whatever new dance they learned that month. It was all part of the dance of life and my dad loved it and his song. As I heard the song on the radio, I felt the warmth again of that time and wished it would reappear; just so I can revisit those sunny, carefree days again and perhaps ask my dad about the merits of his cigar… Guantanamera…♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” Kevin Arnold

Inspiration: Memories of Guantanamera... memory tirggers of days gone by...

Celia CruzGuantanamera

I remember it well, not just because it was one of my dad’s favorite songs, but because the haunting, sad melody always struck a chord in my heart and made me wonder about the beautiful world we inhabited that was filled with very sad and wounded people. Sometimes, my dad and his friends sat in silence and shook their heads sadly to the song…
Guantanamera…♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
Mi verso es de un verde claro
Y de un carmin encendido
Mi verso es de un verde claro
Y de un carmin encendido
Mi verso es un ciervo herido
Que busca en el monte amparo

My verse is of a light green
And of a burning carmine
My verse is of a light green
And of a burning carmine
My verse is a hurt deer
That seeks protection in the forest.

All of us hold memories deep in the recesses of our minds and then suddenly, a trigger appears and we are back in time, living in a frozen bubble that replays events that are complex, confused, beautiful and even sad… I remember singing along to the song and intuitively imagining it was about love; unrequited, complicated love. But I loved to dance to the song too, and I imagined my prince waiting in the wings, with me dressed in my red ball gown, covered in a haze of Cuban cigar smoke… What did I know of cancer then? I was a child, I was curious about the adult lives around me and what made them happy and sad. So when that song played, I danced… Guantanamera…♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

“We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.” Jeremy Irons

Inspiration: Memories of Guantanamera... old and new..

Guantanamera…♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
Con los pobres de la tierra
Quiero yo mi suerte echar
Con los pobres de la tierra
Quiero yo mi suerte echar
El arroyo de la sierra
Me complace mas que el mar

With the poor of the earth
I want to try my luck
With the poor of the earth
I want to try my luck
The mountain stream
Delights me more than the sea… Guantanamera…

As I listened to the song again, I was struck at how beautiful the lyrics were, the rhythm, the steady message, even after so many years. Back then, I loved it because it made my dad and his friends happy and playful… I loved it because it put a smile on my mother’s face and made her dance around the living room, floating along as the gramophone played the song again and again… and I loved it because it was a beautiful song that reminded me of a sunny, loving, uncomplicated time in my life. Guantanamera…♩ ♪ ♫ ♬  What are your thoughts? What memories do you hold dear? Have you had a memory trigger that took you back in time? Do share! Thank you. 🙂

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Write a review of a review of a movie or product.

Positive Motivation Tip: Memories bring us closer to ourselves and help us move closer to our dreams…

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos CallejonhabanaCaldera de Taburiente, Partagas culebras, Cuban woman and her cigar, via Wikipedia…
Lyrics from Lyrics Translate

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

28 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/09/2011 12:28 am

    I played it recently together with friends, interesting rhythm – inspiration to dance …

    • 11/09/2011 1:38 am

      That was great! It is a catchy tune and definitely a great song to dance to. 🙂

  2. 11/09/2011 12:34 am

    I love how the song brought you back to a special time with your parents and then you brought all those memories to share here. Your description is so vivid, I can picture it in my mind. You have the gift Elizabeth, to take us all with you in your time machine. Thanks.

    • 11/09/2011 1:40 am

      Thank you Karen, it was such a powerful memory trigger that I was actually quite surprised by the visions and images that came up… TY for the feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  3. 11/09/2011 6:18 am

    Spot on. Memories become our greatest riches.

    • 11/09/2011 12:02 pm

      TY Peter… the memory is a powerful thing… and it can just be triggered by something small and even innocuous… I do love that song… TY! 🙂

  4. Bree permalink
    11/09/2011 8:21 am

    What a beautiful post and full of rhythm and song. I could see the people and places you described and the love you shared.
    This is such a poignant and beautiful piece. Thanks for sharing the song. 🙂

    • 11/09/2011 12:04 pm

      TY Bree, it was so funny how it suddenly came up as that song wafted off the radio and I found myself back in the old country and smelling those strong Cuban cigars that my dad loved… TY! 🙂

  5. 11/09/2011 10:54 am

    Beautiful post. Memories are the windows to our soul, carrying us through till the end,filled with treasures of love,hope, and wonders.

    • 11/09/2011 12:09 pm

      TY Penny and I love your comment about memories being the window to our soul… TY so much for your feedback. 🙂

  6. 11/09/2011 12:01 pm

    Some great photos!

    • 11/09/2011 12:12 pm

      TY Tilly dearie… Yes, the pictures were very helpful in conveying the memories I was trying to share… 😉

  7. 11/09/2011 1:07 pm

    What a lovely memory, Eliz. Isn’t it something how music can transport you back into time? Love the quote: “We do not remember the days, we remember the moments.”

    • 11/09/2011 2:08 pm

      Yes, music is the best for jugging our memory and this was definitely one I was happy to revisit… TY! 🙂

  8. Goz permalink
    11/09/2011 1:40 pm

    That song…. An anthem of sorts of my childhood…for me, I heard it first while we lived in Palmgrove Estate… Balmy days of innocence, passed feeding the turtles, discovering our verdant neighborhood…buying Big Dip (chocolate coated vanilla ice lollipops) and Gala sausages from the mobile vendors… Lovely music… Funny, I’d almost forgotten Daddy smoked those cigars, yet they were such a part of him… So nostalgic

    • 11/09/2011 1:51 pm

      Hey Goz, Thanks for your memories of those days and yes, I remember Big Dip too… 🙂 Yes dad smoked those and if you remember, they were a big part of his persona… Clouds of Cuban cigar smoke swirling around… Nostalgic, definitely! TY! 🙂

  9. 11/09/2011 10:56 am

    Love the first quote ~ we do not remember days, we remember moments.
    Along the same lines, did you see this post yet?

    • 11/09/2011 12:11 pm

      Hi Nancy, yes that is a truly beautiful quote… I love it when I go looking for quotes and find the perfect one that speaks to what I am writing. Yes, I get Robyn’s blog and comment regularly. 🙂

  10. 11/09/2011 6:43 pm

    The scenes are different, the music is different, yet the concept is the same. Thank you for a lovely perspective on memories and where they take us.

    • 11/09/2011 9:11 pm

      TY Robyn and I get what you are saying…. We all have these memories, just a different time, place and event… Merci! 🙂

  11. 11/09/2011 7:32 pm

    Love the Jeremy Irons quote! This post almost (almost) made me want to light up a cigar.

    • 11/09/2011 9:10 pm

      Oh Freedom!!! You had me laughing out loud over your comment. 😆 TY 🙂

  12. 11/09/2011 10:53 pm

    Such a beautiful memory. I could see your parents laughing and teasing each other. There’s a lot of love and warmth there. And fabulous memories. Thanks for sharing.
    I think I learned Guantanamera in high school from our Spanish teacher. Still love it for it’s simple message.

    • 11/09/2011 11:38 pm

      TY Marcia! It brought back lots of fond memories from our family over a beautiful, and yes, a simple song… 🙂

  13. 14/09/2011 7:02 pm

    Oh Eliz it is such a hauntingly beautiful song and your memory makes it all the sweeter!

  14. 11/10/2012 6:11 am

    Those were truly gentler times.
    Great post! Like you, this opened the floodgates of memories.
    and like you, I have music to thank for this.

    • 11/10/2012 6:22 pm

      Isn’t that song so magical…? The memories were vivid and bittersweet. TY! 🙂

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