JFK’s Last Evening Spent In Awkward Company Of Mariachis

Houston Chronicle

November 21, 1963

Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas

Jackie and Jack, Lady Bird and LBJ attending a LULAC (League of United Latin-American Citizens ) function


Anyone else feel awkward when the mariachi band comes by? You smile and nod when they sidle up beside your table, but of course you can’t sing along. You don’t want to eat while they’re playing, or resume conversation with your guests because that would be rude, so you smile and wait it out. Should you tip? How would you even tip when their hands are full? I’m trying to eat Combo #4. Please move along. I’ll enjoy it more when you’re 10 feet away.

Aguilas de Oro playing at Los Agaves in South Charleston by Chris Dorst/Gazette-Mail

Where Sombreros Are Born

Ever wonder how it is that every full-service Mexican restaurant has ample sombreros to place upon each birthday patron’s head? Now you know.

Mexico City 1911, Underwood & Underwood
Mexico City 1911, Underwood & Underwood

These milliners are ankle deep in straw hats of different weaves. Do you own one, tucked into the back of your closet? No? Have you ever been the lucky sap beneath the hat at a Mexican restaurant? I have. At the place we patronize each Sunday after church, they chant a generic name to the birthday boy or girl. “Happy BIRTH-day, Panchito, Happy Birthday to you!” And then Panchito gets complimentary fried ice cream.


Snap, Snap, Mexican Hat Dance


Toro! Toro! Toro! Let me count the ways I so love this ad.  Okay, so this ad was in the back of the 1963 Comet, which I posted about earlier today.  But I could not just drop this in to the post because it possesses clear and present superiority.  It is the bomb.  It requires its own post.

I love the black mantilla.  Oh, yes, that’s a word for that black veil, which Spanish women wear during Holy Week in Seville, Spain during the week leading up to Easter, which is NEXT week, which means you can catch them live and in person if you so choose!  Snap!


Also, I like how the skinny white girl is doing her version of an air guitar, except playing air castanets.  Who would have even thunk to play air castanets?  Glorious.  Her undeniable skill, in combination with the mantilla and sexy red rose, playing off her innocence, is nearly enough to seduce Tim, the newest waiter.

BTW, Tim–that belt that your Aunt Marge sewed from a cast-off curtain sample does NOT look Spanish.  But it would work quite well on your Ali Baba Halloween costume come October.  But who cares?  You get free chips and salsa, so life is good.

Now let’s talk about Janice!  Janice and her look of disdain.


She can hardly keep that Saltine down.  Yeah, Saltines are SOOO Mexican.  I can’t help but think of Sophia Loren’s contemptuous scowl at Jayne Mansfield’s 42DD overflowy cup size.

sophia_and_jayneIt’s not like you’re cup doesn’t runneth over, either, Sophia.  Just be glad you’re still alive.  Poor Jayne never lived to do mediocre films like “Grumpy Old Men,” God bless her.  Get over it.

Anyway, back to Janice. Her hair is teased to high heaven, and her blouse is buttoned high, but I think we all know the truth.  You can sit there primly, holding that napkin over your nether regions, but we heard the rumors, Janice.  You think your blonde friend, Cindy, knows how to keep her trap shut?  Loose lips sink ships, Janice.  Cindy can’t be trusted.  But you just wait til the Mariachi Band shows up.  You’ll get yours.

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