17 July 2009
La Negra Noche
The continuation ... What no one told me
By the time I met him, Robert Coogan weighed in at well over 300 pounds which I'm sure contributed to his early death. His looks were very similar to his brother Jackie as Uncle Fester. This man did not go for long periods of time (anything over an hour) without eating. In addition, he seriously believed in "wine, women and song" as a way of life. The ride back to Los Angeles was notable simply for the number of stops at favorite restaurants and the amount of food and drink placed on the table.
The first stop was the wonderful restaurant of the Rosarita Beach Hotel where he had been coming since his youth. The history of the hotel is fascinating if you click on the link above. Since it was early in the afternoon, the place was virtually empty, but they knew Mr. Coogan as well as they knew all the other stars that had dined there. The chef came out, the waiters surrounded, the musicians gathered ... all ready for a flood of stories, music, and the order of mountains of food so that he could taste everything.
As the fresh steamed mussels and a light wine arrived, he ordered up "La Negra" with an expansive wave of his hand. This started my love affair with a beautiful type of Spanish music: The Boleros. The video below is the song that was sung and played for me that day before they launched into the more joyful Ranchero style. A friend was kind enough to provide an English translation.
There were several stops following this "lunch" and I have to admit I don't remember the last half hour except for a drive through place to pick up chocolate malts. Needless to say once I waved goodby to a truly delightful and kind man and poured myself inside my apartment, Montezuma was decidedly revenged. At least I got home safely with a wonderful song to remember.
The black night extended it's reach
assuring darkness, the light (of day) died,
and in the darkness of my sad soul
you burst like a star.
Have I illuminated the deep wound
from where this crazy illusion, comes.
Give me just one hope,
because of you my heart follows.
When in the night
the dawn is born,
and in the gardens
the flower is born
like that my adored child
my love was born.
I see that behind the window,
you assume the body of
an engaging angel
I feel the myth.
inside of my soul,
there is no darkness
there is no darkness anymore,
the light has come out.