Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain

El músico My dad used to take his guitar everywhere he went. Well, it seemed that way. When we went to Mass on Sunday morning, he’d take his bass. If there was a birthday party for a family member or some compadres’ kid we’d pack along a gift and the guitar. Camping? Beach trip? Picnic at the park? Pre-school graduation? The guitar was there.

I never saw him take it to work, but then again I was fast asleep when he left around 6 or 7 a.m.

I loved listening to my dad play and sing. The songs were always in English and Spanish. Some were seasonal, others strictly for kids, and some with more grown up themes of love and loss. One of the songs I loved most was “Rhythm of the Falling Rain” by the Cascades.

Aside from nursery songs, I’m pretty sure “Rhythm of the Falling Rain” is the first song I learned in English. The lyrics puzzled me. I didn’t understand how a girl could have stolen the poor guy’s heart. I didn’t know what it meant that he would “cry in vain.” I didn’t even know what vain meant, but that didn’t matter.

All that mattered was that my dad was singing one of my favorite songs.

7 thoughts on “Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain

  1. emc

    One of my recollections growing up was that of my mother singing “I want to hold your hand,” and thinking, ‘Wait a minute, my mom doesn’t know English, how does she know this song?’ one minute, then thinking, ‘Wait, I like this song,’ the next. Musica es amor, y el amor no tiene lenguaje.

    Did your father ever play any Los Lobos songs?

    Reply
  2. Joel (DCNats)

    When I was a teenager, one of our middle aged neighbors (who was the most boring guy you can imagine) brought over a guitar for a BBQ or somehting and he started playing all these REM songs and from that point on he was the coolest middle aged I’d ever met… there is power in the guitar!

    Reply
  3. Coco

    my father taught me the love of “good” music…
    growing up he would play classical, boleros, big band music, and some mariachi. he tried teaching me how to play various musical instruments- but i just couldn’t learn. he also tried teaching me to sing- he then told me i couldn’t recognize “notes”, bring up sound from my diaphram (huh?), or hold a note!! he gave up on me- unfortunately, i’m not musically inclined!! my father was a “MUSICIAN”- played the guitar, violin, bass (ALL string instruments) piano, trumpet, horn, saxophone, clarinet, and accordian. yo nada! sólo toco las puertas!!

    cuidate!

    Reply
  4. kitti

    some of my earliest memories involve my dad and his guitar. we sang together even when i couldn’t hold a note to save my life, and one christmas when i was in high school i was given the handmade guitar that for so long was an unattainable object of desire (i was not allowed to touch it for years). to this day i love to take the harmony in certain songs i listen to because it brings me back to that connection. he doesn’t play that much anymore but i harrass him about it and when i was home for christmas we got him to break out the guitar at a family party.. he was reluctant at first and kept grumbling about a cold but within five minutes he had a grin on his face that was just priceless. the memories keep happening. (thank sony for the video recording feature on this camera..)

    Reply
  5. cad

    That is an awesome story Cindy! You know, it’s those gifts that people give with their God given talents that always mean a lot more to people. They create long life memories!

    Reply
  6. cindylu Post author

    Jeff,
    Have you seen Selena? There’s a scene in the movie where Edward James Olmos playing Abraham Quintanilla tries to teach his little girl to sing the bolero, El Reloj. When I first saw that, I thought immediately of how my father taught me what the lyrics to Mexican songs meant. Very sweet memories.

    EMC,
    Oh, my dad, his friends and my uncles loved the Beatles. I think that was the other group we’d sing all the time. “I want to hold your hand” and “Do you want to know a secret?” were staples around the campfire. I think the little romantic in me requested them.

    I don’t think my dad ever played any Los Lobos songs. He did, however, buy the La Bamba soundtrack and that’s how I was introduced to the group.

    Joel,
    This is most definitely true. My dad wasn’t boring, but his guitar always makes him more popular.

    Coco,
    I think it’s great your father tried to pass on his knowledge and love for great music to you. Too bad you didn’t inherit the innate talent. Tocando puertas sounds fine… hehe.

    Kitti,
    The handmade guitar sounds like a beautiful gift. I never learned to play, but my brothers both know how to play some guitar. I have a story to share from my Mexico trip about my dad singing on his cousin’s guitar with a dozen of his cousins and all their children. His voice was gone, but he didn’t even have to sing because everyone filled in. Those were great memories… and damn my camera for having a low battery. I only got photos.

    CAD,
    Thanks. My parents taught us that we have a God given talent and that we must share it. My dad made sure to share his, and I’m definitely thankful for that.

    Reply

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