By and by Mrs.
Edna Potter, the Recreation Leader, briefed the caravaners on what was planned,
funwise, for the next day: a three-hour bus tour, a visit to a winery, a soccer
game, a folklore ballet, a welcoming visit by the city fathers. Then she
introduced the Sing-Along Chairman, a retired major with a magnificent set of
muttonchop sideburns and considerable schmaltz ("He asked to be on the
Parking Committee," a caravan aide said, "but we thought he would fit
into this slot better"). Under the major's direction all the hoarse tenors
and cracked sopranos began to belt out such favorites as Moonlight Bay,
Clementine, Home on the Range. "If you sing like that," complimented
the major, "I know we are going to be a happy group."
It was a nice
scene. Certainly it was an innocent and harmless one. Considering what these
caravaners have been through, one way or another, at one time or another, to
get where they are, to create the Way of Life they have, there is something
genuinely cheerful about all of these old souls sitting under a Carta Blanca
beer sign on a cool night in the middle of a parking lot in Monterrey, Mexico
singing Let Me Call You Sweetheart.