The Joy of a Group Sing-Along

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Poet Lewis MacAdams writes little tales about things he sees in his downtown Los Angeles neighborhood. In this one, he relates the joy he and his fellow diners feel when they all find themselves singing along to a song on the radio at Carmen's Cafe.


Back now with Day to Day, and another one of our Close to Home tales from poet Lewis MacAdams. He lives in downtown Los Angeles, and he writes short stories about what he observes there. This one is about one of his favorite hangouts.

Mr. LEWIS MACADAMS (Poet, Los Angeles Resident): I like Carmen's Cafe, because I like Carmen. She was born on a farm in rural Oklahoma. But her family moved back to Mexico when she was eight so she speaks Spanglish with an oaky twang. Since I started coming around here in the late afternoons, I've admired the green neon coffee cup, and the blue neon saucer that hangs just outside Carmen's front door. I have a theory that most downtown businesses are here to serve people who have very limited shopping minutes.

The new downtown cafe is catered to a clientele who has more time to sit and check their emails, than the people do who frequent old downtown places like Carmen's. If she knows you, she will sell you a single cigarette for a quarter. Carmen and her daughter, both have thick blond hair. They both look great in pedal-pushers. Their shop is so narrow, you can stand in the middle of the floor and touch both walls. I was waiting for my Frapucchino one day, when four people entered the store behind me, filling it. A man, and a woman, and their two daughters, both with twinkling pink lights around their ankles, and sneakers with wheels on their heels, all speaking Spanish. Usually, Carmen listens to syrupy Spanish ballads on her boom box, but that day she was listening to classic rock. When the Seals and Croft hit, "Summer Breeze", came on, everybody in the store sang along with the chorus in English.

(Soundbite of song "Summer Breeze")

SEALS AND CROFT: (Singing) Summer Breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

Mr. MACADAMS: Nobody was self-conscious in the least. I paid for my coffee and left. There are so many moving pieces, I said to myself, walking East on 6th. And even when you put the puzzle together, it doesn't make sense. It's definitely better to know where you are going, but sometimes all you know is that you've got to go, and you are gone.

That's poet Lewis MacAdams. You can find more of his Close to Home stories at our website, that's

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