Before my legendary karaoke performances, one of the first songs that I ever sang for a big crowd of people was “La Bamba.” Literally a day or two after I arrived for the start of my sophomore year in college, I got a pretty hard-hitting case of mono, with some acute symptoms that sent me right back home to Pittsburgh for two weeks. A week after I returned, my dad’s family was having a reunion party to celebrate my grandmother’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Having missed a substantial bit of school (and still feeling a little miserable), I didn’t especially want to go, but I went anyway. As the party rolled on, the DJ was playing some tunes and when “La Bamba” came on, I just grabbed the mic and did my thing, rehashing the old days of elementary school chorus. Grandma loved it so much that when we were on vacation at the Outer Banks in 2010, I got her to come out and join us younger folks at karaoke on the promise that I would reprise my “La Bamba” performance from 14 years earlier. Sure enough, that’s what I did, and it was just as big a hit the second time around.