From the Virgin on the Pillar to Danny Kaye

Without even trying last night, we found Nuestra Virgen del Pilar in all her splendor. We were walking to dinner at Catalina when we began to hear another very good marching band. We sped in the direction of the music (well, I sped with my camera; San Geraldo sauntered) and reached the Iglesia Santa Ángela de la Cruz (Church of Saint Angela of the Cross).

A beautiful paso was rounding the corner toward the open front doors of the church. It was different from other floats we’ve seen. The Virgin and Child were smaller and elevated on a column. Yes, I know it’s the Virgin of the Pillar and therefore they’re mounted on a pillar (not a column), but I didn’t catch on right away. 

Click photo at left for a large (although not ideal) virgin vision.

We watched the float round the corner. There was a pause while the costaleros turned around beneath the paso. They then began to carefully take it in reverse (the float was in reverse, the costaleros were not) through the main doors of the church.

Mad Dogs and Englishman
We continued our walk to Catalina and had another perfect evening with a warm welcome, friendly and attentive service, and unbelievably good food. We began the evening sitting on the terrace (patio) near a couple with two dogs (they’re there often and the dogs have always been well-behaved). One of the dogs, Polo, had a high-pitched yap that for some reason this particular evening he was directing angrily at every passing stranger. It drove us a little crazy, so we moved to the other end of the patio and all was well.

On our way home a group of four guys in their 20s were loudly singing/slurring as they walked on the other side of the street slightly behind us. Although we see plenty of social drinking in Sevilla, it’s extremely rare for us to see a display of public intoxication. The four guys crossed to our side and we heard one solitary voice call out from about 15 feet away, “Hola!”

We turned, but he was having such a difficult time focusing we couldn’t tell if he was even looking in our direction. Everyone else on the street pointedly ignored these guys. He called out “Hola” two more times and we turned and waited. He approached us, although not very directly, and blurted, “Church?”

I said, “What church?” (We were standing right in front of the Church of Saint Angela of the Cross and had already passed one other on our brief walk.)

He tilted his head blankly in my general direction. “Church?” he repeated.

San Geraldo then asked, “Do you know the name of the church?”

He tilted his head in San Geraldo’s general direction.

I then asked, “What language do you speak? ¿Qué habla?

Another perplexed head tilt. One of his loud friends then reached us. In a very slurred English accent, he said, “Do you know where Hoe-stel Oh-A-sis is?”

San Geraldo asked, “Do you know the street it’s on?”

“No. But, it’s next to the church,” he announced proudly and then asked, “Where’s the church?”

There were churches visible in all directions, we pointed out. He smiled.

“You don’t know the name of the church or the street?” I asked.

“No,” he laughed, “I don’t know anything.” He smiled broadly, doffed an invisible hat, and staggered off to catch up with another friend careening down the street.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

29 thoughts on “From the Virgin on the Pillar to Danny Kaye”

    1. Stephen:
      That Danny Kaye was a real crowd pleaser…

      I was going to include the recording instead by Cole Porter, which is of course the original and brilliant. But Danny Kaye recorded it a little slower so we non-native English-speakers (i.e., Americans) could understand it!

  1. I was wondering how you were going to move from the virgin to Danny Kaye – but you did it with your usual style, grace, and fun. Thanks for the laugh! I was hoping those 4 drunkards weren't Americans.

  2. I love these photos. The world often feels like a mean place to me, and looking at your photos always makes me feel less that way. Thank you for that.

    I have a hard time too dealing with someone that can't hold their liquor. I'm told it's my Euro background, where like you're saying, it's just not common to even see. Whereas here in the US it's a passtime.
    I do however always have the patience for a dog, no matter how yappy.
    My family loves Danny Kaye. I hadn't realized how popular he was here in the US until very recently.

    1. Victor:
      I didn't know Danny Kaye had a big European following. I loved him. I love dogs, but sitting a table away from one that would suddenly start loud, high-pitched yapping was not our idea of a relaxing and quiet dinner. San Geraldo (although saintly in so many ways) has almost no patience for barking. He likes things peaceful.

      As for holding one's liquor. The problem with these guys was that they were not only trying to hold THEIR liquor, they were trying to hold everyone else's as well. I wonder how they were feeling this morning. I'm sure they're out right now doing it all over again!

  3. I am totally in awe of your life. Every time you go anywhere, you always run into a procession of some sort. That would be sort of a gas, I think. You could pretend that you were famous and it was for you!

    1. Maria:
      One evening when San Geraldo and I were out for a walk, we stumbled on a marching band and followed it for about a half hour. San Geraldo told me it was a small informal Procesión de San Geraldo. If it had been more formal, he would have been carried.

  4. I really hope that these parishioners get their 'just rewards' for all their efforts! It never stops there does it. It is like the church remained in the 40's and 50's and ignored Vatican2 completely. Or maybe they do know what they are doing.

  5. Well.. all my family and friends know by now that Bill & I will be living in Seville early next year… I keep telling them to check out your blog for what life's like there. Damn! Every time I read your latest blog I just can't believe that we'll actually see virgins, that fantastic architecture… those bridges… the galleries… and what the heck… drunk Englishmen in the noonday son. Hey… what more could a person ask for?

  6. If one has to run into drunks on the street, jolly Englishmen seems like the preferred variety. As for yapping dogs, I'm with San Geraldo on that that, the farther away, the better!

  7. Ive said it before: only in a Catholic country would one see such fabulousness. I think if something like this was shown around AZ the Protestants would use it as papacy nonsense AND another sign the 'illegals' are trying to warp socieity.

  8. I loved Danny Kaye in "The court jester" when I was a kid ("The vessel with the pestle has the pellet with the poison" etc) but I hate his version of "Mad dogs". His accent grates on me something rotten! I prefer Noel Coward's version:

    Apparently Coward grew sick of the song because he was asked for it so often, and as time went on speeded it up to get through it more quickly!

    1. Judith:
      I'm so glad you mentioned "The Court Jester." That song ("the vessel …") is one of my all-time favorites. I agree with you about the Noel Coward version being so much better. The only reason I used the Danny Kaye version was because he performed it more slowly and I thought it would be easier for my readers with "American ears" to follow the words. (I listened to the Noel Coward version at least five times yesterday!)

  9. And this is precisely why a gentleman should always go out on horseback when intending to drink. Horses rarely get drunk themselves, they have no problem with frequent stops in the hedgerow and they always know the way home.

    1. Owl Wood:
      It turns out the Hostel Oasis was right behind the next church (about a one-minute walk… 30 minutes for the drunken meanderers). Anyway, these were no gentleman; therefore no horse would have tolerated them.

  10. I know now for sure, on every street there's a church in Sevilla and/or Spain. Just like in Germany there's a pharmacy on every corner.

    Public intoxication is common in the centre of Amsterdam, in the suburbs you hardly see it.

    I do have fond memories of Catalina, the same goes for all the other places you took me to. Could do with another ice cream from Villar on Puerto de Carne.

  11. I just burst out laughing at the last comment from those poor drunkards….so funny! and re: doggies in restaurants….not my cuppa cuppa because you just never know when they will vocalize and then the stares start…so needless to say…we don't do it and don't incur the wrath of "you know who" winky wink! I really don't believe in causing a scene!

    1. Ron:
      Dogs are not supposed to be inside (although that rule is broken in some of the more casual places), but outside on terraces is OK. But, oh the barking. Sophie would be appalled.

Please share your thoughts...

%d bloggers like this: