The group arrives at the Rancho for dinner. It is a beautiful and rustic place that makes them feel right at home.
Maddie sat between Clayton and Patti, enjoying the beauty of the place. She felt as if she’d been transported back in time.
They made their meal choices and sipped their iced tea. As they chatted, pointing out items of interest to one another, a band dressed in typical Spanish mariachi band outfits, complete with wide sombreros, walked into the courtyard. There were four of them, two guitars, a huge acoustic bass guitar and a trumpet. A sparkle of notes on the steel twelve string caught their attention. The familiar opening strains of Black Magic Woman made them all smile.
Maddie couldn’t keep still. She clapped and sang with the band. Their waitress, Shelly, leaned over, speaking to Clayton.
“Would you like to dance, Maddie? Shelly said it’s okay.”
She hopped up, taking his hand. Daniel asked Patti, Richard paired up with Beverly and Brad asked Claire. Boys from the New Mexico group invited Jane and Denise to join them. Even the chaperones got up to dance.
The singer’s voice was familiar. Maddie stared at him a moment and realized it was Luis. Next to him, the wide brim of his hat shading his face, was Gabe. On trumpet, they saw Ted and playing bass, a man they didn’t know by name. They recognized him as one of the men who had been guarding them. The song progressed to the drum solo and the men parted ranks. Jose stepped forward, a set of bongos strapped to his chest. They backed him as he did an fabulous drum solo, dancing to the beat. All too soon, the song ended. The entire restaurant rose to their feet, applauding and cheering loudly. Gabe stepped forward, sweeping off his hat.
“We dedicate that song to our friends from Nebraska. Your friendship has meant so much to us, we wanted to see you smile.” His eyes lingered on Maddie. “We’re here for the next hour or so—basically, until they throw us out. I hope you enjoy the show.”
Their meals were served and the youth group members sat down to eat while the band played a variety of Spanish themed music. Their music ranged from Peter Green and Carlos Santana to Spanish flamenco and other folk music from Mexico and Spain.
Nearly two hours later, the restaurant neared closing. They announced their last number. Gabe stepped forward, his fingers dancing across the strings before he played the opening chords of a soft melody. His voice rose over the soft melody as the others gradually joined him singing the beautiful song by Van Morrison.
“…. Let your soul and spirit fly Into the Mystic….”
Clayton held out a hand to Maddie, asking her silently to dance. Nodding, she walked with him to the dance floor. He took her in his arms, holding her against his body. The others joined them and no one scolded them for dancing so close. Maddie rested her head on Clayton’s shoulder as they slow danced. She closed her eyes, feeling his arms around her, his hand pressing in the small of her back.