Azucar! My Husbands Love of Celia Cruz
Working for the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Protection Services, one of my most memorable moments, aside from meeting my wife, was the 150th anniversary. As part of the multiple celebrations, there was a concert that I was determined to work and secure the post that provided me with a direct view to the stage. As the performers began to arrive at the Smithsonian Castle, I had a chance encounter with the legendary Celia Cruz, her husband Pedro Knight and José Alberto, known as "el canario." We exchange pleasantries, Ms. Cruz asked where I was from and I was struck how much she reminded me of my grandmother and it was a night to remember.
In 1997, my wife and I attended the ceremony at the Smithsonian honoring Celia Cruz with a Lifetime Achievement Award; she appeared to remember our meeting at the 150th, once again creating a memorable moment.
The last time we saw Celia Cruz perform was at Constitution Hall in 2002; she brought the house down. I remember no one would leave, everyone kept clapping for more, she returned to the stage telling the crowd she was in the car when they convinced her to come back. She sang one more song, leaving us for more but content the night would be a part of us forever.
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