Someone once said to me, "Dance as if no one is watching."

Well, today I danced as if the entire world was watching. And if only Fox News had shown up, they could well have been.

This morning I dropped Alexandra at school at the busiest intersection in Hollywood. Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue. As we pulled up I noticed some protesters marching in front of Mc Donald's. I had just told her she would have to take the bus home from school when she reminded me that the busses were still out on strike.

This was not welcomed information.

So I said, "I can't believe it. The entire damn city is out on strike. The actors are out, the bus drivers are out, why even Mc Donald's seems to be on strike."

Then Alex pointed out that the Screen Actors Guild Logo was on the picket signs. So I said, "Oh Wow! We should support our guild. Come on... Do you want to miss first period and join the picket line with me?"

I asked her this, knowing how much she hated calculus.

"Uh, no Mom this party's all yours. Just leave the number of your bail bonds person on my cell phone." She replied as she scurried out of the car faster than I have ever seen her move in her entire 16 years on this planet.

I am proud of the fact that she is always so politically correct. “Bail bonds person”… How cute is that?

I eased the nose of “The Green Hornet”, my old, dented, Balmoral green pick up truck, with the dream catcher hanging from the rear view mirror, into a parking space at Mc Donald's, then casually slid out of the car and sauntered over to where the protesters were marching in circles.

Get this picture. I am wearing a skirt which resembles the American flag. Stars and Stripes forever baby! And I mean forever and ever and ever! A hair-pipe jacket with fringed deerskin epaulets and buffalo nickel buttons. My hair is plaited into long, thick, black braids with feather braid ties fastened to the ends, making them appear to be even longer than their usual 30 inches. I am decked out in all kinds of Indian jewelry, beaded moccasins and a peyote shawl. I look as if I have just escaped from "Dances With Wolves”, but it is just my normal every day garb. I really do dress like this every day.

Alexandra is always terrified I might, for some reason, have to get out of the truck in front of her peers! Sometimes I do it just to get on her nerves. Frequently she tries to buy me a “Little Sally Homemaker” style dress, but I will have none of it. The other day she said to me, "Mom, do you realise that all of your clothes look like costumes?"

I see nothing wrong with this, so I let it slide.


Now I am in the thick of the protesters. People wandering around eating do-nuts and discussing their last movie role. I find the person most likely to be in charge and tell him I would like to picket with them. They seem a little skeptical but once I show them my dog-earred S.A.G card they acquiesce. After all, we are out on strike and they need bodies, and here is one hell of a striking body standing right smack in front of them.

They never bargained for what they got!

After a rousing chorus or two of "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night" written about the legendary hero of the radical labor movement, and sung a cappella by yours truly “Little Miss Tone Deaf”, I found the only picket signs left were signs which were printed in Spanish, so as everyone else was marching and shouting in cadence there I was, as usual marching to the beat of a different drum. Like some ghost child dancing to the heartbeat drum, there was I, at 7:30 in the morning at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue, in the heart of Hollywood across the street from my own mother's alma mater; the most famous high school in the world, Hollywood High, and now the “home away from home” of my painfully, politically correct teen-aged daughter.

As the yell leader shouted through his megaphone,
- "What do we want?"
And the picketers responded,
-"Fair Pay."
-"When do we want it?"
-"NOW!"
I, in reply to, "What do we want?"
Was shouting,
-"Pago Justo."
-"When do we want it?"
-"¡Ahora!" ( fair pay.. now... in Spanish)

I must have looked like the American Girl doll known as Josephina because everyone thought I was Mexican. (Hispanic-American in Alex-speak). I am a Native American woman whose ancestors are from the North Western part of the United States.

Eventually this guy comes up and asks me for my green card! So I said, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours," in my best Spanish accent. Which goes something like this, "I'll cho ju mine if ju cho me jours!" I wasn't given a S.A.G. card for nothing. Boy Howdy!

All this time I picture my poor child inside the classroom hearing me shouting, "Pago Whosto Ah ORA" (phonetically) and wanting to crawl under her desk.

It had been pretty quiet up until this time but now we have all these Hispanic truck drivers circling the block and blowin' their horns and whistling as they drive by.

I turned it into what could have been a media circus. But alas I had to meet friends for lunch so I sadly turned in my picket sign said, "Adios amigos" to everyone and hit the trail!

We settled the strike about a month later. We had been out for over six months.

I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night
A poem by Alfred Hayes, set to music by Earl Robinson.

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you or me
Says I, "But Joe, you're ten years dead,"
"I never died," says he
"I never died," says he
"In Salt Lake, Joe," says I to him,
Him standing by my bed,
"They framed you on a murder charge,"
Says Joe, "But I ain't dead,"
Says Joe, "But I ain't dead."
"The copper bosses killed you, Joe,
They shot you, Joe," says I.
"Takes more than guns to kill a man,"
Says Joe, "I didn't die,"
Says Joe, "I didn't die."
And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Joe says, "What they forgot to kill
Went on to organize,
Went on to organize."
"Joe Hill ain't dead," he says to me,
"Joe Hill ain't never died.
Where working men are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side,
Joe Hill is at their side."
"From San Diego up to Maine,
In every mine and mill,
Where workers strike and organize,"
Says he, "You'll find Joe Hill,"
Says he, "You'll find Joe Hill."
I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you or me
Says I, "But Joe, you're ten years dead,"
"I never died," says he
"I never died," says he

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Hill
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Hayes_(writer)

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