For the celebratory buffet to follow the big event, Miss Bethany Chester modified her classic “Crazy Shellz N Cheez Cazzerole”. Instead of pasta shells she substituted elbow macaroni and loaded the cheesy dish with jalapenos and salsa. Voila! Miss Bethany’s "Macareni Madness Casserole" was born.
Practically all of Cedartown gathered to witness (and participate in) the WGAA Macarenathon 1996. At least five hundred people, yours truly included, were assembled in that old cow pasture to dance the Macarena for as long as it took to get Cedartown into the record books. We were also gathered to witness the hopeful conclusion of the infamous Chester family feud.
Which pregnant Chester daughter would out-dance the other and earn the right to name her son Chester DuBois Chester the Fifteenth?
I spied over my right shoulder, three people deep, the sisters were standing side by side in matching tangerine outfits. Their bulbous bellies were held aloft by fanny packs stuffed with water bottles and granola bars. The Chester suspense (and the smell of cow patties) was killing everyone assembled.
Cookie and Caitlyn Chester stood nervously side by side. They felt everyone’s eyes on them. The sisters tried best they could to ignore the attention and focus on the nameless fetuses nestled in their tummies. Nonetheless they fidgeted in their sterling white Reeboks stuffed with swollen ankles and neon socks. Their anxiety was soon forgotten as people began to point and cheer. A wave of star-struck wonder washed over the assembled dancers. The event hostess slowly hovered into the air above the crowd, held aloft in the repair box of Cedartown’s sole public utility truck.
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, had arrived!
“Helloooo you devilish dancers! Are you ready to Macarena my mummies?” Elvira purred into a megaphone and pressed her bosom against the steel bars of the utility box.
My brother and I were absolutely thrilled that Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, was hosting the WGAA Macarenathon 1996. We were longtime fans of her late night horror show, Movie Macabre, on channel 14. Her 1988 feature film only cemented her awesomeness in our minds.
But many of the more Christianly townspeople thought her inclusion in this event was demonic and pornographic. About ten percent of the assembled dancers (mostly society ladies) held aloft signs declaring Elvira (real name Cassandra Peterson) a witch and harlot. Despite the controversy they still showed up to dance. Ole Chester DuBois Chester preened like a celebrity himself. His wheelchair placed for optimum views of daughters’ progress and Elvira’s fishnets from beneath her perch.
“Alright fiends. Let’s murder this Macarena!” Elvira jiggled seductively (her utility cage jiggled frighteningly) and everyone cheered. A wall of speakers thumped with the familiar music of El Macarena. Finally it was time to dance.
First set of 4: Extend Right Arm straight out, palm down on count 1.
Cookie gave her younger sister a look of defiance and began to dance.
Extend Left Arm straight out, palm down on count 2.
Caitlyn returned the stare and mimicked the motions precisely.
Rotate Right Hand (palm up) on count 3.
Cookie smiled and moved her arms outward as a reporter from the Cedartown Standard edged into the mob for a photo of the competing sisters.
Rotate Left Hand (palm up) on count 4.
Caitlyn passively nudged her sister to the right. Cookie cursed (but kept smiling) as her new sneakers mashed a cow patty missed by the event organizers.
Next set of 4: Touch Right Hand to the top of your left shoulder on count 1.
Cookie was already breaking a sweat going into the second hour of the dance, but she knew her baby’s future rested on her persistence. Caitlyn had assumed this would be an easy win. She stepped up her zeal and gleefully wailed, “Hey Macarena!”
Touch Left Hand to the top of your right shoulder on count 2.
An official from Guinness World Records milled about the perimeter of the dancers. He officially numbered off dancers with a hand counter. A second official announced the three hour mark as the dance continued on and on and on. . .
Touch Right Hand to the back of your head on count 3.
Elivra, Mistress of the Dark, repeated the moves above the crowd. She moved vigorously. The carriage which supported her shook vigorously from side to side as she danced.
Touch Left Hand to the back of your head on count 4.
Caitlyn willed her legs to continue moving. She relied on her training as a Cedartown High School cheerleader to push her through the pain of stiff joints and aching calves.
Chester DuBois Chester stole sips from his silver flask. He giggled and salivated at the littlest glance of the Mistress of the Dark’s black satin panties.
Next set of 4: Touch Right Hand to the left side of your ribs on count 1.
Cookie’s competitive spirit would not be undone! Her baby would get the family name. The fourth hour was announced and a renewed strength invigorated her body. “Dance, dance, dance!” Cookie began chanting to herself.
Touch Left Hand to the right side of your ribs on count 2.
Elvira’s heels hurt her feet. She questioned the choices she had made in life which brought her to this moment, doing the Macarena atop an old electric company truck in front an assembled town of rednecks and Christian protesters.
Move Right Hand to your right tush on count 3.
Suddenly, a gush of warm water soaked Caitlyn’s legs and ankles! She looked down in horror! She had dropped her water bottle.
Move Left Hand to your left tush on count 4.
An official announced the fourth hour had been achieved. Only thirty more minutes and Cedartown would win the title of largest and longest Macarena in the world! Considering the popularity of the Macarena at the time, I still can’t believe a mere five hundred dancers and four and a half hours was all it took to win an international record.
Next set: Swing once to the right on count 1.
More and more exhausted dancers began to stagger from the crowd. The organizers frantically asked everyone to keep dancing. Only fifteen minutes remained before Cedartown made history. Even my own resolve was fading as the cursed music continued to play.
Swing once to the left on count 2.
Cookie barely moved. She shuffled and repeated the moves and stared blankly at the ground. Caitlyn did the same. Miss Bethany watched from near the buffet table. She appeared worried for her daughters.
(Well, all except her second eldest Marjory. She had gone home within fifteen minutes of the event to instead catch a rerun of Matlock. So very dull.)
Swing once more to the right on count 3.
Only five minutes remained! The entire town cheered and joined in the Macarena madness. A renewed vigor cleansed the dancers of their prior fatigue! Elvira danced and jiggled. From his pervert’s post Ole Cripple Chester panted and laughed like a hyena.
Turn 90-degrees to the right on count 4 and repeat from the beginning.
All of Cedartown’s dancers and spectators began chanting a count down to the four and a half hour mark. Ten. The din was so loud no one heard the creak and groan of the twisting metal until it was much too late. Nine. Hands, originally raised to the Heaven in celebration of the Macarena, became pointing fingers. Eight. Smiles became stilted gasps of horror. Seven. All eyes turned to the carriage holding Elvira. Six. It slowly unhinged itself from its metal arm and began a slow, almost snowflake like, descent to the Earth. Ole Crippled Chester looked straight upwards and promptly kussed.
When I was much younger, my grandparents often took my brother and I to Callaway Gardens in middle Georgia. It was a sprawling botanical complex used for weddings and picnics, lovely, lush, verdant. They had a mock Japanese garden among the various sculpted paths and lawns. There was a little pond hidden among the carefully raked pebble paths and serene shrubbery.
This coy pond was not so calming. It was an angry aquatic pit of brightly hued fishes snapping at one another for the tiniest morsel of kibble sacrificed to those hundreds of whiskered, watery mouths. The coy pond terrified me. I imagined drowning in it, being eaten alive by the jostling Japanese fish.
The resulting bedlam of Elvira’s terrible tumble made the coy pond tranquil by comparison: jostling hillbillies, screaming society ladies, hands and elbows everywhere. Cookie, Caitlyn, the stupid Chester name, nothing mattered as my brother and I led our mother to safety. Finally when the confusion died down, all eyes turned towards the spot where Elvira had landed.
She was standing with the help of a paramedic. The Mistress of the Dark had a bump on her head, but otherwise seemed ok. The utility box she’d been dancing in was crumpled on one side and rested next to Chester DuBois Chester the Fourteenth’s wheelchair.
Miraculously, still in his chair, sat Chester. He was alive. He was white as a ghost. He’d peed his pants. Otherwise, the old coot was ok.
The Chester daughters resolved their conflict shortly following the potential tragedy. They recognized the absurdity of their argument and agreed that whoever had the first son would get the fifteenth Chester DuBois Chester and whoever had the latter delivery would name him the sixteenth Chester DuBois Chester. The fifteenth was eventually born to youngest daughter Caityn and the sixteenth was born to eldest daughter Cookie.
Miss Bethany published a cookbook of small town recipes featuring her Macareni Madness Casserole along with an autographed photo of a bandaged Elvira enjoying the now famous pasta dish.
Following his fourth near death experience, Chester finally changed his ornery ways and became a model of civility. He died from liver failure related to his longtime alcoholism a year later.
Cedartown never won the Macarena World Record. We failed by four seconds.