Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Birthday to Remember

Saturday evening October 5th at 8:30pm marked the beginning of a two-day event Maribel had been both looking forward to and dreading. It was an occasion when friends and family from Chiclayo, Lima and elsewhere would come together to help her celebrate her birthday. That part she liked. The part she didn’t like was that the occasion marked her 50th birthday. Fortunately as of this writing she has made the mental transition (she doesn’t have to worry about a physical transition…she still looks like she’s 30) and we can look forward to another 10 years of peace until the dreaded 60th looms on the horizon.

Following weeks of planning the party began at the Perla de las Flores (Pearl of the Flowers) banquet hall. After most of the guests had arrived, as is the custom Maribel was formally presented to the guests; first by her son Brian and then by me. The remainder of the evening consisted of dancing, dinner, lots of conversation and laughter, and a clown for entertainment.

A wide variety of music for dancing was played, and Maribel danced with every man, woman and child who attended. At one point I found myself singing the words to the Bee Gees ‘Stayin alive’ and disco dancing with our family dentist. 

When the banquet hall closed its doors at 4:00am the party moved to a private home where the festivities continued to about 6:00am, when everybody agreed to go to their respective homes/hotel rooms for a few hours sleep. The celebration didn’t stop…it just paused while people recharged their batteries for the next phase.

The party reconvened on Sunday the 6th at1:00pm; the exact time and at the home where Maribel was delivered by a mid-wife 50 years ago. During the afternoon Maribel was surprised (so was I) and serenaded by a mariachi band that her friends and family had chipped in to hire. Following the entertainment there was dancing, and then a delicious lunch of heaping portions of fresh duck and rice, topped off by what seemed to be an infinite supply of birthday cake.

It was in the early evening, when the people from out of town began to leave to catch planes and busses that the party finally wound down. After helping with the clean-up the local people said their goodbyes and the celebration was officially over.

Though I am sure she doesn’t need them, Maribel has a ton of photos and gifts to help her remember this birthday. What I will remember most is how much my wife is loved, respected and appreciated by so many people. When I married Maribel, not only did I gain a great wife…I acquired a large number of quality friends and family, all of whom will be talking about this past weekend for some time to come.

Happy birthday Maribel!


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