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Thursday, December 28, 2006Christmas
As I write this out the memory of Christmas day ’06 seems kind of blurry but still clear enough that the imprint of it remains in my heart. The evening was something else. It was filled with a traditional Boriqua culinary feast, booze, fantastic music, dancing, singing, booze, Aunt Nora’s butter cookies, booze, mom’s chocolate mousse cake, booze, friends, more family, Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, booze, congratulatory phone calls , booze. Around 2:30 am with Nora’s encouragement I decided to serenade the crowd at the top of my lungs with Nancy Ajram’s E7sas Gedeed. I had no idea I even knew the song. I guess I memorized it after hearing it played so much while shopping with Nora a few days before. Oh yeah after that there was more booze, more of me singing lord knows what, and booze…did I mention there was booze?
The day started out sunny and unseasonably warm (61 degrees). As usual there were so many gifts under the tree it spilled several feet away from the tree on each side. It never ceases to amaze me how my parents manage to keep all those gifts a secret from us. As the morning slipped into afternoon the house started jumping. Dinner was being served at 6 pm but people had started arriving at noon, every now and then my mom would mutter, “I said Christmas dinner not Christmas Lunch!” only to have my dad dissolve into a fit of giggles. Why he found that so funny remained a mystery to the rest of us.
Dinner was fantastic! My parents out did themselves. The guests went back for seconds a few even had thirds. Shortly after the birthday cake was served Cousin Mahmoud winked at me gave a toast in my honor and gave the signal for us to get our drink on. It’s become something of a tradition for him and I to get a lil’ tipsy on my birthday. He sat on one side of the table with a bottle of Hennessey close enough to the stereo to control the music. The music was a mixture of Arabic and salsa. His choice of drink was Hennessey straight up. Mine was Smirnoff Sour Apple Vodka with sprite. The bottle had been a gift from my uncle Chino. The sour apple sprite thingy tasted like apple cider. Beware of drinks like that they have a habit of sneaking up on you! Aunt Nora’s mom Lila preferred my dad’s coquito (Boriqua egg nog). Life at that moment was beyond good it was nirvana. Surrounded by the most important people in my life I could sense the love in the room.
The conversations in the room flowed easily we talked of politics, education, friendship, love and in between there was a lot of laughter. We also discovered something new that when I am outrageously drunk I become trilingual. My conversations started out in English at some point switched over to Spanish and then into Arabic. Usually I am kind of self-conscious about my pitiful Arabic but rumor has it that lubricated by the sour apple vodka I became quite proficient. Mahmoud and Nora were quite proud.
This is the song I was singing….
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