Birthday Party and Mananitas at Midnight


Today was a happy day on our street.
Petra’s grandson,
Whose family lives with her,
Turned two years old today.


By 6:30pm there were about 75 people at the house
This is only the first round of people though.
Besides having a huge family anyway,
Every kid in the neighborhood
Who is under 17 years old was there
The little ones were running around crazy
Eating hot dogs with pickled chilis,
White bean soup and apple soda.

Elvia, whose husband died two weeks ago
Was there with her five children
Looking worn out, but calm and happy
Hugging her children a lot

There were two pinatas,
Which two year olds
Haven’t quite figured out how to hit yet.
But no matter, lots of bigger children
Are ready and waiting to grab the stick
And start swinging
Before everyone is out of the way.

The house is decorated with balloons and streamers
Which look great against the pink walls.
Maricela painted them last July,
Before her health turned for the worst.
Everyone remembers this and talks about it today.


Besides Kevin,
There are about twenty other kids
Under the age of four
Whom all the young girls
Love to grab and hug.
(Kevin and his cousin Frida)

The birthday cake is for 100 people
The cutting of it
includes a ritual
Of making Kevin put his face in it,
Which maked everyone laugh.
This of course, is in the aftermath
Of not sharing germs because of the flu.
Nobody cares.
There are cups of colorful gelatin chunks
In milky pink and yellow jello.
These look fantastic,
But I can’t bring myself to eat it.


All of the kids want their pictures taken
They are just happy
To see the picture immediately
In the camera preview
And keep asking for more.

We have been watching Ariel,
On the left,

Grow up for five years now,
He’s nine and has finally quit making monster faces
For every picture.
The boy next to him, is the grandson,
The spitting image of our neighbor Eutimio,
Of the barking dog stories,
Whose lecture to us on patience
Has actually worked.


Kevin’s mom Barbara handed out Tigger masks
Which brought on another round of photos.
Even  the pre-teen girls,
Who would not let me photograph them earlier,
Said okay when they had the masks on.


These pink walls are great backdrops
For photographs
Though I can’t quite figure out
How with the same settings,
Same light,
Not a minute apart
The walls can vary so much in color
From one picture to another.


The birds were singing  away
In their rustic painted cages
Decorated with balloons and streamers.


Petra, who has been incredibly sad
About all the deaths in her family
This last month,
Was having a pretty darn good time
Wearing her mask
Teasing the kids
Ordering people to do things,
While insisting
That she won’t make tamales to sell
on mother’s day.


Speaking of mother’s day,
I left the party about 8:30pm
Came home and crawled in bed
Only to be woken up at midnight
By Petra’s sons, daughters, grandchildren
With a group of guitarists
Banging on my door,
Clapping and chanting ‘Suzan!’ ‘Suzan!’ ‘Suzan!’
Until I opened my upstairs window on the street
To them singing las mananitas
Followed by several other songs,
To all the mothers on the street.
As you’ll hear, the kids
Are having as much fun
As the adults.

Here are four videos I took,
In the dark, but the songs are great

I hung over the balcony
Watching them bang every door on the street
That had mothers  inside
To sing to them also.

Here’s the photo slideshow of Kevin’s party

Kevin’s Birthday Party

1 thought on “Birthday Party and Mananitas at Midnight”

  • Suzanne,
    I have a suggestion for you. Make some water based jello in many different flavors and cut the jello into cubes. Put them in individual glass bowls and then cover them with Rompope to fill in the cracks. It tastes heavenly and the brandy in the Rompope kills the germs 🙂

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