Alina Quinones

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Heny Lafont & El Casanova – Su show favorito – 1985

IT’S SHOWTIME! –

Parking my car in the Parador Villa Parguera parking lot, I lock it and head in to the hotel. I walk all the way through the lobby and down the hallway to a door deep inside the building and away from guests. It’s been awhile since I have been here, but my hand turns the familiar knob of the dark, heavy door and as I push it open, I smell almonds.

I pass down a short hallway, past a wedding picture on the wall of my uncle and his wife into a small living room with two flower sofas, a simple rocking chair and the television. A tiny round table sits near the sofa where my grandmother sets rare flowers for special occasions or when it’s empty, we rest our feet on it.

It’s six o’ clock, and my grandparents are still awake. My grandfather rocks in his rocking chair as he watches his favorite Spanish soap opera. Why my grandfather watches soap operas, the world will never know.

“Hola, Beba!” He says when he sees me. His arms wrap around my shoulders as I kiss him on the cheek. I turn towards my grandmother, who is standing in the kitchen/dining room.  She greets me with a tired smile, but gives me a nice, big hug that squeezes the air out of me. It makes me grin. When she lets go, she offers me food, but having eaten already, I decline.

Although my grandfather’s hotel is big, his home is tiny and there’s not much to do there except visit. As we talk, my eyes glance at random family pictures scattered around the house; some on the fridge, most on the television, or hanging on the wall. It took a while to run out of things to talk about. Then I wandered into my grandfather’s office, where my brother had hidden his Nintendo Wii and occupied myself for a while.

My grandfather’s office is full of pictures that represent a pride second only to his family, his show.  Not only is he a lawyer and owns this Lajas hotel, he is also the host of “Showtime” a music and comedy show he has produced and performed in every Saturday for thirty years in now in the Salon Bahia of the hotel.  It’s been his joy for years, and many of my family members work at the show, or in the hotel. Looking through the old pictures, I find one of his standing with a white-haired man.

It was odd, because I had never seen him before, neither at the show, nor the hotel. He was funny looking, and my grandfather looked very happy in the picture.  So, I decided to ask him about it. I returned into the living room. “Papa, who is the man in this picture next to you?” I ask handing him the picture. I see a smile slide across his lips. He turned off the television with the remote control and explained, “This man is El Casanova. He and I used to work together for a television series called ‘Su show favorito.’”

Su show favorito?” I felt my eyes light up. I quickly sat next to him eagerly awaiting a story. “That means you were television star?”

My grandfather chuckled. “You could say so. We were hosts of that show,” he said as he rocked back and forth in his chair. “This happened around the 80’s, but you weren’t born yet. Casanova and I would go to San Juan to host this show, and it was pretty popular. I’m surprised your mother hasn’t told you about this. She would sometimes go with me along with your aunts and uncle. Oh, and Mama would go too.”

Mama was my grandmother, and as soon as she overheard the story, she scooted next to me. “Yes, it was quite unfortunate when I had to go.”

“What do you mean by ‘unfortunate?’” My grandfather asked, scratching his head. “It was fun!”

“It was embarrassing!” My grandmother cried, placing her hands on her waist. “Don’t you remember the times when we stopped at strangers’ houses? They treated you like a king! The Great Henry Lafont!”

At that moment, I looked at my grandfather and questioned her last statement. “Strangers? What?”

“Oh, that,” my grandfather said with a tone of amusement, a smile still on his face. “From time to time I wanted to see how I did in the show, so I stopped by a stranger’s house to watch the show. They would serve us food sometimes.”

“That’s…incredible,” I said, almost to myself. “You must have been great.” Looking at the picture, I asked: “But what about Casanova? Where is he now? Why isn’t he with you at the show?”

My grandfather, upon hearing this, let out a chuckle. “He quit before me, and with the popularity we had earned a lot of money. He retired on it and moved to Miami. As for me, I decided to stay here and keep on doing what I like to do, which is the show.

My grandfather is an admirable man and a person I hold close to my heart. He is strong, determined, a hard worker and charismatic. Many people adore him, and I find no wonder as to why.

 

Su show favorito – Promo – 1985 

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