Marcus D. Acosta Rivera

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Another Christmas Party

It’s 5:00 pm and Martha looks at the clock hanging on the kitchen wall right by the microwave. She runs to the shower as she realizes that she’s late for the Christmas party over in Titi Isabelitas house. As she gets in the car and tells my sister Veronica and me “Get in the car or we’re gonna miss it!” she remembers she’s forgotten the Coquito so she yells yet again “Daniel, buscate el coquito que se me quedo encima de aquella cosa allí.” Dodging the cars in the street she speeds to get to her aunt’s Christmas party on time.

As we get out of our cars, she’s greeted with the smell of  lechón a la bara, and pasteles, and empanadas de yuca rellenas conpollo, y un arroz con gandules. She savors that moment, inhaling the entire fragrance of that combination of foods. Immediately her stress is relieved. She’s there and the food isn’t gone, at least not yet.

Titi  Isabelita runs outside to give us hugs and kisses and then asks why we’re there so early. It seems Mom forgot about the Puerto Rican timing once again and sped half way across the island so we could be at the party as everyone was arriving. Her aunt says “No worries I need you to help me set up the food anyways. Thank God you’re here”

An hour later, Tio German arrives his scent of rum and cigars is proof that he’s well. “Where’s the food?” He yells as he walks slowly around greeting his family. He looks at the pork roasting and yells again “The tail is mine!”

Papa Hector, my grandfather tunes the radio station in to his usual Christmas radio show. He’s not able to be present at the party because of his famous radio show but he gives us a hell of a party as he plays his special Christmas playlist that is full of plena and bomba music.

I don’t know about everybody else. But to me, this particular annual event describes my Puerto Rican Roots. Being Puerto Rican for me is closely and necessarily related to Christmas. It is the time when families gather and eat all the great foods that make us Puerto Rican. Then we sing and dance and drink the night away. Those are my Puerto Rican roots.

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