Astromante (astromante) wrote,

A Day at Casa Adela

Every Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, my mother in New York, Adela, sells special treats like pasteles (a Puerto Rican style dish similar to a tamal) and pastelillos (turnovers filled with beef, shrimp, or chicken), as well as her usual delicious dishes like rice with pigeon peas, mofongo and pernil during the Loisaida Festival on Avenue C. My job every year is to sit by the soft drink refrigerator from morning to evening, to make sure all soda sales are accounted for. I also have to stir huge vats of piña colada mix that Maritza, Adela's daughter-in-law, prepares. Once stirred, I patiently ladle the mix into smaller containers that then go next to the industrial-size blender.

It was all in a day's work, and I had fun. Abel, a new waiter, was like a flamboyant stand up comedian (he is an ex-Chacón dancer). You can see him in the photos wearing an Adidas track suit in black and white.

In the morning, Adela and I sat next to each other and had pasteles for breakfast. She made me a special turnover with bacalao a la vizcaína...delicious!

Kats came to visit at midday and ate lunch. I was so happy to see him!

As the day wore on, someone started reciting poetry spontaneously. The poet sat next to a lady that clapped and they talked for hours. He wrote some stuff down on a napkin and forgot it on the table, I realized later it was a spell for changing the luck of a house. They drew the curtains partially closed because the sun was glaring in. I felt the atmosphere get laden with passion, with all the songs of unrequited love and obsession playing on the radio. Abel kept talking of how tired he was and how he had had no meals during the day. I told him to eat because there was a lull. But he went into the kitchen and ate nothing...just kept going on. He would tell the customers that he was the only one waiting tables, to have patience...that he would spit his heart out of his chest if he could for them, but since of course he couldn't, to please have patience.

Exhausted, I went back to The Ranch at about 8:30 p.m. Adela had asked me if she owed me anything. As always, I said, of course not...


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