WONDERFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
by Gene Royer
April 8, 2003
Guadeloupe and Belinda Morales are first-generation American women whose parents arrived from Mexico years before either girl was born. Both attended Catholic school and then chose a technical college for their higher education. They are hard-working citizens whose attachment to the cultural heritage of their parents is only visible when they come home on weekends to visit. These are always joyous occasions--where Spanish once again becomes their first language, as they sit and chat with Mama, Papa and a house full of older siblings.
So it was for their father's upcoming 70th birthday that Loupe and Linda decided to do something special for the old man. They wanted it to be something he had never seen before and that he would remember for the rest of his years. After weeks of thought and negotiation with a local talent agency, they finally came up with the perfect birthday gift. They decided they would give their father a "Belly-Gram".
For $100 in advance--and the promise of another hundred upon completion--the young women contracted to have an "authentic" Turkish belly dancer come over on Saturday afternoon and perform for the gathering. The "Belly Gram"--as it was called--would culminate with the dancer leading the well-wishers in singing "Happy Birthday" to the family patriarch--as she did a risqué shimmy-shimmy around the room.
The girls knew their brothers and sisters would love it also; and they could hardly wait, as they briefly let their mother in on the secret and told her it was to be a surprise.
When the big day came, they drove over to make sure everything was in place in anticipation of the dancer's arrival. Imagine their shock when they came inside and found an old priest and two ancient nuns--who had taught them in their formative years--sitting amongst the family members. The girls were aghast.
At that moment, they looked out the window and saw the dancer--properly attired in a raincoat--just getting out of her Toyota at curbside. While Loupe kept everyone's attention, Linda dashed out to intercept the dancer. She slipped a hundred dollars into the young woman's hand, thanked her very much and sent her on her way.
Afterward, while everyone was enjoying cake and ice cream, the girls took their mother aside and asked her why in the world she had invited the priest and nuns. Mama told them she had thought it was a good idea because neither the nuns nor the priest had ever met Billy Graham.
©Copyright Gene Royer Houston TX 2003
© 2002 Tocqevillian Magazine