Happy Birthday Papi!
My father would have turned 78 today.
I remember we used to always make a big deal of his birthday, because as I've said before my father would make up excuses to have people over to eat and drink - so when there was an actual reason like a birthday he was all over it. My mother and I were never big on parties for ourselves, so he was forced to focus on his own.
I specifically remember one year we celebrated his birthday with a cheese and wine party - at the time they had not come back into style yet, so it was a retro 70s thing. As a theme he picked wines and cheeses from Spain. In case you didn't know there are a lot of different types of Spanish cheese! And happily just as many types of wine.
He went all out - he researched different cheeses online before there was Wikipedia or Google to simplify things, he contacted restaurants and wineries and then drove all over the Greater Miami area looking for the different cheeses and wines. We wound up having quite a selection. We got these little tooth-picky sign things so we could label the different types of cheese and indicate the region they were from. He printed out pairing information and details about the cheese and wine areas and then put them in those report binders (wine-colored of course) with the clear covers so everyone could take one home. The whole decor was wine themed - I'm telling you he was totally into this - in short, he had a blast.
Old friends and family were invited, around 30 people showed up. The Cuban music was playing and the Spanish wine flowing. Everyone had a great time comparing the different cheeses, picking their favorites, figuring out the best pairings, etc. His friends still talk about that party.
In fact, years later on the day of his funeral, one of his friends brought the binder he had been given at the party. He said he had kept it because of all the great information it provided and that he still referred to it and annotated it whenever he heard of a new Spanish wine. Papi must've have loved that as he watched the last and biggest party given in his honor.
¡Feliz cumpleaños Papi! I hope you're having a phenomenal party with Mami and all the friends that have joined you.
I love you and I still miss you every day.