Two lovely daughters, Dezi and Trisha threw a big bash to celebrate the midpoint of their mother, Marichu’s, seventh decade. Fondly called Chuty, her 75th birthday party at Maggiano’s in Bridgewater Commons was well attended by family and friends from former hometown, a tiny little island once paradise in the southernmost part of the Philippines. Most of those in the party were from Jolo and due to circumstances not of their doing, have now spread out to various parts of the world.
At 12:00 noon on December 20th, the private room for the Barrera Birthday Party promptly filled up.
Chuty’s sister, Suzette drove in from Massachusetts with husband Jim, and sons, Sam and Scott. Despite the beards Sam and Scott maintained in an attempt to look mature, their boyish goods looks belied the fact that these millenial professionals have finished college, are in the active workforce and most importantly, unattached. The air and snow in Massachusetts must be the secret to their looks.
Food rolled in and didn’t stop until the party ended with take home boxes — crispy zucchini fritte slices fried to perfection with lemon aioli, calamari fritte, chopped salad, beef medallions pizzaiola over garlic mashed potatoes, parmagiano crusted mahi-mahi with asparagus, country style pasta, baked rigatoni with meatballs with smoked Italian cheese, braised vegetables were just some of the platters that kept coming from the kitchen.
Between bites from varied selections of fruits and pastries on the sweet table, Suzette gamely led the singing of Christmas carols in English, Tagalog, Spanish and our native Tausog, some bawdy, rhyming with Jingle Bells. To our amazement, Scott and Sean surprised everyone with their command of Filipino songs and it turned out they participate in the Philippine Rondalla in Wilmington. The guitar switched back and forth from Scott to Luis, Errol’s brother. Jinnat, visiting from Saudi Arabia sang O Holy Night, which earned kudos from Errol. A salute to Jolo, where regardless of belief, festivities were celebrated by all, intertwined by friendship. The tireless waiter assigned to the room, Raffaele added a new twist to the Spanish carol, Feliz Navidad.
A slideshow of group pictures, they may look very similar but in some, the cast of characters changes . . .
Sated, merry and happy, well provided with take out boxes and bags by Maggiano, with mwahs and hugs, we went our way with promises to keep in touch.