20 October 2010
My Dad’s 50th Birthday
On the day of my dad’s fiftieth birthday celebration, my brother and I were delivering a poem about Dad. Standing on chairs in front of all the guests, we joked that “Dad is so jealous he wishes that he was as handsome as us when he was an adolescent.” Everyone luckily including Dad laughed. That often repeated statement among our family and friends will stay imbedded in my mind until I write the poem for his sixtieth birthday! This party was a typical Arabic celebration. Over fifth people came to celebrate my dad’s entry into “old age!” Most of them brought their Arabic traditions with them to the party. For example, there is always Arabic music blaring which makes people want to get up and dance the Dabke, an ethnic dance in which people hold hands and snake around the backyard. Wine flowed freely throughout the night which contributed to the craziness. As the evening progressed, there were speeches, dancing, and eating, especially the cake which was a two layered masterpiece of chocolate and raspberry.
The most fun thing about the evening was the poem that my older brother and I wrote about our dad. We were inspired by our cousin who always wrote poems and speeches on special occasions. We even borrowed some of his more memorable line and elaborated on them. We delivered the poem in both English and Arabic, which is the language we all speak around the house. Interestingly, all the guests spoke both languages so they got our jokes. As I was reading the poem out loud, I periodically looked at the people and realized that the majority of the participants were adults. I felt as if I were in a political debate because of my youth in the presence of these “ancient ones”. Their magnanimity of mind facilitated the flow of the party by adding to the speech and applauding and laughing when necessary. Whenever I go/have gone to a party, it has always been the adults who...