Today we attended a Valentine's party put on by the Spanish Branch. I have been to many socials put on by these wonderful people. The food is always amazingly delicious. We get tamales, tacos, delicious soups, avocados, delicious authentic food. I always look forward to these dinners and socials. The people are always welcoming, they kiss you on the cheek, and sometimes on both cheeks. The children usually are running around like they are at a playground. Because I don't speak Spanish, I usually cannot understand what is being said, but that is OK because the noise is so loud, I couldn't hear anything anyway. But the love emanated at these events over rides the lack of understanding. We always go away feeling warm, and filled with love from and for these people.
Tonight was a different sort of celebration. It was put on by the Caucasian Branch President and his wife. It was their gift to the Branch. They put on an elegant dinner. The young women were in the nursery babysitting all the small children. So basically it was only couples. The tables were decorated with white table cloths. The center pieces were bouquets made of two cinnamon gummy hearts with a cookie in between on a skewer. These were in vases with real ferns surrounding the cookie flowers. There was a square shaped cellophane with printed hearts and pink and white M&M's scattered about. The salads were already placed at each setting with a pink napkin.
After the welcome and prayer, the salads & rolls were eaten and the main dishes were served by the young men of the Ward. The main dish was chicken cordon bleu, potatoes, and steamed vegetables, consisting of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Desert was ice cream with a strawberry sauce.
As we ate, one by one, different young men played the piano or a violin. We heard classical music coming from the hands of these wonderful young men! I was so amazed with their talent. One particularly talented young man was playing pieces he had composed himself. I learned that another Caucasian woman who serves in this ward as the Music leader is partially responsible for this. Besides leading the music in Primary (the children's Sunday School) she stays after the three-hour block on Sunday and teaches piano for another hour there in the church!
I remember one of the first socials that was put on by these enthusiastic people long ago. It was a Christmas party. Our roll was to be shadow leaders, but to help these people to do the real leadership. Different people were assigned to arrange the food, music, games and entertainment. The Branch President at that time had a son who was a disc jockey up north. He brought all his equipment down, which consisted of a huge semi-circle table filled with equipment, CD players and a huge array of CD's. The speakers stood 4' tall and were 3' by 3'. The sound that emanated from those speakers was literally felt in your bones.
I must remind the reader that this party was taking place in the Church building. There are certain standards set for parties held in the Church. The music cannot be loud, have a heavy beat, or have bad lyrics. The music that was at the beginning was Mexican bands and we felt as though we were in Mexico hearing the real thing. Maybe a little louder than a live band without any microphones. It was fun and put us into a Festive mood. We had refreshments, played a few games, and then the disc jockey began to play more music for the guests to dance to. Some traditional dances were taught. Some came in native costumes and performed as well. But then the guests began to dance. As the night progressed, the music regressed and pretty soon we were hearing loud non-Mexican bands and the music was more hard rock. I used the rest room for a minute and came back to sugar smoke pouring out of the cultural hall and down the hallway. This was done for effect. But it was not in keeping with the Church Standards. I was terrified that some higher authority would show up and we would be in terrific trouble, since we were the ones in charge of this shin-dig!
Thankfully the party finally ended without incident, the people went away happy, and the disc jockey danced with a beautiful young lady named Fabiola, and eventually they fell in love and got married. So it really ended well, but compared to the event we attended tonight, I feel that this little congregation of sweet people has come a LONG way from that first social that was held so many years ago.
Now we have been asked to teach English to any person who wants to learn it. This is a new program in the Church called the Daily Dose. We will meet twice a week, Sunday and Wednesday night for only about 20 minutes for one lesson. I am glad to be involved again with these sweet people.