About a week ago Mary and I heard someone calling at our door. We went downstairs and found Lolita and Veronica with a special invitation for us.
Veronica manages the apartments around us and Lolita works with her maintaining the apartments and hotel rooms.
The invitation was extremely formal (like many wedding invitations) and we were thrilled to open it up to see this:
It seems that our neighbor, Abigail is turning fifteen.
For most of us in North America that is not such a big deal, but in Spanish cultures turning fifteen is a big day for young women. The event is called, “quinceañera” and marks the young girl’s advancement into young womanhood. It is a big deal and to be invited to the celebration is a special honor!
Then Veronica (speaking for a shy Lolita – Abigail’s mother) said that Abigail specifically requested that I sing at her reception because she and her family thought I had a beautiful voice.
In the words of a by-gone era – “Be still my heart!”
Mary and I were both honored to be invited and I was doubly honored to have a fifteen year old girl ask for me to sing! Abigail (pronounced – Ah-bee-Gah-eel) looks absolutely stunning in her invitation picture!
More will be forthcoming about the grand gala, but this is a slice of life post of a different sort.
Mary and I have turned into real beach bums! When we prepared to travel to the USA last July I had to dig deep into my drawers to find long pants! So when we received an invitation to a formal event, Mary and I both had to pull out long forgotten clothes from deep in the closets.
We both found suitable clothing, but I had to find shoes (other than the sandals I normally wear) suitable for the occasion. I found my old dress shoes sequestered under layers of sweatshirts and long pants. The only problem was that nearly four years of non-use had not been kind to these shoes.
I am sorry that I did not think to take, “before” pictures. But trust me – these shoes were shriveled up and salt deposits were caked everywhere. The insoles had shriveled up into a tight U-shaped form and the luster would not have passed any military inspection – not even Air Force. (that is an aside for my oldest son)
Anyway – the slice of life side of this is that I loaded those salt encrusted, shriveled in-soled, dull, un-shined shoes into a backpack this morning and headed over to San Jacinto. I got to the shoe repair shop operated by a friend named Jose at about 9:40 and learned that Jose normally opens at (around – mas o menos) ten. I ran a few more errands and returned at 9:55.
At around 10:10 Jose arrived smiling and singing as usual. He opened up his shop and took my mangled shoes to task .
I enjoyed his happy company as he worked first to remove and re-glue the curled up insoles, dyed the exposed sole areas, cleaned and re-dyed the shoes and then applied polish to the old shoes before he worked away with brush trying to restore some luster to the old shoes.
By the clock – Jose worked smiling and laughing all the while for just over forty-five minutes to turn my shriveled up old shoes into this:
I knew Jose was fair, but even after living here for almost four years, even I was surprised to hear that Jose wanted the outrageous price of…
for his work!
I hope I do not dazzle too many eyes tonight wearing my newly refurbished shoes!
Just for the record – I paid him two dollars and told him what I had paid for much less service in New York and Chicago.
Service with a smile from happy people here where…
Life is good in Ecuador!