Tag Pete

Pete’s Big 50

Saipan can throw a party.

Pete got the full treatment on his birthday, he clearly married into the right family. They prepared from time Mary Ann called her sister Tina to tell her they were coming.  A huge roast pig, the whole haul from our night fishing, massive containers of rice, roast veggies, crab salads, perpetually refilling coolers of beer, four cakes and platters of sweet bread. Enough to feed and re-feed about 150 members of da familia. That’s not to mention the live music and the 35 Polynesian dancers.

It was a familiar site for most of the attendees. I asked PJ’s girlfriend, “have you ever been to a party this big before?”  “Oh, yes, there was a baptism.”

The Lieto’s had the party planning down to a fine science. Auntie Tina arrived at the pavilion gate before 8 A.M. to get started as soon as the gate was unlocked. She had trunkloads of flowers and palm leaves, some as big as tablecloths, to wire up and around the pavilion. The family was given specific instructions of what and how much food they would need to prepare for the night. Serving tables arrived, a bar was setup, food laid out, live flower leis were threaded, the loud-ass PA system was sound checked and everything was in perfect order when Pete arrived, right on time, at 6:30.

The party was almost indescribable. Partly because I was sitting close to the bar, but mostly because it was so enjoyable. After a particularly strong cheek full of betel nut (more later) I took a walk to the edge of the park and looked on at the whole scene from a distance. The pretty white pavilion lit up and loud with laughter and music for Pete, who may as well been another haole, but here he is family and deserved no less than the best birthday party I have ever been to.

By midnight the pig was wrecked, having been picked over twice, and there were nothing but empty plates, serving dishes and beer cans on the tables. As the singers packed up their equipment the rest of the clean up started and was over in less time than it took to say goodbye and plan for going out for a night dancing in Garapan.

Not a bad way to celebrate a milestone birthday is it?