The Last Party

By Tom Rodriguez

1977: the holidays had come again
And with them came my parents’
Annual Pre-Christmas party
It was early evening
When I walked into my mother’s home
And I smiled as the 
Earthy aroma of tamales
Cooking in a steamer pot
Entered my nostrils

It was quiet in the house
Dad was at the grocery store
Mom and I walked into the living room
She sat in her favorite rocking chair
I sat on their old familiar worn sofa

The first to arrive were the brothers
With their wives and progeny’
Next came the 
Aunts and Uncles, cousins
Friends and neighbors
And soon the house was
Filled with noise and laughter

Mom smiled turning her head
From voice to voice
Her sight stolen long ago
By the curse of diabetes

She listened intently as the women
Talked about their lives
And their men talked sports
Then the food was served
Tamales hot off the stove
With sides of rice and beans
And cold beers to wash them down 

As the midnight hour neared
The grandkids rushed to 
Gather up Mom’s gifts
My mother opening her presents
Was something wonderful to behold
It didn’t matter what the gifts were
Or how much they may have cost
Pure joy lit her face
As she opened up each gift

Looking back, I know that’s why
So many people came year after year
Because being there made 
Everyone’s holidays more joyful

So how were we to know   
On that happy festive night in 1977
That there would 
Never be another party
In that blessed home of memories


My mother died on August 25, 1978
And with her passing 
We lost so much that we
Had come to cherish

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