I got an invitation to a party. This is no surprise; it’s December. There are lots of parties and I am blessed to be invited to many. When the host of this party asked me to stop by his office to pick up my invitation, I said, “Oh, but I’m so far away. Can you mail it to me?”
I could sense his impishness through the phone line, “Nope. You must come in to pick it up!”
That did it! He got me. I drove from Atenas to San Pedro the very next day – the suspense was killing me. I brought my entourage with me; my mother, my sister, Jacqui-Lin, who was visiting from California, and Bob, my trusty editor. I combined the visit with a consultation on my upcoming children’s book, “Toby to the Rescue!”
Efrén Molina, of Edinexo Publications, was throwing a party for his clients; and I am fortunate to be one! As I burst through the door of Maná Maná, the printing division of his company, we exchanged enthusiastic greetings, and his eyes sparkled as he handed me a small box that rattled like a maraca as he carried it across the room. Normally, when I visit Efrén, I burst through the door singing “Doot, doo, doo, doo, maná maná “(Muppet song), but this time I silently focused on the box. He led me to a table, offered a chair and stood back while I opened my invitation. Out of the box tumbled jigsaw pieces of a puzzle! My face brightened and then my expression turned to one of terror; OMG, I have to put this together while everyone in the group watches. Talk about pressure! O.K., it was only nine pieces, but still. Like I said, I’ve been to a lot of parties in my colorful life, but never have I seen a puzzle invitation. The very idea of it still makes me smile.
I was thrilled when Bob agreed to accompany me to the event which took place at the beautiful Mexican Institute of Culture at 7:00 p.m. on a Tuesday evening. An unaccompanied female out after dark in those shoes was probably not a great idea. I drove my little red car from Atenas to Pavas, left it in a safe place, found Bob at our meeting spot and we hopped in a taxi and made our way to the Mexican Cultural Center in San Pedro. Driving in San José proper is something I avoid at all costs. It’s crazy there most of the time with the narrow, one-way streets, large buses, and darting motorcycles; in December it’s impossible with street closures due to festivals and parades. Sometimes, the taxis can’t even get through – better to walk, even in those shoes.
I was taken aback as we walked into the party room. There was a display of books in the center of the room, a large screen on the wall flashing the works of the many authors who were being honored at the event. I must admit, I swelled with pride when my book, “It’s the Parsley!” flashed on the screen. I was humbled and deeply touched at the gesture as well as the accurate description of how the book came about.
Grateful for having been invited, Bob and I were warmly welcomed by the hosts, Efrén, and his co-worker Evelyn. In addition, the other guests, all Costa Rican writers, musicians, and singers also treated us in a friendly, gracious manner. Fortunately, Bob and I are both fluent in Spanish; nobody patronized us, they just spoke as though we belonged there – and we did. I beamed as I sat in the audience while being entertained by the musicians as the slide show on the side wall scrolled through all the books that were printed by Edinexo. Every time my book, “It’s the Parsley”, flashed by, I felt honored and humbled at the same time. To see my name up in lights was a gift. To be recognized in such a fashion is beyond words. And there’s more!
At the conclusion of the entertainment portion of the evening, Efrén came around with a fistful of printed cards; pick a card, any card. They were cards with bar-codes and numbers which coincided with the books on the display table. The game was to find which book your card matched and it would be your prize. What a fun ice-breaker, that was. We looked like bees in a hive searching for the right cell. I found my book relatively quickly and I saw Bob across the table searching and searching. I scampered over to add another set of eyes to his hunt. Within seconds, I found his book. I held it up and his jaw dropped! It was the very book he had recently edited for our friend and fellow writer, Michael Miller, “The Real San José“! He had passed it over numerous times in his quest. What are the odds? We laughed ourselves silly over that. But wait, there’s more!
At the conclusion of a delicious meal, trays of cupcakes were ceremoniously delivered to the center table. Efrén caught my eye, and there was that mischievous sparkle again. He beckoned me over to the table and presented me with my dessert; the cupcake had an edible image of my book adorning the top. I have been known to say “Ill eat my hat if …” but I never thought I would eat my book!
I am working away on my next book, “Flying High with Carole Jean” in hopes that next year I will have the opportunity to earn (and possibly eat) my wings! Put on your dancing shoes and party on!