My Grandfather’s 70th Birthday Party

Enjoying the Party
Abuelo Sotero enjoying the Party

After our mini-vacation to Naples, we went to Hialeah, Fl for my grandfather’s 70th birthday party.  I wrote in May about wanting to capture photos of my grandfather at his birthday party.  I was definitely able to do that.

The Entrance to Pavilion Four
The Sign for Our Section of the Park

We got to the party way before my grandfather (it was a surprise party) so we could help set up.

Cigar and Hat Party Favors
The table decorations

Cassandra swinging at Dan's Pitch
Cassandra playing baseball

While we waited for him to arrive, the kids played baseball. It was very fun to see them playing because the equipment was just so large for their tiny frames. I took some time to try and capture some of that fun childhood innocence.

Brothers Playing Baseball
Kenny and Alex playing baseball
Arriving, but not yet Comprehending
As he approached, he had no idea the party was for him. Here he still hadn't quite figured it out.
Realizes the Party is in His Honor
Finally figuring it out, he turns to my grandmother who was in on the plans

Kenny Goes to Welcome Abuelo
Kenny runs up to greet him

Returning the Hug
And is enthusiastically received

Overwhelmed by Everyone at the Party
The emotions begin to overwhelm.

Hugging Cousin
Hugs began between family and friends

Dan and Abuelo
Dan's most dominant genes come from his grandfather. They look almost exactly alike in photos of our grandfather when he was a kid.

Lighting Up
A very common sight with my grandfather

Dancing with his Wife 1
My grandmother and grandfather dance

Dancing with his Wife 3
And dance…

Dan Video Taping Near My Dad
Dan was using my fuji camera to film the proceedings since my dad's video camera was busted

Raul and Amy Dancing is not a reason to Interrupt the Smoking
My uncle Raul and his wife, Amy dancing

Enjoying the Punto Cubano 1
My grandfather enjoying the Punto Cubano – a form of Cuban freestyle singing about the guest of honor commonplace in the countryside.

Enjoying the Punto Cubano 2
Another portrait enjoying the party

One of the Punto Cubano Poets
One of the Punto Cubano Poets

The Other Punto Cubano Poet
The other Punto Cubano Poet

Here is the, admittedly lo-fi, recording my brother made of the Punto Cubano. Be forewarned if you know Spanish, there are some dirty jokes here so determine whether or not your kids or bosses should hear this.

Punto Cubano for Sotero Mesa from djotaku on Vimeo.

A Cuban Party isn't a Party without a game of Dominoes
No Cuban party would be complete without a game of dominoes

Taking a Puff
Contemplating his next move

I was so happy that I attended this party.  I got to catch up with family members I hadn’t spoken with in ages.  I got tons of photos of my family, especially my grandfather.  And it was great to be there to see my grandfather’s face when he realized the party was for him.  I think that moment will be with me for a long time.

Scrambling the Dominoes for the Next Game
Shuffling the dominoes