The Angolan pastor of Our Lady of Fatima R.C. Church in Yonkers, NY calls Suzy and Ralph. They walk down the center aisle of the guilded church to our applause. The God-parents follow, carrying Viviana. The procession is so like a wedding. Even the baby’s batismal garment, with its bonnet, resembles a wedding dress. We applaud several more times, all at the priest’s urging. A simple Christening lasts as long as a mass. When the final applause dies, and the Christening ends, I dart out of the church. A short walk to the metered parking lot, and I move our car with only four minutes to spare.
prayers in Portugese and English between applause
We locate out table number in the grand lobby of the VIP club. Mira is so upset by our assignment that she hurls the ticket to the floor. The cocktail hour does little to improve her mood. Mediocre offerings of Italian faire leave us hungry inspite of our filled bellies. Even the cabernet sauvignon tastes too bitter. Fortunately, I have three glasses of the Portugese Dao to wash away any culinary discontent.
sunlit patio Long Island Sound just out of sight
The staff ushers us out of the lower level cocktail hour area and back upstairs to one of the ballrooms for differ. A DJ, stationed at the head of the dance floor, stands ready to start the party. A face-painter has a table and chairs along a wall for the kids. A child-friendly buffet of chicken fingers, hamburgers and french fries lies along a wall just beyond the bar, before the ballroom opens up. Our entire table orders the sirloin steak. Mine is a perfect medium rare, tender and juicy. Mira and I eat our dinner, then walk the deck that adjoins our ballroom, then return inside and dance. I urge Frankie to ask his second cousin Mea to dance, to no avail. Soon, coffee and dessert–served on the aforementioned deck–arrive. Stuffed and feeling fatigue, we say our goodbyes and depart around seven–survivors of Viviana’s Christening.
setting sun a centerpiece on our back seat