Answering the Call Chapter 7

The Party

Mrs. Taylor came out of the room to oohs and aahs. “How do you like my penguin pants?” she asked her amazed audience.

Her “penguin pants” were shimmery white pants that ballooned out and came down to her ankles. The bottom of the pants were trimmed with silver sequins. She also wore a white blouse with very wide sleeves. The blouse was trimmed with silver thread. Over it all she wore a long blue vest reaching close to the floor. The vest was embroidered in silver with pictures of birds and flowers. Her hair done up on top of her head in curls completed the fantastic look.

“I love the pants!” Rebecca piped up. “Is everyone going to be dressed like you?”

“Not everyone. Only the women will dress this fancy. The men just wear regular clothes but try and look nice. The married women will wear some sort of get up like this one, but they are all different. The unmarried girls won’t wear them. They won’t receive an outfit like this until they are getting married themselves.”

“I can’t wait to see what everyone else looks like,” Joshua whispered to his sister. “Is it time to go?” he questioned the group.

“It’s about time,” Mr. Taylor answered. “And don’t worry, you all will look just fine in your regular clothes. People wear what they have. They know you don’t have clothes like these.”

Rebecca noticed Mrs. Taylor slip on special sandals while they were leaving the house. They were covered in blue sequins. Mr. Taylor pushed the stroller this time while the gang walked to the party. Rebecca thought it was funny to see someone dressed up so fancy walking through rocky, muddy streets.

The children noticed more and more people. Some were dressed like Mrs. Taylor. “They must be going where we’re headed,” they thought and gave each other sideways glances.

The group turned the corner and saw a mass of people standing around two huge speakers which towered above them. Between the two speakers was a band of teenagers playing drums, keyboards and guitars. One held a microphone and sang in Romani.

“Here we are,” Mr. Taylor told the group. “It’s going to be louder when we get to the other side of those speakers. It will be hard to talk to each other. Any questions before we go over there?”

“Yeah, what do we do?” Joshua asked with wide eyes.

“Just stay together.” Mr. Taylor told him with an encouraging smile. “Here we go!”

The troupe walked in single file past the crowds of onlookers. It was certainly loud on the other side of the speakers! Rebecca couldn’t help but hold her ears. Grandma Kay took hold of one of her elbows. Grandpa Joe held onto Joshua. Mrs. Taylor came and gestured to Grandma Kay with her head to come with her. She nodded and the three ladies walked out into the middle of the street to join the other women already dancing.

The dance was a long line of women and girls holding hands. They walked in a certain rythym: forward, backward, side to side. Rebecca couldn’t get the hang of it and kept stepping on Mrs. Taylor’s feet and bumping into Grandma Kay. Everyone smiled at her though.

There were other girls in the circle. Some were younger than Rebecca. Two of them wore dresses that looked like little wedding gowns. There was one older girl in a real white wedding gown.

Mr. Taylor and the other men and boys stood off to the side and watched. Mr. Taylor yelled in Joshua’s ear to tell him the girl in the wedding dress was the girl who was engaged. She was 18 years old and met her husband-to-be just this past week.

After awhile Grandma Kay and Rebecca joined the boys for a break. Mrs. Taylor eventually joined them, after almost two hours. The music stopped after about three hours of playing without a break.

“Is the party over?” Rebecca asked Mrs. Taylor. “Everyone is leaving.”

“No, that was just part one. Now we eat!” Mrs. Taylor answered and rubbed Rebecca’s back. “The people are just going home to change their clothes. They will be back. The women will change into evening gowns. I’m going to change too. Let’s head home.”

An hour later the Taylors and their American guests were back on the same street with the band and other guests. There were now long wooden tables set up in the street. Mrs. Taylor was wearing a dress she had used as a bridesmaid in her brother’s wedding several years before.

Rebecca and Joshua had gotten more used to the loud music by now. They sat next to each other at one of the tables. Grandpa Joe and Grandma Kay sat on either side of them. Grandma Kay poured drinks for the kids. On each table were bottles of soda pop. The children didn’t recognize any of the bottle labels. Their soda was yellow. They later learned it was pear flavored.

Soon waiters brought out plates of food. The plates had salad made of thinly shredded cabbage and sliced cucumber, beef that looked like sausage, and a scoop of beef stew next to mashed potatoes. Rebecca liked the salad. Joshua liked the stew. Neither were too sure about “the meat sticks” which is what they called them. The next day they learned they were called kebaps.

A man with a microphone went around to each table and person by person collected the gift of money offered to the bride-to-be. The man took the money and then announced over the speakers who the person was and how much money he gave. The children couldn’t believe it!

The children went home with their grandparents before the cake was served. It was after ten at night; they were tired. The party ended with more dancing and finished after midnight. Rebecca and Joshua were long asleep before then.

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