El Tiki-tiki – v. to harp on a subject over and over and then resort to guilt until your victim succumbs to your wishes. Mami: "You have to have a party for your Tia before she leaves." Me: "Umm. . . what with the holidays, it’s been a little busy. I don’t know if I can do it." Mami (issuing a big, heavy theatrical sigh): "Fine. It’s not really that important, she’s only 91 and visiting from Cuba. We’ll have lots of other times to celebrate." Although seemingly innocuous, "el tiki-tiki" is more effective if it’s been used repeatedly for years, making the victim more susceptible to acquiesce quickly.
Celebrating. It’s what we Cubans do best. (Besides "el tiki-tiki", but that’s not important right now. =D)
My visiting aunt, whom we call Tia, turned 91 on December 24th and well, wow, it just slipped right by unnoticed. My mom happened to mention it just last week. . . about 50 times – with the announcement that she was going to go to Miami to celebrate her 94th birthday – this was a slightly veiled hint that we were such birthday celebration slackers, that she needed to leave the state to get a proper celebration. (Technically, here is where "el tiki-tiki" started, but again, not important right now.)
A few phone calls to my sisters, catered sandwiches, balloons, flowers, and a cake – add some Cubans and voila! Insta-party! Let’s surprise them and make it a double celebration! Great idea, until it occurred to us, right at the moment when we were yelling "surprise" at the two nonagenarians and they clutched their chests, that perhaps surprising these two wasn’t really such a great idea. 😉
I’m happy to report that they survived the surprise. They loved that it was a joint celebration.
They loved that between them we were celebrating 185 years. They laughed. They cried. Success.
Although I’m pretty sure that the cake with the 185 candles could be seen from space. =D