Today is Tia Gloria's birthday.
She is, technically, Carlos' aunt, but she has been an aunt to me ever since I met her almost ten years ago. I had flown to Miami to meet Carlos face-to-face, and, while he had to work a few days during my trip, Tia Gloria took me around Miami. We ate at La Carreta, one of he favorite places, we drove to Homestead, we took an airboat ride through the Everglades. She took me to lunch at The Breakers in Palm Beach, and she ordered a Kamikaze.
I liked her instantly.
One of my favorite Tia stories was when I was visiting Miami, and Carlos and seven, yes, seven, cats. One of them, a bitch of a Calico called Spunky, was dubbed "The Mean One," and one day, as I headed downstairs for breakfast I met Spunky on the stairs and scooped her up, and upside down, into my arms. When I entered the dining room Tia Gloria came out of the kitchen, saw me with Spunky, and exclaimed, "Charlie! Look! He has The Monster!"
Tia retired and moved back to Mexico City but we still have emails and phone calls and pictures and visits. I love to sit back and watch her and her friend Luz Maria cooking in the kitchen; like a well-oiled machine. And the food? Oy! Fantastic.
So, I'll take a moment to wish my friend, my drinking buddy, my Miami tour guide, my Tia, a Feliz Cumpleaños!