Back in 1993, I took a trip with my dad to East Los Angeles for a fourth of July party. As it was, one of the guys my dad worked with was having a huge blowout. The guy’s son lived next door to him and they knocked down the dividing wall to open up a huge backyard.
The guy tried for weeks to get my dad to come, but my dad kept saying he was busy. Finally, he pulled out the big guns and said the party was going to be catered and plenty of fresh carnitas. That was the deal changer.
My dad called me and said, “We are going to East L.A. for the fourth.”
I said, “OK, why?”
He said, “Carnitas, lots of it.”
I said, “Let’s go.”
The party was fun. Within a few minutes, my dad had some woman hitting on him. They had a live mariachi band playing and this woman kept dragging him out to dance. After four times he convinced her that she should dance with me instead. I danced with her a few times, but she had her sights on my dad.
Each time I got up to dance he was at the food table, smiling at me, holding up a carnitas taco. Shit.
The guy throwing the party, let everybody know that there wouldn’t be any fireworks. The cops were pretty hardcore out there about the stuff. I remember the drive to his house – every corner were these intense billboards of a kid’s hand covered in bandages, missing a finger, and in Spanish, it said something about, “Don’t let your kids play with fireworks.” I remember thinking that nothing that graphic had been posted in the Valley.
That day was the first of only two times I ever saw my dad dance. The second would be at my wedding.
It was one of the coolest fourth’s I ever had.