Monday (12/17/12) all the "obreros" (workers) from the temple gathered for their annual Christmas party. It is doubtful that there has ever been been a "temple worker" party to equal this one.
Tables were set for about 90 people since spouses were invited. Each table was decorated with a beautiful "Noche Buena" plant (poinsettia) and a large traditional Mexican doll, her feet covered with candy, wrapped in cellophane. These were the raffle prizes. There were also cups of "nibbles" drowning in chili powder and bottles of soda on each table (no one drinks water here--only soda).
The dinner was unlike anything we had ever seen before: four turkeys, four giant roasted pork rumps, meat stuffing, bread stuffing, gravy, tamales, spaghetti noodles topped with a variety of sauces, frijoles charros (cowboy beans), mashed potatoes, potato salad, green salad, cheese cubes in salsa (like a very spicy soup) and sliced French bread. All of this was served by the female shift coordinators, who wore matching aprons supplied by Hermana Machucha (the temple president's wife).
Dessert was just as varied: red beet salad, cookies, jello, rice pudding, chocolate cake, buñuelos (a flat, crisp, fried pancake) topped with syrup (they must have eaten several hundred of these), and a giant birthday cake made of cupcakes as a surprise for the husband of one of the workers.
Entertainment was provided by a choir from one of the stakes that "tours." They were very good and sang Christmas songs at the short devotional before and then during dinner. The program was winding down, when suddenly another singer burst onto the stage. This guy was much flashier than the choir: He had on a tightly fitted suit, diamond watch-band, silver and diamond brooch-like thing at his neck instead of a tie, and kind of danced/slid onto the stage. The music suddenly changed to Mexican pop and the room exploded in applause. He is an impersonator of a very famous, very flashy Mexican singer, Juan Gabriel, who was hired by the above mentioned worker to celebrate her husband's birthday--with all of us! He sang for an hour and the audience went crazy. They knew every word to every song and chimed in right on cue--even the 84 year old Hermana O'Campa was lustily singing along. What a hoot! We were so sad that we didn't have the camera with us--however, we did remember the turkey, so maybe that was the key thing.
It is a church party that we will never forget. No one--absolutely no one--throws better parties than the Mexicans!