The party started at around 9 PM but my girlfriend and I decided to get there a few hours early to help set up. We made our way into the Bronx with my friend Leroy, a co-worker who had invited us, and reached the house at around four. We helped them string up a tarp and set up the sound system. It was a small fenced-in backyard but we stacked up the speakers and woofers seven feet high. They had apparently gotten permits earlier for the music, which was good, since I couldn’t hear myself think when the DJ was at work on his system. We had been working for a while and the yard was looking good, the woman of the house asked us if we were hungry. This was a pointless question with me since I am always hungry and we quickly followed her into the kitchen.
Once inside the house, the faint smells of cooking food became much stronger while she led us into the kitchen. The kitchen was about average, just like any other person’s except there was a huge pot of soup/stew on the stove. We approached it and were offered paper cups full of delicious, hearty fish soup. This was only the beginning, as I was to discover later, the party quickly progressed and grew.
Earlier in the day, there were only a few people at the house and I felt quite welcomed and comfortable. As the night went on and people continued showing up my girlfriend and I slowly became the minority. By the time the party was in full swing, the whole yard was packed and we had flowed into the neighbor’s yard to barbecue. We were two of the four white people at the party but Leroy and the hosts still made us feel comfortable. It was an eye opening experience to be the minority especially after growing up in predominantly white towns.
When the guests started showing up in force Leroy, along with a few other guys, got to the business of barbecuing. The music was pumping, the red stripe was flowing and the party was going but the fire wasn’t burning. They set up a fifty-gallon-drum-barbecue in the neighbor’s yard since theirs was quickly filling and fired up the charcoal. Once the fire was good and hot, they pulled out several bags of seasoned Jerk chicken.