New Year’s Eve reminds me of my uncle. He always knew how to have a good time, especially when beer and explosives were involved. He loved setting up the poles and hanging those thick, heavy lines of fire crackers just before midnight– stringing six or seven together and another bunch on the side in a bucket to make more noise. Alcohol and fire are never a good combination, but no one ever blew off a finger or got singed in uncomfortable places while he was on watch. We’d stay up past midnight and pop as much as we could before Uncle would come out and say, “'Nuff. Pau already.” That’s when we knew it was time to clean up our rubbish, sweep and shoot down the street, help the neighbors, put the food away.
When we were older, we would play drinking games after all the fireworks were cleaned up–quarters, trumps or dominoes. It didn’t matter who won or lost, somehow we always managed to be more bus’ than he was. But when we would sloppily demand “one more game!” he would laugh and say, “'Nuff. Pau already.” And we would all go sleep.
When my brother and I would fight, slinging insults like they were marshmallows and not bitter, hard marbles–hurtful words and phrases falling too easily from our tongues. Before we could wish each other out of existence, without knowing or caring what it was about, Uncle would say, “'Nuff. Pau already.” And that would be it.
When Uncle died my mother cried for seven straight days, until she was sick on her tears. Through the haze of a thousand tears I couldn’t see him, but I heard his voice in my head. Uncle said, “'Nuff. Pau already.” And so it was.