Eating Thai food Sunday afternoon at Mix Bowl in Pomona, an almost-weekly ritual for me, I witnessed a birthday celebration, the first I can recall ever seeing there.
The servers don’t speak much English, so they didn’t all gather around to sing. Instead, the ever-present pop music in the background suddenly became a louder pop version of “Happy Birthday,” to an unusual, but pleasant and peppy, melody. The server brought out a big bowl of mixed fruit with flavored syrup on ice, with spoons for sharing, to the birthday boy, a Latino. The table of seven more Latinos sang along, once they got the rhythm, ending with “Happy birthday, dear Ricardo, happy birthday to you.”
Latinos, Asians, blacks, whites, Pomona cops and Claremont college kids can often be seen at Mix Bowl. It’s a cultural mix in itself. And now one thing is clear: I have to have my next birthday party there.