When Pete and Pat took separate vacations last year, they had no idea they’d end up becoming a family of six—with four adopted kids. And they certainly didn’t expect to visit the White House or that Pat would prepare lunch for the President.
Patrocina Megamecheldorf Zamborvich Jones and Pedro Salazar Remirez Sandoval Montoya y Montoya are known around town, for obvious reasons, simply as Pat and Pete. The two came to Letongaloosa years ago and became a couple after having been business rivals. They got married, and, last year, adopted four children—a girl and boy from Korea and a boy and girl from Colombia.
Back before they become a couple, Pat wanted to buy the old Peabody home from the city and turn it into a pre-school. Pete wanted to make the place a pawn shop. After a notable public debate at city hall they ended up joining forces and sharing the facility. Together they created a unique business: Pat and Pete’s Pre-school and Pawn Shop.
Pat and Pete took separate vacations because the business associations to which they belonged had scheduled annual conventions at the very same time, but on different continents. Pete and Pat kissed each other at the airport and went their separate ways.
As the result of a mix-up Pete found himself in an orphanage in Seoul. Meantime Pat visited an orphanage in Cartagena. Pete met Min-ji, age eight, and her brother Hae-jin, six, and came home eager to adopt them both. Pat fell in love with Hernando, age eight, and Maria, six, in Cartagena and hurried home with adoption on her mind.
The logistics of a four-child, two-country adoption process were daunting, but Pat and Pete kept their cool and just ploughed ahead. They got help from unexpected sources. In Washington, a Congresswoman helped smooth the way with the U.S. State Department. A Korean American businessman helped with the government in Seoul. Two adoption attorneys took the case pro bono. The couples’ professional organizations paid transportation costs for all the trips Pat and Pete had to make. A national hotel group gave them free meals and lodging in Cartagena and Seoul.
Back in Letongaloosa, Pat and Pete adjusted amazingly well to the shock of going from being just a married couple to being the parents of four lively pre-teens.
For their part, all the kids proved to be adaptable, resourceful and very bright.
They settled down to a quiet home and school life, and in less than a year, the Koreans were speaking Spanish, the Colombians were speaking Korean, and all four kids were speaking English without an accent.
The way things are in quiet little Letongaloosa, life for Pat and Pete and their four children might have flowed along unremarkably. But then a reporter for the local newspaper, the Argosy Herald Tribune Challenger Dispatch, found out about the family and decided to write a feature story about them. Because cross cultural news was “in” with the mass media at that time, her story was picked up by the wire services. The next thing they knew, Pete and Pat and the kids were invited to the White House for a visit.
In the Oval Office the children were introduced to the President. They had been well briefed, and they all got through the “I’m pleased to meet you Mr. President,” part just fine. Then out of the blue:
“Are we staying for lunch?” asked Hae-jin, now seven.
The President didn’t miss a beat. “What’s your favorite food?” he asked.
“My Mom makes the best caldo de camarones in the world,” said Hae-jin.
“Her veprova pecene, is better,” piped in Maria, also now seven.
Flustered and embarrassed, Pat opened her mouth to apologize.
But the President smiled and turned to his chief of staff. “Clark, please put Mrs. Montoya y Montoya-Zamborovich Jones in touch with the White House chef. We’re having homemade caldo de camarones and veprova pecene for lunch tomorrow.”
Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co