Soaked morning in mourning

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Our barrio church.

IT RAINED LIKE a motheroo last night. I awoke at 2:30 to the pounding of horizontal water, thunder and my child bride closing the bedroom window.

The rainy season got off to a spotty start about 10 days ago. It blew in big-time one evening, then rained two or three times more. Then nothing for six or so days. Till last night.

I went back to sleep, but awoke about an hour later to the near silence of a calm sprinkle. I got up to open the bedroom window again. Then back to dreamland. It was easy. The air was cool.

Just before 7, I opened my eyes to a gray dawn through the window and the gonging church bell on the plaza 1.5 blocks away.

Someone had died. Death is marked here in the barrio by a slow, dismal gong that continues for hours, often all night long, and it’s done manually. A guy is up there in the bell tower pulling the rope about once every 10 seconds.

Not an enviable task.

Sitting down at the dining room table for bagels and cream cheese at 8, I saw the downstairs veranda under a lake, water that had blown in from the storm. The upstairs terraza had a lake too, but a far more modest one, so I decided right then to install at least one more canvas curtain up there, closing four of the five sides.

The sort of storm we got last night, blowing so much water into the two terrazas, is rare. Last summer it only happened two or three times during the daily, five-month monsoon.

Less rare is a neighbor’s death and the slow gonging of the announcement.

Not being a Catholic, nor even much of a barrio participant, I will not get a gong when I die. That’s too bad. I would like that sort of sendoff, especially if accompanied by lightning, thunder and flooding tears from heaven.

Drama and death suit one another.

I wonder if it will rain again today.

I am a Godfather, it seems

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A bride waits outside the Basilica for her big moment.

FOR THE FIRST time in my life, I have been roped into the role of Godfather.

This is strange due to my not being a Catholic or a Christian or even a believer as they define it. I’ve dodged this job a number of times since moving south many years ago, but I finally got volunteered by my child bride. I don’t recall if she asked me first or not. She likely did due to being a Mexican wife.

They are quite different from Gringas. Better.

While I am the Godfather, she is the Godmother, and she did all the work. I just showed up yesterday and tried to look devout. I was the only Gringo there, so I stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Our guest of honor, our Godson, is the second child of a nephew. The baby, about eight months old, is named Oliver Lobsang if you can believe it. Lobsang is not his last name. It’s his middle name, and Oliver Lobsang doesn’t even like me. He howls when I enter the room. He’s anti-Gringo.

But now I’m his Godfather. Take that, Oliver Lobsang!

When we showed up at the Basilica downtown at 1 p.m., there was lots of activity, mucho money-making on the part of the priests. A little girl was getting what I assumed was her First Communion. Waiting in the wings outside was a bride-to-be. That’s her in the photo. Fewer quesadillas, honeybun.

The Baptism took place in a side chapel, and there were about eight babies being soaked at the same time. God gets assembly lines.

I assumed a sanctified face, exuding spirituality.

The deed being done, we headed nearby to the traditional party. Tacos were served, as was beer, Sprite, Coca-Cola, salty nuts and a big cake. I only stayed an hour because the music was loud, and those things run on forever.

As I stepped out to the cobblestoned street, I heaved my Holiness aside, and headed to the Honda with a smile on my face. I’m a Godfather. I hope Oliver Lobsang doesn’t expect much from me. I was dragooned, amigo.

Easter with pointy hats

WE TAKE EASTER Week pretty seriously hereabouts with a number of parades that start on Thursday evening. The Procession of Silence is the favorite of most.

It was not up to snuff this year. Seemed a little shorter than usual and a tad disorganized. I may be wrong about that. This particular procession comes off far better after night falls, but they start before then, and that’s when I saw it yesterday.

Many of the participants tote candles, which do zip until it’s dark. The whole shebang is simply spookier at night. Since it starts just before nightfall and winds slowly around downtown, the latter half does happen in the dark.

You’d never see this in the United States because the robes and pointy hats would send people who vote for Democrats into fits of  “offended” rage. Sad.

Remains of carnival

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WE’RE FIRMLY into Lent, but the banners of Mardi Gras still wave wearily in the street outside the Hacienda.

As if to cement the locals’ faith, none other than the Pope himself, the Argentine leftist Francis, arrives next Tuesday at the capital city just down the mountainside.

I’ve never been this close to a Pope, nor do I want to be. He will create traffic jams and other annoyances, but he will be gone on Wednesday, and we’ll settle into our sins again.