WE WENT TO a Baptism party yesterday. The guest of honor was a new nephew named Pablo Kareem. He’s a cute, upbeat kid. I tried to convince the young parents not to name him Kareem, which is better suited for a basketball player or a Mohammedan terrorist, but they paid me no mind. Kareem it is. But Pablo first.
It began with a Mass, of course, but my child bride and I skipped that and went straight to the party. It took place in a Salón de Fiesta in the nearby capital city. These are rental spaces that can be large or small, nice or not so nice. Ours yesterday was large and nice, and the event went as they always do. People sitting at tables yelling over the music that’s either blaring from a loudspeaker or tunes from a live band. There was food too.
Yesterday’s was five-star pollo en mole.
It’s not really my scene, as we said in the old days. I usually have to flee after an hour or so due to the racket and my long legs being cramped below a folding table.
I got into the Honda and drove alone to the pink-stone, Colonial center of town. I parked and walked a few blocks to an area known, I believe, as el Jardín de las Rosas. There are lots of sidewalk cafés abutting the Jardín. I sat and ordered a double espreso and a sopa Tarasca, a regional soup that can range from spectacular to so-so.
Yesterday’s was near spectacular. I’m a winner.
I people-watched for over an hour. There were plenty of folks passing by. There were also strolling musicians, sidewalk hawkers and panhandlers. One of the musicians was an old blind singer with a guitar who was being led by a woman I suspect was his daughter.
I gave him 50 pesos, which is far more than I normally tip in those situations, but I was thinking, There but for the grace of God go I, or something like that.
Finally, I got a call from the party. It was time to return.
It was a fine afternoon. I liked el Jardín de las Rosas. My child bride enjoyed screaming over the music to her Mexican abundance of relatives. And Pablo Kareem slept through it all, but he got the Pope’s blessing by proxy. His soul’s a clean slate.
Perhaps mine once was too. I’ve never been baptized.