Call of the Vatican

church
Taken with my “new” used cell phone. Do forgive the quality.

BEING IN A Mexican family occasionally entails social obligations, mostly regarding the Catholic Church or, as my mama would have said, the Catlick Church.

I’ve been asked numerous times over the years to be a godfather to babies. I’ve always dodged that duty, mostly due to not being Catholic, an easy out.

No matter. Occasionally, I have to make an appearance on the Vatican Trail, and recently I did that when a nephew passed some sort of Catholic threshold.

They have names like First Communion, Confirmation, Confession, Holy Blessing from On High, Walking on Knees. I confess they’re a jumble in my noggin’. They all entail indirectly coughing up some pesos for the Pope through his priestly minions who dress like medieval womenfolk.

Well, anyway, there I was, sitting in one of those Catholic pews with the little kneeling rail at my feet, which creates problems for my long legs, plus I do not kneel.

As the two priests droned on and on, the recorded music rose and fell, the incense burned — I liked that part — the people prayed, we stood, we sat, more droning, I took the photo above of the girl and her parents, sitting dead ahead.

Sitting to my left was my lovely child bride, to her left was her sister, to her left was the poor guy who’d been suckered into Godfatherhood, and then finally, abutting the aisle, was our kid decked out in farcical white, head to heel.

The little angel that he isn’t.

After an hour and 10 minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I stood and left. I was hungry. I bought a couple of street cookies, sat on a steel bench outside the church door and waited.

Not long after, the priests ran out of ideas and ended the hoopla. My people came out. The kid looked the same.

But I did enjoy the incense.

Load of caskets

caskets

HEADING DOWNTOWN from out where the Hacienda sits, just before a hard curve to the right that will take you over the sewer creek and up to the Big Plaza a few blocks on, you will pass the funeral home.

Two, I’m told, side by side, but you can’t tell the difference, so I’ll treat it as one. It’s the most popular place in town to check out.

On passing, you often see wakes in there, frequently spilling out onto the sidewalk. The other day I witnessed one where they had put up a canvas roof to cover the overflow of mourners from sun or rain.

There’s another, more modern-looking, funeral home out on the ring road. It’s just been there about five years, I suppose, and I’ve never seen anything going on there. The first, by the hard curve, has been in business far longer, even before I arrived here 15 years back.

Though I have driven by it a million times and walked by maybe 10,000, I’ve never stepped inside. It appears to be just a middling room and nothing more. There are display coffins along the wall.

A big black hearse is usually parked outside.

I doubt running a funeral parlor here requires much training, perhaps none at all. I don’t know if the business is regulated by the government. I tend to doubt it. That’s one of the beauties of Mexico.

I doubt much training is required because embalming is not common, which is why funerals occur quite quickly.

Probably about all a mortician has to do is pick up the dearly departed, drop him or her in a casket, perhaps wipe off some blood or whatnot, spray some Raid, light incense and candles, and open the door.

The wake, an overnight affair, follows, and then the coffin is driven slowly to the cemetery with the mourners walking behind.

I’ve witnessed many of these processions while enjoying a nice espresso on the Big Plaza because the coffee shop sits on the shortest route between the Basilica up the hill and one of the two cemeteries.

Most are silent jaunts, but now and then there will be a mariachi band when someone’s being sent off with a little pizzazz. I like that.

I shot this photo yesterday. The truck was parked just around the hard curve. I was driving by, so I braked, got out and snapped.

I added the photo to Eyes of the Moon, but decided to share it here with you folks too because I’m a sharing sort of fellow.