Saturday, 25 October 2014

Gettin' Down in Party Town

Dear God in Heaven, these people know how to celebrate.
Paddy y yo
Today in Moratinos me and Paddy attended the “Golden Wedding” of Celestino and Esther. Celestino is a son of Moratinos, the brother of Milagros, the man who opens his bodega in the summer to passing pilgs, the man whose bum knee a couple of years ago was miraculously cured by San Antonio. He is the man who gave us advice on how to repair the bodega roof. The man who told us the tale of the mysterious pilgrim at the bodegas, back in the 1930s. He’s only here in the summer, but hundreds of pilgrims remember Celes as the local who showed them inside a Castilian wine cave, who gave him a taste of the rough local vino and a slice of divine sheeps’ milk cheese.  Celestino is the original Moratinos spokesman.
Today, all the family came back to town to celebrate Celestino and his Basque bride Esther, with a Mass and the Coro de Sahagun singing, a huge dinner at the bodega restaurant, a dance in the plaza, and God knows what else after, with everyone dressed up to the nines, the Autumn sun shining, with all the bells ringing, rockets booming, open bar and chorizo and lomo laid on.  We were invited to all of it, even though we weren’t totally sure how much. We dressed up for the 1 p.m. Mass, maybe because we are fond of Celestino, maybe because the whole town was awake and stirring.
Esther y Celestino, back in the day
Celes was one of dozens of local boys who left Palencia to seek work elsewhere during the 1950s and 60s. He found work in a cardboard-box factory in Bilbao, where he met Esther, who grew up on a Masia in Basque country, and who spoke not a word of Castilian Spanish. But love conquers all – four years later, in 1964, the two were wed.   
Everyone and his sister came to the Mass, even the neighbors who don’t usually attend these things. It did not disappoint. People came who have not been seen here for decades. Tears were shed, the Gospel was read, and impossible notes were reached-for by amateur sopranos.  The couple re-exchanged vows, their daughters and grandchildren read readings no one could hear over the yowling descendents, and then we all said Amen and headed out into the sunshine, out to the bodegas, to taste the vintage, to taste the real wine, brought down from Esther’s native Basque Country.  
Celes and Esther, today
We had a copa, we ate the embutidos, we said “enhorabuena,” we made to head home. But Celestino headed us off at the door – “No no no! You are family now! You’ve been invited since a month! It’s all paid-for!” he said. “I will be crushed if you go now!” So what could we do?
So we sat, and so we ate: grilled shrimp, crabs, razor clams, mussels, salad, grilled cuttlefish – all served with a dry white Albarino. Jose and Esteban outdid themselves for their uncle. Then came the meat: lamb chops, chips, dark red Tempranillo. Mas y mas. Paddy dropped out before the wine changed. I stuck with white, but did not last much longer.  
a crab who did not die in vain, with Carlos
I found my way to the terrace, where little Isabel, “the daughter of Moratinos,” was making an appearance along with the day’s dose of pilgrims. Down in the plaza the dancing started. I shared some vino blanco with two lucky French pilgrims. (I must pay for it on Tuesday.)
And then I realized that yes, it was time to head home. I’d lost the feel of my pointy-toe shoes, and another trip to the bathroom in my complicated underpinnings might prove too much for my architectural education.
Here at the Peaceable I trust Paddy has fed the dogs – they are quiet. If there are pilgrims, they are equally invisible.
And so, after great swills of water and a full milligram of Tylenol, I shall retire to my bed, to sleep the sleep of the righteous, well-fed and watered, como la familia de Celestino. 

Como una Palentina de pura cepa – like a purebred daughter of Palencia.   


long may they wave

6 comments:

45N93W said...

Lovely post, Reb. Saludos.

Andy Byers said...

That looks amazing. Me gusta mucho Moratinos!

Laura said...

Thank you for taking us along. Wonderful re-cap.

Timecheck said...

Greatly enjoy these glimpses into Moratinos - and videos on blogspot! For some reason I was clueless to this possibility. Something to contemplate.

JabbaPapa said...

Jabba here, AKA Julian, and hallo there Bekkah and Toad !!!

First -- THANK YOU again for your wonderful, friendly, pure Camino family welcome during my 2014 Pilgrimage.

(oh -- and BTW yes I remain among the living and the walking and the non-disappeared nor deceased)

hmmmm, not sure what your e-mail addies are ... ???

---

There is a wonderful young Navajo woman, recently pregnant, Annalisa, currently walking the Camino towards Santiago and Moratinos -- in a spirit of poverty and Christian prayer.

She is a beautiful person, a very strong one, very nice, and very generous in so many ways.

I have recommended the Peaceable Kingdom to her, as I am sure that the both of you and the both of them, mother and child, will be excellent in both companionship and in peace.

K Samulis said...

Absolutely lovely!! Dear God it was sweet seeing them dancing together!! Mazel Tov!