And The Godmother Was Me

Imagine, o reader, my unlimitable joy on receiving the sublime invitation to be the godmother of the latest addition to the churumbelesque of my dearish friend and, dare I conjecture, distant cousin Leire?

For ‘tis I, Sheen Martínez, risen (as it were) from the oblong tombness of oblique oblivion, squared up to the unreasonableness of reason its very self, yea verily I rant unto ye. Many micks mack a muckle and thereby hangs a tale, as the Wife of Bath was wont to giggle in the sullied and grungied  earlobe of Thee Who Is Unto us, atop the peak, that peak, oh for God’s sake you know fine well wtf I’m on about, D-O-I-H-A-V-E-T-O-S-P-E-L-L-I-T-O-U-T-T-O-Y-O-U.

So my dear cousin Leire calls me out of the blue (I mean, the bitch hasn’t as much as friended me) and says do I want to be the godchild of her hang-on-let-me-get-my-calculator fifth child, a winsome young chap who will go by the name of Gaylord until he sees reason. So I says Yeah, go on.

The momentous occasion will take place either on:

a)      The pitch of Atlético de Madrid’s ground, the Vicente Calderón stadium (the father of the creature being an avid fan of this shall-we-say somewhat second-rate soccer consortium) or

b)      The Towers of Silence – the Parsi funereal ground on the outskirts of Mumbai, where sacred vultures devour the flesh of the rotting remains of the Zoroastrian faithful.

She’s nothing if not adventurous, my maybe-cousin Leire.

As you can imagine, I’m literally tearing at the leash. Oh lemme be that godmamma. Bring on that baptism, oh Lord.

It takes me back to the time when I was christened, along with my twin brother Heen, needy-less to say, many crimson moons ago, besmirched with the passage of time , ay Dios, si yo les contara…

If I were to grant you a million guesses as to the wherewithal of our christening, I assure you that you would never ascertain the name of our godfather.

Amazingly, it was Ismael Rivera.

And, what is more amazing, is that today so few people know who Ismael Rivera was. OK, if you go to Puerto Rico, you will find thousands of people who will instantly leap up and say “¡Claro! ¡Ismael Rivera! ¡El sonero mayor! ¡Maelo!”

It hurts to have to tell the tale of Ismael Rivera, aka Maelo, the first great salsa singer, the man who created a style, the man who illustrated a generation… oh my God if I had to justify the legend himself and yet, painfully, I see I could almost have to…

Amazingly, and every time I say the great man’s name it should be prefaced with an “amazingly”, he was a friend of our father’s. He happened to be in Zaragoza on the day Heen and I were baptized in the Basílica del Pilar and of course our dad said Hey Maelo, wanna be the godfather of these two kids that are probably mine? And Maelo said Sure, if you get the next round in.

As a godfather, Ismael Rivera wasn’t the best. Dying of drug abuse in his fifties wasn’t exactly role-model material, and he ignored us in his will, but ohhhh, what a voice… Twenty-five years ago, he was outrageously famous, now he’s forgotten in these parts. Ah, vanitas… Thank God his recordings are still there and few things thrill Heen and me as much as listening to the thunderingly politically-incorrect plenas, boleros, bombas and salsa of our godfather Maelo.

I will godmotherize the offspring of my neo-cousin Leire, and I will do it with gusto. If the priest asks me how I intend to my job, fulfill my role and generally be there for the kid, I’ll hand him this memory stick on which I have a tasteful selection of Maelo’s greatest hits.

Que Déu ens agafi confesats.

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