José Pedro Aresi

Dinner with the friends of the café on July 15, 2008

or tango people, it’s not an effort to remember the “Gordo” Troilo’s words when he recites:

They say I left my neighborhod,
when, but when?,
if I’m always coming back…

A poetical way of singing to his neighborhood, in a way we all have done it some day, because our neighborhood was the first school of our lifetime.

So we happily returned to the shelter of El Abasto as if the everlasting sounds of Carlos Gardel’s voice would caress us and, unconsciously, make us find pleasure on those streets, even today surrounded by the magic of his persona.

Tuesday 15 was not an ordinary day. Our country was boiling in a broth called «export taxes» and the «125» had replaced the ingredient of a good buseca. Precisely what yesterday was a poor dish for immigrants and today seems a strange recipe of «gourmet cuisine».

Furthermore, that was the day chosen by the tango gang of «La Mesa del Café» of Todo Tango to meet and revive the bonds of spiritual union that, day by day, the evokation of our popular music brings us with its unforgettable interpreters and its different characters that made it great.

I dusted my navy blue coat. I put it on and, like an eager boy approaching mystery, I got on the bus and got off on Pueyrredón and San Luis. It’s was only three blocks from the place of the appointment, but it was early so I decided to walk —just to kill time— along those streets with a smell of past.

Finally I arrived at the corner of Jean Jaurés and San Luis, not precisely expecting to meet Margarita but to check how the things were. But when I came closer I saw two guys whom I soon guessed were comrades that had arrived early.

I was not acquainted with them. I introduced myself, we shook hands and there was no time for anything else because from everywhere old friends were coming and other people who soon would switch from being fellow travelers in the cyberspace to the legion of visible friends of Todo Tango were arriving too.

When the corner of the street was crowded we decided to step inside the Il Vero Arturito, the old chic inn, where we were meeting to «eat wine», according to the saying of Coco del Abasto.

Gone were the first shy greetings by the new friends when the shoulders and backs of the veterans were warmed by hugging. Later at random we began to look for a place where to sit among the four tables booked for us.

Fortunately, we were not all ugly men, we were accompanied by two flowers with their charm and beauty: Guada Aballe and Verónica Carreras. The latter with her husband, the Czar Vitalli.

When almost everybody was seated —lastly and just in time— Dr. Ricardo García Blaya, the director of the beloved portal, arrived accompanied by Víctor Sacco. At the other tables were: Mario Bosco, Bottini and his friend Carlos, Jorgito Dobalo, the lucky Dr. Tango, Hugo Frasso from La Paternal, his friend Rodolfo Ventura, Horacio Barba Rolón, Omar Mere, Rodolfo Miranda from San Martín, Abel and Federico Palermo, La bordadora Horacio Préstamo, Humberto Pucci, Osvaldito Serantes (the fourth King of Orient not mentioned in the New Testament), Cacho Scigliotti, Rubén Souto, Dardo Zago from Berazategui, Hugo L. and, of course, me.

The food was good as usual and as for the wine, Arturito loosened under the requirements of El Coco and sent us a Norton, which was complemented, so to speak, with a glass of champagne for the toast.

As it was expected it was a true rendezvous of tango friends. The pleasant collaboration between Guada and Dr. Tango to take pictures of us was praiseworthy and I’m sure that all of us thanked it as a dear contribution for keeping in photos the time that tomorrow shall be a memory.

The pleasant gift that, as usual, Osvaldo brings, this time went to the hands of another ever-present fellow: Dr. Tango. The worthy gift that includes the figure of the Morocho del Abasto is now —according to his own words— on the desk of the lucky friend.

We all signed affectionately a parchment that some days later was handed by Ricardo García Blaya to Gabriel Clausi (Chula), a virtuoso bandoneonist and friend, that the next August 30 will be 97 years old.

We remembered the comrades who were absent and those who, because they live abroad or in the interior of the country, were unable to be with us as they would surely had wished.

But with the final toast the evening was not over. Many ones left, but others leaned on a table covered with wine glasses to rehearse tangos with «touching voices» like the far distant singing of Ángel Vargas interpreting Enrique Cadícamo.

Thereafter, the doors of Il Vero Arturito were opened so that the noisy gang, softly whistling and daydreaming, walked towards the evening of El Abasto, carrying deep in their memories, the huge «sentimental passage» of the binge spent a few minutes before.