Four Fine Families ofLa Ermita
Once upon a time, about 20 years ago, in a place called LaErmita, Yucatan, there lived four families; each with an adorable child.
The families had different backgrounds; one, the Arango,lived on an estate in a wine red house with white trim. They were in thebusiness of hot sauce, and providing the burning condiment for discerningpalates around the world had made them very rich indeed. The son of the familywas called Damian, and he was a handsome and privileged young man. In his householdwere a maid, Antonia, his father Rosendo and his mommy, Alfonsina. Sadly,Damian was not always happy in his beautiful home—his Dad and Mom were alwaysfighting.
Alfonsina had a brother, a fine man and a priest, who tookin an abandoned child of about the same age as Damian. The good father, who wascalled Guadalupe, loved the boy, Gael, as if he were his own son. But the childGael was not entirely happy because he felt keenly the lack of a loving motherand father, even though he loved the priest dearly.
The third family consisted of the dark eyed little PalomaGonzalez and Ramona Gonzalez, her abuela, the local curandera, who healed andblessed the good people of La Ermita with herbs, and potions and teas. AbuelaRamona was not a witch, but sometimes she was referred to as one. The use ofthis epithet against Sra Gonzalez made her lovely granddaughter Paloma very sadand gave lie to the old saw, “Sticks and stones might break my bones but nameswill never hurt me.”
The forth family were the Castañon. Augusto, the father wasan agriculturist, who did very well for his family—they lived in some comfort.His was married to the most beautiful woman in town, Estefania, and they had alovely and charming daughter, Elisa, who was friends with the other three children,Damian, Gael and Paloma. Elisa’s tia, Carmina, also lived in their household.Elisa loved her father and mother and was a happy little girl.
Now the four families of La Ermita did not always divide asneatly as was just laid out by your recapper. And in tonight’s episode theadults of this story will mix it up in interesting ways.
At the Blue Lust Nest
Paunchy papa Rosendo Arango rides up on a beautiful horse toa modest blue house that appears to be in the country. He opens the door but ittakes a minute before he spies the Tangelo-ho, Carmina. (You will remember heras the copper colored female guest who left last night’s dinner party somewhatabruptly.) He is breathless when he says to her, “Por un momento pense que no estabas aqui. I was dying to seeyou.” They embrace passionatelyas they discuss the failed dinner party. He complains that Carmina—whom I willhenceforth refer to as Orangina—was mean to him last night. “¿Really?, she ekesout between hot, sloppy kisses. “I have to keep up appearances for my sisterand her husband Augusto” (Mr. Black-Glasses). “And your WIFE Alfonsina.” Orangina then tells the hilarious story of hersister, Estefania making a special trip the day before to Rosendo’s Hot Saucecompany to get some extra-special habeneros to make a sauce. Har-de-har-har,she was there and she could have caught us kissing. But this is old news to Rosendo, Alfosinaalready told him. Orangina seems to find the whole thing a lot funnier thanRosendo. It is possible that somebody here gets off on the risk of beingcaught? Now she tells him that HIS wife Alfonsina's suspicions could work to her advantagebecause if Alfonsina thinks he is lovers with her sister, then she and PaunchyPapa Rosendo have more freedom to meet.
At the Hot SauceProcessing Company
The name of Rosendo’s Hot Sauce company is ‘La Anita’. Weknow this because it is written on the side of a truck filled with boxes of hotsauce that is sitting outside the plant. Several guys are talking about a brokentruck that one guy is fixing. The engineis making a strange noise. The driver is called Braulio and he seems worriedabout the noise and the truck’s safety, even though the vehicle is supposed tobe new. The rude and greasy foreman (Gabino) whom we met yesterday is rude andgreasy to an old guy who also works at the business. The old guy think the POStruck is not new just repainted. He thinks they should keep it off the road butRude and Greasy Gabino orders Braulio to take the truck on the highway to theMerida airport at once—What would Rosendo say if they lose business becausethis shipment does not make the plane!
At the Castañon house
Beautiful Estefania brings husband Augusto the Glasses Guybreakfast. He slept in and he wonders where her sister Carmina is. Estefaniasays everybody got up early today but him. Augusto is cranky about Carmina,Stef’s older sister not being there, he is the boss of the family, blah,blah,blah. Frankly, he looks cranky and insecure, period.
Another scene at theBlue Lust Nest
Orangina and Rosendo the Paunchy trade sweet-nothings as hegets dressed for work. “No te vayas,” . No, he has to go to work. “Do you loveme?” she wheedles. You know that you make me crazy responds Rosendo. You areunlike any woman I have ever known.” I call that a non-answer from a guy whostill wants to get laid. He asks her what she feels for him. (Yawn.) She nowreturns her non-answer, If she did not feel for him would she be sneakingaround like this? He sighs, Yes, sooner or later he will have to confrontAlfonsina. She pleads for a last quickie with, “Rapido, por favor.” Now he isreally late for work.
La Anita, the HotSauce Plant
Well chickens do come home to roost, and at the Plant we getthe bad news that poor Braulio has been in an accident because the truck enginestopped right in the middle of the freeway. Old guy Lucio yells at Gabino forpushing Braulio to get the shipment to the airport.
He orders the secretary, Mara, to get Rosendo on the phoneeven if he has to call him at home.
At the Arango Estate
Alfonsina gets a call from Mara asking for Rosendo just asshe is in a meeting with some chatty charity woman about working on an upcomingfundraiser committee. Estefania’s name is mentioned as also working on theevent when the phone rings. It’s Mara from the office and she is looking forRosendo who is NOT at work. A suspicious Alfonsina calls the Castaño house tosee if Estefania is home. She is not. But it is not what you think…
At Padre Lupe’slovely church
Estefania has gone to see the Padre to ask him to say a masstomorrow on the anniversary of her father’s death. Padre ‘Lupe is surprised ashe knows that Estef is a convert to Catholicism and that her father was notCatholic. She explains that she is from Europe and her father, she, and hersister were raised in a place with no teaching about the Catholic faith butthat Augusto, with his love, has made her believe in God.
Estefania inquires about his sister Alfonsina’s health,noting that Alfonsina left the dinner party last night because she was unwell.Padre Lupe Lopez, in a not very tactful response, says that Alfonsina’s healthis perfectly fine but she has her own phantoms.
Three cute kids, babybirds and a curanderaFinallywe are back to the three cute kids—Gael, Damian, and Elisa—and the birds theyfound yesterday. They have the birds in a box. They decide to take to the babybirds to the curandera so they can be well. They almost there, they only have to cross the lagoon.Gael is concerned aboutgetting in trouble. He thinks it's better for them go back, because if Father Lopezfinds out that I came here without his permission, this time he’ll have a realproblem.Elisa says, “ We can't goback; it's just that I don't want the birds to die.” Gael suggests he couldtake them back to the tree.Damian teases Gael that theproblem is that he is afraid that the witch Ramona will turn him into a toad forhaving thrown mud on her granddaughter. Gael claims he’s not afraid and thekids continue on their scary trip to the curandera’s casa.At La Anita Hot SaucePlantEveryone is looking for Rosendo. Alfonsina has called worklooking for him, and old guy Lucio is bugging Greasy Gabino about where Rosendomight be. Gabino thinks he knows but he wants to go alone to look for Rosendo.(They should call us. Half of viewer Ville saw him get pulled down under foranother boink with Orangina).
The kids meet theCurandera Ramona
Three kids cautiously approach the curandera’s casita deepin the woods. As they creep up they tease each other about who will knock onthe door, and, when no one answers they enter. The little house is tiny butspotless, with bunches or herbs drying and hanging from the rafters.
They are just looking around, wide-eyed when Ramona comes inand gruffly asks them what they are doing? Elisa replies that they brought some birds that losttheir mother and we don't want them to die. Damian says he came for an amulet. Ramonaasks Gael what he wants and when he claims he just accompanied the other kidsshe tells him to wait outside. Ramona tells her that Elisa will have to leave thebirds so that Ramona can feed them until they grow up, but it will cost thekids 100 pesos. The kids don’t have that much money with them. She asks Damianabout what kind of amulet he wants. (Honestly, this is so cute , I cannot standit.) Damian tells her he wants an amulet so that two people love each other alot.Ramona seems surprised andcomments that he is very young to be thinking about love. Damian corrects herand says the amulet is not for him, but for some grown-ups. Ramona seems to know whoDamian is and she asks “You're Rosendo Arango's son, right? “Si.” Then shegives him the amulets and says to make sure that each person wears one of thenecklaces. This will cost another 100 pesos. The kids promise to pay the moneytomorrow and she tells them that they must or the birds (who are sort ofhostages) will die. The kids agree and scamper away. And that adventure is oneI think they might remember all their lives.Fromthe sublime to the ridiculous, we are back at the Blue LustnestGabino knocks on the door. At first Orangina and Rosendothink about hiding but Rosendo opens the door angrily. ‘What are you doing hereGabino?” he demands. Gabino apologizes but explains that they have an emergencyat work. Braulio has been in an accident in the new truck.
Orangina complains that she doesn’t like Gabino and doesn’tlike him bothering them at the LustNest. But Rosendo tells her that Gabino theGreasy has his full confidence. Rosendo hurries out of the house and is seen bythe three kids who are on their way home from Ramona’s. Oopsie.
Damian yells at his Dad, he was going to remind Rosendo thathe promised to take Damian riding. But Rosendo doesn’t hear his son and ridesaway. The other two kids make tracks for their respective homes.
Alfonsina spreads LaPlaga
Alfonsina makes a quick trip over to see Augusto at the habanerofarm. She sort of apologizes for her behavior of the night before and thenimmediately asks if Augusto knows Estefania’s whereabouts. He doesn’t, andAlfonsina spews her foot-in-mouth disease all over Augusto. Yep, it turns outthat no one can find Rosendo either; he has been missing all day. Way to planta weed, Alfonsina. It’s only day 2 of this novela and I already have no timefor Alfonsina.
Back at the Blue Lovenest, Damian corners Orangina as sheleaves the house. Damian asks her why she was with his father and what wereyou doing with him? Orangina replies sharply, “Damián, no seas menso, ¿sí? Ya te dije que tu papá no, noestaba aquí.” (Damian, don’t be a fool, OK? Already I told you that your fatherwas not here.) Damian insists that he saw his father and he recognized hisfather’s horse. He knows his father’s horse. Orangina says that he must bemistaken. There are many similar horses in the village. RIIIIGHT. Just try totell that to a kid who grew up around horses. She reminds him not to repeatwhat he thinks he saw. A friend of hers lives there in the blue house with hisfamily.
Having finally arrived at the La Anita company at the crackof 12:00 noon, Rosendo the Hotsauce honcho is being filled in on the day’sevents. How is Braulio? At the clinic for the day but OK. How did a new truckcome to break down in the middle of the freeway? Old guy implies that GabinoMendoza bought the truck and Gabino Mendoza is not to be trusted. The accident is his fault. Old guy thinks hebought an old truck, not a new one, had it painted and pocketed the difference.He warns Rosendo that he needs to control Gabino.
Back at the home Elisa gets a scolding from her momEstefania for being dirty and having wet feet. She admits she was playing atthe cenote but says her friends were taking care of her. Just then Augustowalks in with a stormy face and starts a fight with Estefania. It is notElisa’s fault, Estef should have been taking better are of her. Where has shebeen? Asking for the death mass for her father. And on it goes. CarminaOrangina enters and eggs on the fight. Finally he spews out the plaga thatAlfonsina has been spreading, that she and Rosenda are lovers!
Estefania leaves and takes Elisa with her. She goes to thehouse of Elisa’s godmother, who is fitting Elisa for a dress. Elena talksEstefania down by reminding her of how much Augusto loves her.
A few loose ends
-At the processing plant, Greasy Gabino gets his buttchewed by Rosendo.-On the street Gael runs into Paloma who hits him with a mud piein retribution for him throwing mud at her the previous day. He apologizes andasks her not to have her grandmother throw a spell on him. Gael goes home andspends some quality time with Father Lupe.-Elisa tells her mom that she doesn’t like her mom and dadto fight like Damian’s parents. Estefaniaassures Elisa that she and Augusto love each other very much and thateverything will be OK.-Darling Paloma meets Elisa on the street and offers hersome pan dulce. They introduce themselves and smile.-Damian talks to his Mom who is feeling better. He gives herthe amulet and tells her he has a matching one for his dad. She warns him thatDad may be working late and not be able to keep his promise about taking Damianriding. Damian asks Alfonsina who lives in the blue house on the edge of thevillage. Today he thought he saw his father coming out of it.-Elisa catches her Tia Orangina spraying around her mother’sperfume. Tia accuses Elisa of spying.
And in the finalscene of this episode…
Father Lupe comes into the Hot Sauce Company and says he needsto see Rosendo, no matter what. Mara the secretary suggests that he wait inRosendo’s office as they are all waiting for him to return to the office afterBraulio’s earlier accident. Padre turns off the lights and waits in the dark,sitting in Rosendo’s chair. Just then, someone, a woman, sneaks into the roomand places her hands over Padre ‘Lupe’s eyes, thinking she is surprisingRosendo. But Padre Lupe recognizes her voice grabs her arm as she tries to getaway. His clerical collar pops right on open. Huh!