Easter According to Arnold

While I was hearkening back to my ancient Valley Girl roots in L.A. with my sister, I left Arnold home to fend for himself over the Passover/Easter holiday. (At our family seder, where half the marriages are mixed, it was referred to as “Eastover” which I thought was pretty cool! Seder one night, Easter Egg Hunt the same weekend. Kiddies get the chocolate Afikoman AND chocolate Easter eggs. Excellent.)

In any event, one of the big deals in our little village is the annual Ajijic “Via Crucis” passion play, which re-enacts the crucifixion and the events leading up to it, in a three-day festival which brings tourists from all over Mexico and even beyond. The oudoor venues for the various scenes are in town, in front of the church, up on the hills overlooking the village where Christ gets crucified, on the main plaza, with hundreds of people standing around (there are plastic chairs set up for the “ancianos”) watching the proceedings. I’ll report on the Ajijic passion play perhaps next year, but the salient point to note here is that Rosa’s smaller village down the road, San Antonio, has its own passion play, not to be outdone by neighboring Ajijic. When her family learned that I was going to be out of town for Easter weekend, they insisted absolutely that Arnold come and check it out. So, here, not terribly abridged, is Arnold’s e-mail to me describing the day’s events:   (Just couldn’t resist posting this!)

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Sequence of events:

Rosa calls at 7:45 p.m., Danny (her son-in-law) will come and get me at 8:30.

He and Rosa show up at 8:45.

The Señor does not ride in Danny’s truck (though I was fully prepared to hop right in), so Danny will drive us to San Antonio in the Audi. Okay, but he wants to put his truck in the courtyard, but then the battery dies, so the truck stays outside the front gates in the street.

We drive to San Antonio, where Rosa insists that because of my bum knee, that I be driven straight to the entrance to the escuela (the primary school) where the play is to be held on its little stage. And this is where Danny will pick me up when the drama concludes, as well.

Their version of the Passion Play was really much more honest, if that is the right word, maybe authentic would be better, than Ajijic’s, despite its much smaller scale. Everybody had body mikes, the costumes were incredible, and the lighting and scenery changes heartfelt and colorful.

BUT, all of it was accompanied by a L I V E orchestra, that went way beyond “E” for effort. They were in tune, in time, and it was full strings, brass, and drums, all with a conductor who kept things going. Even a boy soprano. When the nuns mopped up Jesus’ blood after the Roman Centurions did their thing, the kid was given fifty (count ’em 50) lashes, for real. The other centurions kicked him from one side of the stage to the other, and, oh, yes, don’t forget the crown of thorns–all with living catsup wounds. YUCK!

Sofia’s dance was a howl – teenage girls doing “danza Arabe” – to be the temptresses in Herod’s court – and the kids really got into it. Sofia’s choosing “Arab Dance” as her “arts elective” at school really paid off, since she got to wear a slithery costume complete with glittery bra — as did they all.

After the show: Danny brings the Audi around to pick me up, and America and Nicol appear from nowhere in their party dresses and jump into the car and off we go back to our house. As always, they love any excuse to be driven in our car.

When we got back both the girls started to play with Reina while Danny pulled out every extension cord we own to hook them all up to the outlet in the carport and charge up his battery out in the street, a la Mexicana. Once the truck was running again, off they went. As Danny left I was with Nicol, and Danny told me in Spanglish that Nicol loves the antique laptop computer we had handed down to them, and is learning how to operate it and do fun things with it, and THANK YOU!

Exhausting but fun and interesting.

BUT,  just when I thought the day was over, what do I see but (the kitty) Missoni menacing a not large, but not small either, half-moribund scorpion in the middle of the kitchen floor. I start yelling at Missoni, Rosie and Reina get very interested in what is going on, so now I’m yelling at them all. Dispatched the scorpion and so now they are all mad at me!

With all of these goings-on, maybe I should start a blog—–no, NO, NO, never.

Love

Arnold

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If you watch the video, part of the fun is that everyone in this village play is a “local” volunteer – your painter, your maid, your gardener, the guy from the dry cleaner’s, your kid, your cousin, or your plumber. Everyone gets into the act, if not on stage then sewing costumes, doing makeup, sound, music, whatever. In the dancers in Herod’s court, the tall one in blue is Sofia! Herod is entertaining his friends with food and drink and the hotsy-totsy dancers, and you can hear him say “salud!” as he offers them wine. Arnold took this video on his phone – just to give an idea of what it was like – the elementary school stage in beautiful downtown San Antonio Tlayacapan…. 

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