My Moms & My Dads

William Kershner - Ecuador


March 27, 2014

I’m going to start off by apologizing for my initial “blog post.” Since removed, that previous collection of phrases and remarks was nothing more than a slothful offering from the seventeen year-old version of myself. I’m cringing at the ironically arrogant ‘self-deprivation’ comedy and clichéd excuses for taking a gap year. Again, I apologize for the lack of effort and laughable attempts at stylistic writing. To really kick things off here’s a sacrifice from myself as an eighteen year-old.

As to not limit my inventiveness (too late, right?), I will not be digging through my emails to re-discover the suggested prompt. Instead, this entire piece will be dedicated to the sovereignty of my new home. Here’s to you don Luis & doña Jacinta, my old man and lady whilst I am in Ecuador.

Not to be confused with Jacinto, the nation-wide condiment conglomerate previously controlled by my host-family, my host-mother Jacinta is the boss lady ‘round these parts. After twelve years as a fashion designer in the Quito metropolis, she picked up her opulent lifestyle and moved out to the countryside. Think power and influence of a Colombian drug kingpin. Now brush aside the tons of cocaine, myriad of strumpets, and foreseeable nasal-related afflictions later in life and you have my mom. I don’t think she’s ever forgotten anything, ever. Chugging along at 44, this sorceress of youth is acquaintances with every seed of cacao that passes through the doors of her 100% organic finca. When asked the perfect hour to wake up, Jacinta responded, “Six in the morning, but of course!” And sure enough, every day at 6:10 AM the circadian cacao tea is boiling. Dealing with her two sometimes-childish sons can be taxing. That’s why she bought a 9 month-old salchicha or tiny dauschund puppy that follows her to the deepest and darkest hectares of the farm. The duo pass entire days in tandem, Jacinta stripping the trees and Preciosa gnawing on the seeds. She’s also in charge of three meals a day for her tribe of six. This becomes a bit challenging when you’re cooking for three insatiable appetites, peanut as well as dairy allergies, and a zero salt diet. At least she doesn’t have to deal with any of those lame vegetarians, right? What’s the best way to describe her position you ask? At the helm. Come on Dos XX! Get your act together and cast my mom for her own series of counterpart commercials. Yes, the daily affairs of Jacinta are indubitably awe-inspiring in their own right. However, the real enchantment of my mother can be seen in the deep affection and altruism she lends to her husband.

A former manager of Jacinto and my host-father as well, Don Luis Austudillo might be the oldest man in the entire canton of Puerto Quito (Population: 21,000) He is a celebrated pioneer in environmentalism, specifically relating to the natural restoration of native forests. Keep in mind; the description I give is incomplete, as I was never given the chance to view his younger years and attributes. Because of his age, his current condition is somewhat desolate and painful. As a result, this paragraph is not as light-hearted as the former. Confined to the four walls of his bedroom, he occupies his time gazing through windows and telenovelas. The first week of my arrival he was at the head of the table for every meal. It has since been two months without his presence at the table. Don Luis now swallows each mouthful from the ledge of his bed. He threads soggy Ritz crackers down his throat and sips from the glossy red ‘kiddy’ cup because glass mugs are too heavy. Two weeks ago he returned from the hospital to find one of his daughters visiting from Quito. He was able to share a conversation at the breakfast table but visiting family indicates a more delicate condition. Yet, Don Luis is nowhere near as despondent as his situation may seem. He still has ample authority over many aspects of his life. By choice, a glistening blue walker, complete with stickers of shooting stars and flames, facilitates every trip to the bathroom. Against the counsel of Jacinta, he masterfully slips extra spoonfuls of sugar into his yogurt. Because the television is located in his room, he receives a front row view and plentiful company during popular programs such as Ecuador Tiene Talento. Behind his coastal drawl and silver grizzled neck mane Don Luis is a warmhearted and enlightened soul revered by all. This man of the house may be old fashioned but he provides the best companionship I’ve ever experienced.

Oh, also my mom is 44 years old and my dad is 88. So there’s that.

William Kershner